Vol. 10, No. 6

June 2008

PQ Systems

Spring cleaning and
inactive gages

Quality Quiz: With a video!

Data in everyday life

MSA with Jackie Graham

Bytes and pieces

FYI: Current releases


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Don’t call Goodwill for this:
Spring cleaning and inactive gages

Unless one is called upon to move from one home to another, there often seems to be no reason to deal with items that are no longer used or are broken. As long as there is room to store these items, we tend to hold on to them. Eventually, though, it will be time for spring cleaning.

The same phenomenon may characterize gages. We’d like to believe that “old gages never die; they just fade away,” to paraphrase MacArthur’s observation. But in fact, they do die. They also become lost, are broken, or are no longer used. What then? Like debris floating around in outer space, they add to the clutter of the universe and complicate the process of keeping track of active gages.

When you have a gage that is lost, broken, obsolete, stolen, grown legs and walked away, or simply no longer used, you need to decide what to do with the gage and its records. Encountering this situation offers an opportunity for a number of courses of action.

Initially, you may simply decide to treat the gage like other gages, leaving it in inventory. A problem will eventually arise when this gage is due for a calibration, R&R, or a maintenance event. Your initial thought may be to not worry about it, since the gage is no longer used. This approach may work for awhile, but this gage will keep coming up on any report that lists overdue gages.

Gages that are no longer used should first be identified as different from other gages in the system. This is done with GAGEpack by unchecking the “Active” box on the “General” tab. By un-checking Active, this gage is no longer considered part of the gage system. GAGEpack offers two classifications of gages; Active and Inactive.

Once the gage is no longer active, options for addressing it include:

  1. Doing nothing. That is, leave the inactive gage with the active gages in the same gage database.
  2. Deleting the inactive gage.
  3. Removing the inactive gage from the other (active) gages, but maintaining information about the gage.

Doing nothing

In the short run, there is nothing wrong with leaving active gages and inactive gages in the same database. However, as you begin to identify more and more gages as inactive, there comes a point at which it doesn’t make sense to clutter your active gage database with both active and inactive gages. This is when it is time for spring cleaning. So, doing nothing is not a good long-term solution.

Deleting the gage

At this point you can decide either to delete the inactive gage from the database or to move it to a new home. A problem with simply deleting the gage is that you may later realize that you need the records from that gage, even if it is no longer used to measure parts. Additionally, some industries, especially aerospace, require that you keep historical records for many years. (The required time that records are to be kept is typically spelled out in a contract. It could be 10 or 15 years or a lifetime.)

Also, if you delete an inactive gage because it has been lost and is later found, you will probably not want to re-create the gage and enter all of its historical information (if you can even find it!). So in general, deleting gages is not recommended.

GAGEpack screen with gage histories.

Archiving the gage

Rather than either of these options, we recommend that you create another gage database that contains all of the inactive gages and their records. Once this database has been created, you will want to move the gages from the regular active gage database to this archived database. In the event that you need to put a gage back into service that had been archived, the process can be reversed.

After a gage database has been created, you may want to consider producing a report that lists the inactive gages. You will maintain two databases: one for active gages, the other for inactive gages. Historical information should be included in the database in both cases.

Your spring (gage) cleaning is now complete! You will have two gage databases – one with regular active gages and one with inactive gages. Incidentally, if you ever need to get an inactive gage back into service, simply follow steps 3, 4, and 5 from above.


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