From the Editor

Harry Potter & the Engineering Design Process

Solving Voldemort-Sized Problems in Test and Measurement.

The engineering design process—based closely on the scientific method—is “the set of steps that a designer takes to go from first, identifying a problem or need to, at the end, creating and developing a solution that solves the problem or meets the need.”

The steps of the engineering design process are to:

  • Define the Problem
  • Do Background Research
  • Specify Requirements
  • Brainstorm Solutions
  • Choose the Best Solution
  • Do Development Work
  • Build a Prototype
  • Test and Redesign

As pointed out in this month’s Measurement article, defining the problem can start on the “back of a napkin.” It worked for J.K. Rowling (although it is a myth it is one that is so appealing it persists and is one I am willing to perpetuate for the sake of this column). The renowned children’s writer started her writing process by jotting down endless notes on the back of napkin’s and finished with one of the most popular series of novels of all time, Harry Potter (not to mention some of the highest grossing movies of all-time based on those novels).

For the custom CMM styli developer, “back of the napkin” usually refers to a fax or email with a freehand diagram of a proposed stylus and a crude sketch of the part it’s supposed to measure, hastily prepared by a CMM operator that is in a hurry to get the right probe and styli to do the job.

You can follow the correlations between styli development and the engineering design process—featuring intriguing analogies to pizza and lollipops—in Mark Osterstock’s article, “Custom CMM Styli.”

Applying the process to a process, this month’s Software article touches on the last point of the engineering design process—Test and Redesign—testing the efficiency of the long-standing gage repeatability and reproducibility (R&R) process.

Take 10 parts and have three operators measure each two times. It’s the essence of the standard approach to Gage R&R.

But our authors ask the questions: How accurate of an assessment can you expect using just 10 parts?  What about using four operators? Why not three times?

They performed studies to find out, first simulating 1,000 studies using 30 parts, and then 100 parts, with three operators measuring each part two times. Next, they performed these studies using four operators and, lastly, with three replicates instead of two, varying the number of parts and operators as they conducted different iterations on the standard to build comparisons of effectiveness, skewness and variation.

What did they find? The authors write, “While it might not be perfect, the standard Gage R&R approach is a powerful tool for measurement system analysis.”

For the full story and the results of their experiments, read “How Does Standard Gage R&R Measure Up?” by Joel Smith and Eston Martz in
this month’s Quality.

 Enjoy and thanks for reading! 

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Quality Magazine. 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.




Karen Spencer, Clinkenbeard's quality manager, discusses what makes the plant stand out, advice for other plants, and looks to the future.
More Podcasts

Quality Magazine


2015 May

The May 2015 edition of Quality Magazine includes articles on cloud technologies, depth gages, ISO 9001, digital inspection and cool new products.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Topics to Talk About

What topics would you like to see Quality cover more?
View Results Poll Archive

Clear Seas Research

qcast_ClearSeas_logo.gifWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Facebook2015_40 twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png  GooglePlus_40