Articles by Hill Cox

Other Dimensions: What Can I Do Now?

September 2, 2009
I recently received an e-mail from a faithful reader who had a problem regarding the calibration of adjustable thread ring gages. He realized that the rings should be verified using calibrated thread setting plugs, but he didn’t have enough of them to cover all of his rings. His company had avoided buying setting plugs in the past, so he doubted they would do so now.
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Other Dimensions: Tell Me Why

July 31, 2009
I still get asked questions that were answered many times years ago and wondered why this could be. The answer is simple: Years ago, the people involved in calibration or product inspection got their jobs after serving time as machinists and toolmakers. Today, people are plugged into these areas without the same kind of experience so they’re starting from square one.
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Other Dimensions: Elementary, My Dear Watson

June 30, 2009
The problems encountered with screw threads are legendary. The most common one occurs when the gages do what they are supposed to do: reject bad parts or accept good parts.
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Other Dimensions: Dumbing Down Calibration Reports

May 27, 2009
The last time I checked, most folks have gages calibrated to determine what sort of dimensional state they are in. A properly presented calibration report will tell you if there is a possibility that some bad work was shipped because of a worn gage. Now, I know that wouldn’t happen at your company, but it does at some. Alternatively, the information provided could be a warning that this could happen in the not-too-distant future.
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Other Dimensions: The Phantom Feature

April 29, 2009
I stand in awe of the lowly screw thread because of the engineering that goes into it. A cursory look at a typical screw thread standard will show you what I mean. Despite their innocent appearance, screw threads are difficult to measure.
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Other Dimensions: Cost-Cutting Cowboys

March 30, 2009
The worldwide financial mess leads many to the simple fix for the bottom line: reign in costs.
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Other Dimensions: Going Once...

January 28, 2009
Whenever there’s an economic downturn two things happen: more measuring instruments get repaired when they should be replaced, and more people start going to auction sales looking for bargains.
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Other Dimensions: How Are You Going to Measure That?

December 30, 2008
Far too often manufacturers spend a lot of time designing components without this critical question being asked.
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Other Dimensions: Cut Calibration Costs

November 24, 2008
In a previous column I railed against corporate cost cutting strategies where the only element taken into consideration was the money involved. The fallout from decisions made in such isolated circumstances will not be immediately evident, while the savings will be. But when the chickens come home to roost, the costs to put things right often exceed the savings many times over.
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Other Dimensions: Calling the Shots

October 24, 2008
One of the good things about getting items calibrated is the information the process provides. The bad news is some folks don’t know how to deal with that information. Far too many buyers of calibration services only scan the reports and, in the absence of red flags, file them in case an auditor wants proof of calibration.
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