Accurate measurement keeps processes within specifications, which is, of course, key to producing quality goods. But the equipment required to acquire accurate data can be expensive to purchase and operate. The expertise to correctly interpret the data requires highly knowledgeable professionals. The cost and complexity only increase for precision work and highly technical industries.
Contract measurement labs are independent businesses that provide measurement services—either general measurement or specific kinds of measurements. Companies can save the expense of setting up and operating an in-house measurement lab by contracting measurements to an independent lab. Lab staff may bring specific expertise to bear as well, which is particularly helpful for companies that cannot afford to hire their own team of experts.
A contract lab can be helpful during R&D or process development, measuring small batches of parts while the process is optimized. This approach allows a company to prove out a process, and the related measurement processes, before committing to a large-scale metrology investment.
For small-scale production, a lab may serve as the “supplier” for a particular measurement or set of measurements. This is an especially efficient arrangement when the lab is in proximity to the production facility. For large-scale manufacturing, a lab may become an integral part of the process, periodically measuring batches of parts to verify that the process stays within specification. Finally, a lab may be called upon to measure parts to determine the root of a quality problem or warranty issue with an established manufacturing process.
When selecting a contract measurement lab it’s important to understand the lab’s particular strengths. Quite a few labs offer dimensional measurements, ranging from handheld inspection through automated CMM measurements. For more specialized analyses, such as surface roughness measurement or accelerated wear testing, a lab with dedicated, high resolution equipment may be a better option.
Michigan Metrology provides contract 3D surface roughness, texture, finish, and wear measurements. Our measurement lab in Livonia, Michigan is equipped to measure batches of hundreds of parts or just a few, for a one-off project or on an ongoing production basis. Visit our Contract Measurement web page to learn more about our measurement lab and services.