Knowledge Article 1

Performing Inspection – A Systematical Approach Methodology

by Scientific Era Est.

Being in Service oriented business for past six years, providing & supervising services to range of sophisticated, complex laboratory and research grade instruments, I would share some of my observations that may contribute to improvements in this area and initiate discussion to standardize the approach on how technicians and engineers can carry out their day-to-day service task.

Just to clarify, my discussion is related to non-medical devices/instruments. Providing services to Medical devices and instruments goes up several notches and it has far rigid criteria. A discussion on this will be done on a later stage.

Much has been written on the topic of Quality Inspection and inspection criteria for Industries & Modern Manufacturing, but very little is to be found that can serve as guideline to day to day services of instruments that are essentially back bone of testing, quality & research laboratories or those instruments used in universities for research purposes by students and scientists. Much of service request/issues from these organizations are outsourced to local distributors who if not qualified can lead to costly cycle of parts replacement and in some cases customers told to purchase new unit as the old has become irreparable.

While it is imperative that a fully trained staff attends to service of any instruments, however, it is practically impossible to have factory trained staff for each and every instrument. Maintenance departments of organizations & companies usually receive the minimum share of the budget so either the department outsource services or the staff takes the endeavor hoping the problem is simple and can be fixed, a very risky approach if instruments are used for sensitive measurements.

Below I will outline some of my observations:

It is well known fact that if inspection is done systematically, properly & thoroughly that is more than half of the repair task completed .

1.      Divide the Inspection Task to General and Specific.

2.      General Inspection guidelines can be applied to range of instruments that are different in their applications but carry common trends outlined in general inspection checklist.

3.      Further it can be categorized to Visual Inspection, Electrical inspection, Operational/functional Inspection & Software Inspection.

4.      Specific category will focus on inspecting the unit on the basis of what it is designed for in terms of applications/measurements. This may involve using specific standards or reference materials or known value samples to check instrument performance.

5.      Once the broad inspection areas are outlined, we can approach to outline what could be included in these categories.

6.      Essentially in some areas but not all, we are applying top-down approach

To be continued…