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Lean Calibration Process Case Study

Improving Calibration Efficiency and Quality: Tektronix Augments Aerospace Internal Calibration Lab

A large aerospace company relies on Tektronix to augment an internal calibration lab, keeping overhead costs in check


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Quality and Compliance Priorities. At one site of a large aerospace manufacturer, the Lab Manager was responsible for running an in house calibration lab that supported 12,000 test and measurement equipment assets with a staff of about 15. The company prioritized quality as well as efficiency through continuous improvement, working to eliminate wasted time and cost wherever possible. “What are we doing right that we can improve on, what are we doing that’s a waste of time…the focus on continuous improvement is pretty heavy within our organization,” he explained.

The Customer Challenge

Lack of Capital for Sophisticated Calibration Equipment. The focus on lean manufacturing combined with a sophisticated array of test and measurement assets made it difficult to keep up with the equipment investments required. “Our biggest challenge is probably the lack of capital to build our internal capabilities. We’ve got the expertise but getting the equipment to do some cals is hard.” The company was looking to leverage the internal expertise they had but outsource the higher end equipment calibrations to a partner. At the time, they were sending various pieces of equipment to various partners which resulted in quality discrepancies as well as some long turnaround times.

The Solution

Augment Internal Lab Calibrations with Tektronix. The company performed an analysis to decide what equipment would best be serviced by whom. “Our priorities in terms of 1-2-3 would be quality, turnaround time (TaT), and then price.” After surveying multiple vendors on accredited calibration capability, quality history, and through an onsite audit, the aerospace company selected Tektronix to augment their internal calibration lab with calibrations on the more sophisticated electronic test and measurement instruments.

Services provided included local pick-up and drop-off service for calibration services, which improved TaT and eliminated worries of shock & vibe damage from shipping. “Having a primary local contact is important,” he said.

The Result

Efficient On-Time Calibrations, Exceptional Quality Tektronix has helped the lab manager ensure the right equipment is at the right place, at the right time, to keep production moving and fulfill continuous improvement goals. The feedback from the lab manager is clear: 

Tektronix has done a really done a great job. Working with the local site has been fantastic. Having a primary contact is better, someone who knows you and what you need.

Finally, he concluded that in addition to turnaround time,

“…it’s all about quality. There are a lot of companies that do calibration support, SIMCO, Transcat - I’ll never send a piece of equipment to them ever, just for quality reasons. I know Tektronix, I know the people and the policies. That’s why we send as much as we can to Tektronix. We understand that Tek isn’t the cheapest out there, but when they do the cal we have faith that it’s done and done right.”


– Lab Manager, Large Prime Aerospace Company


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