Quality Assurance at Vermont Gage
Vermont Gage is currently registered to ISO 9001:2015 through Intertek Services. It has maintained an ISO 9000 registration since 1999.
Vermont Gage’s calibration lab is also accredited to ISO 17025:2017 for plain external diameters and plain internal diameters. The accreditation is through the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA).
This quality policy is to consistently achieve or exceed customer satisfaction by providing products and services that meet all agreed upon specifications, timely delivery, and responsive customer service.
This quality policy is achieved through customer focus and a company commitment to continuous improvement and risk management.
Management supports teamwork, employee empowerment and entrusts all personnel within the organization to comply with the company’s quality policy at all times.
The policy is implemented at the Swanton, Vermont facility through the company’s ISO 9001quality management system, which covers the manufacture of fixed-limit gages and tool blanks. The policy is also implemented through the ISO 13485 medical device quality management system, which covers our medical burr blank product lines.
Monica Greene, President and CEO
As part of its effort to address its quality policy, Vermont Gage has invested heavily in measurement equipment. Its Calibration Lab is equipped with a Pratt & Whitney Labmaster 175, a Trimos Lab Concept Nano 350, a Trimos Lab Concept 300, a Mahr PLM 600-2, and a Mitutoyo RoundTest RA-120.
Vermont Gage’s production value streams have 28 pieces of universal length measurement equipment, including a P & W Labmaster, Trimos Lab Concept 300s, Helios Supras, P&W Model Cs, and Beta Laser micrometers. They also have a Mahr MahrForm MMQ100, and an Abtech UF6100 for checking roundness.
In an effort to maintain its quality policy, the company invests in sending its Calibration Lab’s grand masters directly to the National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). While this is a time-consuming process, it shortens the overall traceability to the primary standard, and helps reduce our uncertainty figures.
Not only are our grand masters calibrated at NIST, but we maintain sets of proficiency testing masters which are also calibrated at NIST.
To ensure our measurement integrity, Vermont Gage maintains a program of in-house proficiency testing which occurs periodically through the year. Calibration Lab technicians measure our NIST-calibrated PT artifacts. A technician’s variances from NIST are averaged and plugged into an established formula using uncertainty figures for the masters and measurement system. Successful results re-qualify a technician for measurement.
The same proficiency testing system is maintained for operators in the gage production value streams. It allows for better correlation between production and the calibration lab.
In addition to our in-house proficiency testing, we also contract with the National Association for Proficiency Testing (NAPT) for external proficiency testing. At least once a year, we obtain testing artifacts from NAPT to verify our measurement processes and technicians’ proficiency.
In between our in-house proficiency tests, our NIST PT artifacts are available for round robin testing with our direct customers and end-users of our products. When testing results are received, we will supply the NIST findings, Vermont Gage’s readings, and the results of any other participants. (other participants’ names will be withheld).
To participate in a round robin, please contact quality assurance at email@example.com, or 800-421-0914.
We send out a customer survey to customers and end-users annually. However, if you feel the need to highlight any issues good or bad, please follow this link and complete our Excel-based survey.
We are often asked by customers to establish a calibration frequency for our gages. Section 126.96.36.199 of ISO 17025:2017 states: “A calibration certificate or calibration label shall not contain any recommendation on the calibration interval, except where this has been agreed with the customer.”
We encourage our customers to set their own calibration frequencies. They should take into consideration the accuracy of the measurement desired; wear tendencies; frequency of use; environmental conditions in which the gage is being used; and the result of an incorrect measurement being accepted.