Rathburn Leverages Digital Technology to Meet Exacting Standards
Heading into our 40th year of business provides us the perfect time to reflect on the evolution and benefits of digital gauging at Rathburn. It’s easy to forget that in a shop filled with robotics, computer screens, and digital gauges, that analog once ruled the day. Traditionally, analog gauges with indicating dials were the standard. And while we’re proud of the quality and consistency of our production using analog tools, it’s hard to argue with the benefits of upgrading the technology.
Digital gauges have a wide variety of options and features that allow for more efficient and precise measurements. They also have the advantage of being more temperature- and vibration-stable so they don’t need to be recalibrated or replaced as frequently.
At Rathburn, we’ve found that digital gauges have also had a significant impact on reducing chances of human error. We are proud of the people who work hard every day to help us produce the highest quality parts possible. These people are critical to our success and have been since we started the company in 1983. But humans make mistakes and we do everything possible to help minimize the chances of error across our shop floor.
We’ve used a quality management system (QMS) for many years, from ISO 9001 to TS/IATF 16949, and we are now AS9100D compliant. These have enabled us to review historical patterns of measurement failures and helped us identify areas for improvement. Analog gauges have been a traditional source of issues because of operators misreading the gauge (e.g. missing the dial rotation) or performing math errors based on the perceived data. Digital gauges eliminate these issues.
Further, utilizing our QMS to identify root causes has led to additional improvements in our measuring tools and processes, and helped us achieve a rate of <50 defective parts per million (DPPM).
We invest in specialized equipment and gauges where needed, especially where tight tolerances are required, or where a family of parts would benefit from the advanced technology. For example, we recently added a new digital borematic bore gauge, which features a three-point contact system. This provides instant measurement and captures tolerance changes a human might miss with traditional, analog gauges. As a result, we have high confidence that every part being manufactured is meeting the standards our customers need for their parts.
And that’s an important element to everything we do at Rathburn. Our customers know they can trust us to get the details right, every time. We focus on our people, our equipment, and having the latest tools available to deliver ingenuity and precision in everything we do.
About Rathburn Tool & Manufacturing
Established in 1983, Rathburn Tool & Manufacturing delivers precision-machined, manufacturable solutions made possible by a combination of technology and experienced teams for companies that need their products and equipment to work well every time.