Department Profile – Metrology

“Building an exceptional company is the result of building exceptional teams with exceptional people.”
Team 1 Plastics, a plastic injection molding company for the transportation industry, has been and continues to be a successful company because of our exceptional teams.  Today, we will introduce one of these exceptional teams, the Metrology Department, as we continue a series of articles profiling our departments.

Department Name: Metrology

Department Manager: Dave Seedorf

Metrology Team Members:
(left to right in photo)
Engineering Manager Dave Seedorf
Engineering Specialist V Tim Kilcher
Engineering Specialist Harry Martin

How does the Metrology Department support Team 1 Plastics as a whole?
The Metrology Department has the responsibility to measure molded parts produced by Team 1 Plastics.  These measurements are utilized for several tasks, such as making necessary tooling adjustments and providing dimensional layout data to the customer.  Additionally, the measurements taken by the Metrology Department are used while developing a report for the customers, known as the Production Part Approval Process; or PPAP for short.  A new PPAP is developed for each part produced and confirms that everything is within specifications required by the customer.

How does the Metrology Department support Team 1’s customers?
The Metrology Department provides data to Team 1’s customers with the aforementioned PPAP report, reflecting that their part requirements have been met.  If the customers have any concerns, the Metrology Department may be asked to do some additional layouts for verification of dimensions on a particular part in question.  The parts will then be measured, and data will be provided to the customer, ensuring the parts have not shifted or changed.

Briefly describe a typical workday in the Metrology Department.

Harry Martin measuring angles of a part using Team 1’s DVC.

Engineering Specialists Harry Martin and Tim Kilcher describe a typical day in the Metrology Department as follows. “We review the schedule when we come in the morning.  We will begin where we left off from the day before, unless there is a bigger priority job.  We will then measure parts using the equipment in the lab.”  The equipment used for each part can differ, and both team members agree that it takes some intuition when determining which tool is best for each part.  Low-tech tools in the Metrology Lab include hand tools such as calipers and height gauges, while the more high-tech tools include the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) and the Digital Video Comparator (DVC).  After measuring the parts, the Metrology Team collects and enters the data into the appropriate data format and submits the PPAP to the customer.

Describe how the Metrology Department has solved a specific problem at Team 1.
Engineering Manager Dave Seedorf describes “one of our customers had a problem with friction failures with a rotor shifter assembly.  There was too much resistance, and the part exceeded the friction limits.  The customer asked for data about two of our parts; FC 2744 [adapter] and FC 2748 [housing].  We performed a point map of both parts in specific areas of concern related to the friction.  The point maps were created with the best fit of 3D part CAD data.  We collected the data, passed it on to the customer, and met with them to review the data.  It was initially suggested to the customer that we could build the housing tooling using an in-depth mold flow.  This process would create a part with morphed data and would take into consideration all the moving that the plastic part would do post molding.  A tool would then be built based on that and would create a truer part to the CAD model.”  This process was initially declined by the customer and now, due to the friction failure, Team 1 is currently in the process of building a new tool for them to solve the friction failure problem

What is a recent noteworthy accomplishment of the Metrology Department?

Tim Kilcher analyzing CMM data.

In May 2021, Team 1 added an additional CMM to the Metrology Lab.  According to Dave, this new CMM has allowed them “to be more productive and turn around layouts quicker, ultimately helping us solve problems quicker.”

What is something the Metrology Department is particularly proud of?
When asked what they were proud of, Harry and Tim both agreed that they were excited to finally have two CMMs in the Metrology Lab.  Additionally, they are proud of their “ability to troubleshoot when challenges are brought to [their] attention, ability to inspect parts in an accurate and timely manner and working together as a team.”

What are the Metrology Department’s current goals?
Dave was confident in saying “As we grow bigger as a company, it would be great to expand the department to include a night shift.”  The Metrology Department currently runs only one shift: Monday thru Friday from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.  He also mentioned that Engineering Specialist Harry Martin will be retiring in May, and it would be ideal to find and thoroughly train someone to take over his position.  Lastly, Team 1 has partnered with Ferris State University for the past six years to offer internships with their Engineering Department; with several of those engineers-in-training being hired by Team 1 after graduation.  Dave expressed his desire to “work on this same internship philosophy with the Metrology Department with Ferris State University and hope to build on internship resources in this area.”

Department Random Poll:
Cold weather or warm weather?
Dave was quick to answer that he enjoys warm weather over cold weather.  Harry also enjoys the warm weather but was more specific in his answer that the warm weather is best “on the beach, holding a tropical drink with a little umbrella in it.”  Tim ‘juggled’ with the choices, ultimately stating that he had no preference.

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Contact Info

927 Elliott Road
Albion, Michigan 49224-9506

Phone: (517) 629-2178