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In-Process Quality Check Ensures Production Doesn’t Skip a Beat

There are many fundamentals when it comes to success from the shop floor. Among them are keeping your equipment running at peak levels for on-time delivery and ensuring your product quality is high. More out the door and no scrap on the floor, so to speak. An important measure to attain this is to gage parts in-line as they are produced – an added step that can be managed quickly by any operator and will ultimately save a significant amount of time and money on the back end.

Used to check dimensions of external or internal shapes, form plug and ring gages allow for rapid and accurate determination of machining process variations such as form size, twist and tool wear. While calipers and micrometers are versatile and accurate tools, a level of skill is required to interpret the measurements. Additionally, these types of handheld instruments take time to accurately measure multiple contact points of a form. For these reasons, Go/No-Go gages are a more efficient and effective choice for checking the dimensions of machined shapes.  Whether you are creating simple forms such as hexagons and squares, or more complex forms such as involute splines, form gages take the guess-work out of ensuring parts are in conformance with print specifications.

Form gages for checking broaching and other shaping operations are becoming increasingly popular and necessary to stay competitive. As a part of the manufacturing process, machinists can utilize form gages to quickly confirm that the forms are being produced within tolerance as parts come off the machine. This helps eliminate scrap since out-of-spec parts can be easily identified and necessary alterations to programs or tool changes can be completed before running more non-conforming parts. Additionally, this speeds up the process as gages take significantly less time to utilize than measuring equipment. Form gages are color-coded and clearly marked so that even during fairly rapid inspection, there is little or no chance for error, and shops don’t have to use skilled labor for this quality assurance step.

Quality gage sets like those from Slater Tools, offer a number of key features to make sure inspection is accurate. Plug and ring form gages are held to extremely tight tolerances, within .0002 inches (.005 mm), and are produced from oil-hardened M2 high-speed steel for maximum durability and long life. All gages are offered for numerous shapes including hex, square, six-lobe, serration, double-hex, splines and more. Popular shape gages, such as hexagon and six lobe (hexalobular), are available as standards. However, each customer is unique, and so are their needs, so in addition to a full range of standard plug and ring gage sets, custom gages can be made to any shape or size to fit the customer’s specific application and are available with rapid turnaround times. To save time and ensure an exact match, custom gage sets can be made along with the required custom tool – like Slater’s range of internal and external rotary broaching tools.

Certification of gage dimensions and tolerances is also an important feature required by many customers to ensure their parts meet specific standards such as ANSI, ASME, DIN, JIS and others. Slater Tools offerslong-form gage certification and has many years of supporting customers through the process. In the end, hitting the part spec on the numbers in real time eliminates scrap, keeps your quality standards high and your customers happy.

Slater Tools offers same day quotes for all plug and ring gage sets. Both standard and custom inspection gages are available as Go/No-Go sets or can be purchased individually. Give us a call at (586) 465-5000 or send us an email at to speak with one of our applicantion specialists about your needs. For more machining tips, visit or follow us on Facebook.