Quality Inspection Solutions:

Salem Metal Maximizes Green Light Time with Rapid Laser Inspection System


Salem Metal logo“For more than 40 years, our family-owned business has grown through honest and straightforward business interactions, and by delivering a consistently high-quality part at a competitive price,” explains Jason Vining, president of Salem Metal Fabricators, Inc. “The Virtek LaserQC system enables us to substantiate the quality of our fabricated parts with detailed inspection reports that help our customers meet their ISO, TQM, Six Sigma and lean manufacturing reporting requirements. Having the ability to provide first article inspection reports to customers who request them goes a long way in instilling customer confidence. In some cases, these reports have even helped us work with our customers to identify and correct issues in the design of a part.”

The Fastest Way to Get to 100 Percent Inspection of a Part

In 2005, Salem Metal purchased a Virtek LaserQC system, a non-contact precision inspection system that employs lasers to capture more than 500 data points per second. Prior to that, the company performed quality inspections using a camera system which was faster than manual inspection but still too slow. “We needed a system that could perform accurate first article and in-process inspections, was easy to use and – most importantly – fast. The Virtek LaserQC is the fastest way to get to 100 percent inspection of a part.” By identifying issues immediately on the shop floor, Salem Metal reduces scrap and rework.

A Quick Learn

“To keep things moving, in our facility, we have six individuals trained to use the Virtek LaserQC system; but we’ve found it takes only about an hour to learn the basics, so it’s a quick learn. If shop owners calculate the cost of having to hire an experienced quality control person to perform manual part inspections, you can imagine how quickly the return on investment in the laser system is realized.”

Salem Metal is a 30,000-square-foot, full-service job shop in Middleton, Massachusetts, that fabricates sheet metal to fashion components for, among other things, computer chassis used on offshore oil rigs and defibrillator machines for the medical industry. The company employs about 50 craftsmen who perform laser cutting, punching, press brake forming, milling, welding and finishing tasks -- including painting and silk screening -- in the fully air-conditioned, highly-organized facility.

Investing in the Business through Technology

The company is serious about its reputation as a provider of high-quality parts. In recent years, Salem Metal implemented an ERP system with computer workstations on the production floor so team members can access the details and specifications of each job during any phase of the production cycle. “We understand the benefits to us and our customers by constantly reinvesting in the business through technology,” Vining said.

Worth a Hard Look

Vining added, “The Virtek LaserQC ensures that we maximize the green light time of the hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment in our facility. If manufacturers consider the amount of money they have sitting on the shop floor, anything that will help keep those machines producing throughout the shift is worth a hard look.”