Modern production plants are making products at an ever increasing rate of speed. Along with the concern for quantity is the demand for quality. For many years, the inspector's function was to verify conformance to specifications. But the modern inspector is responsible for record keeping, tool calibration, material review, troubleshooting, tool verification, and implementation of SPC (statistical process control) methods. For this reason, training for inspection alone is inadequate. Knowledge of the entire quality control system is essential as well as attractive to prospective employers. Nevertheless,
Q. C. personnel are commonly known as inspectors because this is their primary function. Job listings often have separate categories for inspectors and Q. C. personnel when it is actually the same function.
Inspectors verify that products meet standards set by specifications on drawings or blueprints. This verification may be visual or dimensional. The inspector will determine the proper procedure by interpreting
blueprints or control drawings. He/She will need a good background in blueprint reading as well as a strong command of measuring equipment.
This equipment may range from hand held micrometers & calipers to large computer assisted Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM). The ability to perform surface plate setups are the primary asset of the inspector. Using height stands, plates, blocks, clamps, rotary tables, and dial indicators allow dimensions to be verified with very close accuracy.
Many new developments in the functions of quality control departments have created an acute demand for trained personnel. Coordinate measuring machines can dramatically increase the speed and precision of which a part may be measured; a factor important to managers and owners. But these machines require a thorough understanding of their function and capabilities due to their high cost and susceptibility to breakage. Working inspection personnel must be trained, or experienced individuals will be hired to meet this demand.
Inspector's enjoy an excellent work environment due to the nature of their work. Measuring equipment must be utilized in a temperature and particle controlled atmosphere. Many areas are designated as clean rooms and special garments must be worn prior to entry. Advancement opportunities abound for the inspector including management, engineering, auditing, programming, and consulting.