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Calibration Software Recommendations

Discussion in 'Gage Calibration and Uncertainty' started by Lynnette, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. Lynnette

    Lynnette New Member

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    I am at a new company and looking for gage software options. Have ~400 gages and a very small quality department. The old calibration software apparently took a dive earlier this year and IT tells me it can't be resurrected. Just before the ISO audit this summer, the old QA Manager had data entered into Excel spreadsheet to get through the audit. There is no history available, and I'll need to have it going forward. Funds are VERY tight so I can't got for something spendy. Recommendations?
     
  2. drgnrider

    drgnrider Member

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    Lynnette, welcome. Been a while since I was in your stomping grounds.

    A few years back I was looking for calibration software replacement. While researching and waiting to find out how much I would be allowed to spend, I too used spreadsheets, on +1600 tools. I had one spreadsheet that was essentially the master list with due dates and then separate spreadsheets by tool types, it worked decently.

    Most software that I looked at seemed to fit the requirements, had different bells-and-whistles, the cheapest I found was about $2K, so it comes down to what do you want vs. afford. It seemed if I wanted the "schedule" portion of the software, that was what was going to add the most cost.

    Not a fan of them, but the cloud-based programs appear less expensive in the immediate out-of-pocket, you always get the upgrades, independent on what software OS you are running, (why we had to replace), the monthly maintenance fees are easier to budget for, but you need to decide if this is what you want long-term.

    I know this is not the answer you are wanting, but software is mostly personal preference.

    Ultimately, my purchasing department told me what I am going to use, I had no input... not impressed. :(

    drgnrider
    Calibration and ISO
     
  3. Lynnette

    Lynnette New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. Yeah I've found $800-$2000 and UP. I'm apprehensive about cloud based as I suspect they will end up being more in the long run. I may end up going old school on this with spreadsheets and file folders. But as I am walking in new I have a little sway to get something right now. If there is a good- easy to use, workable, inexpensive, I want to seriously consider it.
     
  4. equilibrium

    equilibrium Member

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    Based on a quick web search, there are dozens of these software packages available now ... I even saw a freeware version. I only have experience with GAGEtrak, which is roughly $2000 and not likely what you're looking for. I'm biased but I certainly wouldn't want to learn another software package now. Even still, I use maybe 20% of GAGEtrak's features on a regular basis.

    If you do have the freedom to choose whatever you want, consider the number of features but also consider the availability of support. Depending on how technically savvy you or other users may be, this is something that should not be overlooked. As an example, the GAGEtrak support agreement is pricey as well, something around half the cost of the software. I have no doubt there are smaller, fewer featured programs that would meet your needs.

    One other thing I can't recommend enough is to have the database stored in a location only authorized people can access, and not on a local PC. Make sure it is fully backed up, even redundantly so.

    I hope this was somewhat helpful.
     
    WCHorn likes this.
  5. Vthouta

    Vthouta Member

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    How do you calibrate your gages?? Is it done in-house or through third party services. If you are relying on third party they should be having the capabilities to support your team.
     
  6. ncwalker

    ncwalker Well-Known Member

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    Helpful hint when buying any software .... The best place to check is the FORUM for that software. An active forum usually means the software is widely in use (or at the very least, there are others out there with whom you could get help). A dead forum ... red flag. But also look at the tone of the forum. You should see "Hey, look at this neat thing ...." type posts. Or "Does anyone know ...." If you see a lot of "I'M TOTALLY FRUSTRATED..." posts, red flag.
     
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  7. Jennie

    Jennie Member

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    We have hundreds of pieces of equipment and I've used both software (that took a dive and we lost everything) and good old excel. I'm using excel right now along with SharePoint tasks. I plug all of the calibration tasks into excel (by task, mind you... You can have one piece of equipment with a few tasks all due at different times) and then each month I assign SharePoint tasks to the equipment user. After equipment is calibrated, they upload the certificates into SharePoint. The excel spreadsheet master is protected and read only. Works for the FDA, TGA, etc. for right now. It's clunky but it seems to work OK.
     
  8. Mark Paul

    Mark Paul Member

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    We looked at simple and easy to use as criteria. GAGEpack is what we set up. I've been happy with it, it is easy to teach and explain. Many don't rank it highly but with simplicity for gage entry and maintaining the system it has worked great as we went from 1500 gages to over 3000. Btw, if you have an outside calibration service, they often will have a system to keep your gages in as well.
     
    Andy Nichols likes this.
  9. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind, it is possible to 'enhance' Excel to do what many of these purpose built systems do. I have GageTrak, but I do not use it as I find most of it useless for us. Instead I use Excel, and have equipped it with an email function keyed to the calibration dates, so both I and the person(s) using it can be notified. This was the primary thing we relied on gagetrak for. There are numerous Excell addons that can greatly simply the tasks, but it does require some experimentation.
     
  10. Eric Twiname

    Eric Twiname Well-Known Member

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    I built our Calibration system on a rapid deployment Dbase program. Took less than a day to build it from an included starter dbase "Content Managment". (Data entry imported from XL)
    Filemaker Pro...just over $330USD per seat or lease for < $10/month. Open architecture so you can add and enhance if you want later without additional cost.

    You can build it out as you see fit, including file attach, automatic email notifications, flags and reminders...BUT...you have to build these in yourself.
    It has a large and active support community for learning.

    I don't work for Filemaker, Inc. ...I just use it for everything...
     
  11. QMSmaster

    QMSmaster Active Member

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    I have used several systems including home built Excel and Access applications. I have also used GagePack and GageTrack. All approaches have their benefits. If you are good at customizing Excel and Access and can integrate it with outher apps like Sharepoint then go that route. Of course you are on your own when you have problems. We just purchased Gagepack and I am happy with it. Very easy to learn and good customer support. Will satisfy most user's needs. GageTrack seemed to have too many restrictions such as only being able to use 1 bar code printer and no floating licenses. Gagetrack may have had more capabilities, but gagePack had plenty. We did have a home built Access database but it grew out of control. We also have thousands of gages and at least a dozen users so a high-end package is worth while

    I do feel that if you are not savvy with software applications you will struggle with anything you buy beyond simple spreadsheet.
     
  12. CharlieW

    CharlieW New Member

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    I'm only familiar with 2 programs Blue Mountain - Calibration Manager, but our company moved to using IBM's Maximo. If you are using Excel, make sure to perform software validation on your data. That may be a question that is asked during audits.
     
  13. MMurphy

    MMurphy Member

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    I recently got 'Altegra GageManager', it was about $500.00 (US) and it handles things fairly well. It came with a 30 day trail. The software handles both internal calibration (including maintaining electronic records) and out of house calibrations (thread gages etc.)

    The two drawbacks I have: 1. it can only run on a single computer. 2. it can be twitchy with records when you try to 'fix' a mistake. For example, we told the software we were shipping a thread gage out for calibration, unfortunately 10 minutes later someone needed that gage. We did not 'return' the gage back into the system correctly and this caused errors that we had to address.

    I think the software works well and I like the way in-house calibration is performed within the system.
     
  14. gaugestools

    gaugestools Member

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    I think go on using Excel spreadsheet is a good idea.
     
  15. Al Weisenborn

    Al Weisenborn New Member

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    Let me start by saying that I am the owner of TrackPro Calibration and Maintenance Software. Therefor, some might consider my opinions biased. I believe that TrackPro is an excellent choice for managing calibration and maintenance activities for most organizations. For small companies it is unsurpassed because it is a high capability application that is available for free if the company tracks fewer than 150 items.

    For more information please visit http://trackpro.org.
     
  16. Stanley

    Stanley New Member

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    I too use an Excel spreadsheet for roughly 1600 gages. I think it works great! I scan and hyperlink all of my certs to each gage. The last ISO auditor I had was impressed with that. I'll be looking into finding out how the email thing works that Hogheavenfarm mentioned above.
     

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