Wednesday, June 18, 2014

PMEL helps Osan measure success

by Senior Airman David Owsianka
51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

6/18/2014 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- A group of just 23 Airmen manage 5,800 pieces of equipment, 119 work centers and control $10.2 million worth of equipment assets.

The unit must simultaneously execute Pacific Air Force-wide lateral support requests and ensure compliance with Air Force meterology and calibration standards, Air Force Instructions and technical order directives.

The precision measurement equipment laboratory's mission is to provide test, measurement and diagnostic equipment calibration services to support their customers' mission in a timely manner - guaranteeing TMDE reliability, measurement accuracy, and traceability to the Department of Defense and/or nationally recognized standards.

"The lab is important because customers need to be sure each piece of equipment is going to work the way it is designed to," said Master Sgt. Thomas Bowen, 51st Maintenance Squadron assistant TMDE flight chief and PMEL quality manager.

The process of calibrating and repairing test equipment starts with the PMEL Automated Management System. The production control section utilizes PAMS to track the daily schedule of each piece of equipment.

The laboratory receives 20 to -30 items for repair daily ranging from torque wrenches, spectrum analyzers, communication analyzers, avionics equipment, scales and gun gauges.

"Once a piece of equipment is scheduled in the lab's production control section a PMEL section supervisor will assign the job to a calibration technician," said TSgt. Josh Hulbert, 51st MXS PMEL section supervisor.

The technician reviews the equipment to ensure it is identified correctly and then performs an initial safety inspection.

The next step is to retrieve the appropriate technical order and start the calibration procedure. The procedure provides Airmen with specific steps to calibrate a piece of equipment to ensure it's accurate, reliable, safe and traceable to standards maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Quality assurance evaluators then have a responsibility to sample outgoing equipment. A total of three percent of all equipment certified by the PMEL receives an end of line inspection.

"If a piece of equipment is selected by QA, they will check the paperwork and have the calibration technician verify the item again and watch the entire process," Hulbert said.

If a piece of equipment does not pass the inspection, the evaluator will reengage with the technician to see where the breakdown was to improve their ability to provide the best quality of equipment.

Once the equipment is successfully repaired or calibrated, it is returned to the scheduling section to await customer pick up and returned to the flight line, hospital or another organization.

"By ensuring the equipment is properly calibrated, service members can safely perform things such as flying a jet, operating a piece of machinery or using a torque wrench to tighten a bolt on an aircraft," Bowen said.

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