Multinational Manufacturer Embraces NMI’s Services
Filipino metrologists help Japanese company to stay balanced
Shimadzu Corporation is a Japanese multinational company famed for producing high-quality precision medical and scientific instruments. Its subsidiary, Shimadzu Philippines Manufacturing (SPM), which is based in Cavite province of the Philippines, specialises in manufacturing electronic mass balances that are exported to countries including Germany, Brazil, Singapore, and China.
Every year, SPM is required to have its mass standards calibrated. This process involved sending the standards to Japan, incurring costs due to taxes, logistics, and insurance, and it exposed the precious standards to the risk of damage and loss during transport. There was a time-cost too, with the standards spending an average of 2 months out of the Philippines, which sometimes caused significant production delays. Shimadzu’s quality control process states that calibrations are only valid for three months. In the case of SPM’s mass standards, this shortened their usefulness to a month or two.
The National Metrology Laboratory of the Philippines (NML) is one of the four National Laboratories that work to maintain national metrological standards and disseminate their values to users in the Philippines.
While NML has expertise in a range of sectors, it was our Mass Standards Section that attracted the attention of SPM. With an excellent reputation in mass measurements, state-of-the-art facilities, and a highly-trained workforce, we were well-positioned to respond to their needs. SPM could be confident that our measurement results were accurate, precise, and reliable. Our equipment and standards undergo regular calibration at national metrology institutes. We also actively participate in key international comparison exercises, and our services are accredited by ISO, making them internationally-recognised and accepted.
In 2013, NML and SPM signed a memorandum of agreement, which kickstarted a partnership that continues today. Every year, we calibrate SPM’s mass standards, supporting the company in manufacturing their mass balances. We achieve uncertainties comparable to those in the Japanese calibration laboratory that SPM previously used.
By sending their standards to NML instead of Japan, SPM estimates that they have saved almost 2 million Philippine pesos (US$ 39,000) every year. The standards spend significantly less time in transit (two hours rather than three days), reducing the risk of damage or loss, and they will only be away from SPM for two weeks instead of two months, resulting in a 75% reduction in turnaround time. This minimizes halts in production, which keeps the business moving. SPM passed these financial savings directly to its Filipino employees. In addition, SPM donated two Shimadzu analytical balances to NML to support our capacity building and knowledge transfer work.
“By having our standards calibrated at the National Metrology Laboratory instead of laboratories abroad, Shimadzu Philippines Manufacturing saved 1.95 million Philippine pesos (US$ 39,000) in total calibration expenses for 2013. The short calibration lead time offered by the NML gives us more flexibility in our production schedule. Having ample weights means more yields and meeting customer demand, which eventually lead to customer satisfaction.”
- Mr. Jonathan Fortunato, Factory General Manager, Shimadzu Philippines Manufacturing