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Accuracy no difficult task for PMEL experts

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Arielle Vasquez
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Attention to detail and accuracy is vital for the technicians who work in the 36th Maintenance Squadron Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory, ensuring all the equipment they calibrate on a daily basis is reliable for the many units they support.

The PMEL shop is responsible for the maintenance of approximately 3,200 pieces of avionic, navigational, radar, test and intelligence equipment which are from 105 different workcenters on base.

The PMEL applies a strict standard that ensures every piece of equipment entering the lab leaves with precise measurements.   

"If the equipment measurements meet all the requirements, it is good to go out the door," said Anthony Cruz, 36th MXS PMEL manager. "I would say our standards in PMEL are pretty spot on."

The equipment falls under two categories when it comes in for calibration. The electrical category deals with measurements related to voltage, current and resistance. The physical dimension area involves anything to do with weight, temperature, air pressure and density.

The PMEL experts keep a meticulous schedule with a record of all the equipment they calibrate and when it is to be returned to their respective units.

The technicians have a two-week turnaround on every piece of equipment they calibrate, but the workload differs depending on the equipment maintained, Cruz said.

To ensure accuracy at all times, PMEL has a technician who performs a quality check on the equipment. The computer system randomly selects a piece of equipment for review, and the quality assurance technician then checks if everything is precise and has no measurement errors.

"Every week I meet with the technicians to discuss the work quality and to discuss any steps that need to be taken to correct errors," said Toni Aranas, 36th MXS PMEL quality assurance technician. "I like that I can help increase people's training and skills, and at the same time I am learning a lot of new things to become a better technician myself."

PMEL calibrations must be precise since any discrepancy in measurement can cause issues, Cruz said. If a scale that weighs aircraft cargo is out of tolerance, and it reads lighter than the maximum weight the aircraft can carry, this could cause the aircraft to crash.

By following all the requirements and providing quick turnaround for the equipment, PMEL maintains the standard for military accuracy.

"Our quality programs that we instill in the Air Force are very strict," said Cruz. "I know that the equipment for the units we support is accurate. For example, PMEL plays a huge part of making sure bombs are accurately hitting the correct target. There aren't too many career fields that rival with our quality standards."

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