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The Measurement Risk Lottery

no one won this drawing and the lottery is now up to over $1,300,000,000.00!

The Powerball is up to over  $1,300,000,000.  A number so large, it cannot even be displayed on the lottery billboards.  How does a jackpot get this high? The odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.87. Roughly a 4% chance. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292,000,000 or a 0.000000342 % chance. Would a lottery want to be involved in a scandal when 1.3 billion dollars are involved? Is there a strategy that gives you better odds? Cheating! In 1980, the Pennsylvania lottery was fixed for the Daily Number; The balls were weighted so that the numbers "666" rose up. 

A lot has changed since 1980, though it raises a question about testing. Do they test lottery balls?   Ping Pong balls are used for the daily number and are tested for the following things: weight, size, sphericity, bounce, veer, and hardness.  The Powerball uses rubber balls, which are also tested in a similar manner. How about the lottery machines?  What sort of tests are performed to ensure that those balls are mixed properly and that they are not damaged as the paddles mix them around?   

Think about what testing you may need for your product. Your product may not change someone's life or increase someone's wealth by $1,000,000,000, but it may have a significant impact on someone's safety. (BP's Texas City Refinery explosion was traced to letting several calibrations lapse). Are your load cells calibrated?  What tests are you performing to ensure your product is acceptable? What are the odds your equipment is out of tolerance, or someone in your company has let calibration lapse on a critical device? The odds are not going to be in your favor when a product fails or you have to issue a mass recall, but you can make them in your favor when it comes to calibration:     

Things you can do to lesson your measurement risk: 

Purchase verification kits to monitor your process (SPC) .

Have your equipment calibrated at a more precise level of measurement certainty

Have your equipment calibrated by an accredited laboratory 

Monitor your equipment and set calibration intervals to ensure your equipment is "in tolerance"    

Participate in "organized" Proficiency Testing 

Posted at, January 08, 2016 12:00:00