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3-level nested design

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2. Measurement Process Characterization

2.4. Gauge R & R studies
2.4.3. Data collection for time-related sources of variability

of nested

A nested design is recommended for studying the effect of

sources of variability that manifest themselves over time. Data
collection and analysis are straightforward, and there is no
reason to estimate interaction terms when dealing with
time-dependent errors. Nested designs can be run at several
levels. Three levels are recommended for measurement
systems where sources of error are not well understood and
have not previously been studied.

intervals in
a nested

The following levels are based on the characteristics of many

measurement systems and should be adapted to a specific
measurement situation as need be. A typical design is shown
Level-1 Measurements taken over a short-time to
capture the precision of the gauge
Level-2 Measurements taken over days (or other
appropriate time increment)
Level-3 Measurements taken over runs separated by

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Definition of
number of
at each level

The following symbols are defined for this chapter:

Level-1 J (J > 1) repetitions
Level-2 K (K > 2) days
Level-3 L (L > 2) runs
For the design shown above, J = 4; K = 3 and L = 2. The
design can be repeated for:
Q (Q > 2) check standards
I (I > 3) gauges if the intent is to characterize several
similar gauges

2-level nested

The design can be truncated at two levels to estimate

repeatability and day-to-day variability if there is no reason
to estimate longer-term effects. The analysis remains the
same through the first two levels.


This design has advantages in ease of use and computation.

The number of repetitions at each level need not be large
because information is being gathered on several check


The measurements should be made with ONE operator.

Operator is not usually a consideration with automated

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systems. However, systems that require decisions regarding

line edge or other feature delineations may be operator
dependent. If there is reason to believe that results might
differ significantly by operator, 'operators' can be
substituted for 'runs' in the design. Choose L (L > 2)
operators at random from the pool of operators who are
capable of making measurements at the same level of
precision. (Conduct a small experiment with operators
making repeatability measurements, if necessary, to verify
comparability of precision among operators.) Then
complete the data collection and analysis as outlined. In this
case, the level-3 standard deviation estimates operator

Be sure that the design is truly nested; i.e., that each

operator reports results for the same set of circumstances,
particularly with regard to day of measurement so that each
operator measures every day, or every other day, and so

Randomize on

Randomize with respect to gauges for each check standard;

i.e., choose the first check standard and randomize the
gauges; choose the second check standard and randomize
gauges; and so forth.

Record results
in a file

Record the average and standard deviation from each group

of J repetitions by:
check standard

Case Study:

Results should be recorded along with pertinent

environmental readings and identifications for significant
factors. The best way to record this information is in one
file with one line or row (on a spreadsheet) of information
in fixed fields for each check standard measurement. A list
of typical entries follows.
1. Month
2. Day
3. Year
4. Operator identification
5. Check standard identification
6. Gauge identification
7. Average of J repetitions
8. Short-term standard deviation from J repetitions
9. Degrees of freedom
10. Environmental readings (if pertinent)

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