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Quality Management Through Process Control In Metal Fabrication

Maintaining quality in products is essential to any company.  Taking a broader stance, maintaining product quality can be done via controlling the quality of the processes that it takes to fabricate that product.  An example of controlling of a process would be to take measurements of something when it is operating at its best so that the calculations can be compared to measurements in the future, to make sure that optimum quality functions are still operational.  For instance, strain on machine frames can be assessed via a strain monitor to assess quality.  The machine’s frame strain must have been measured when it was working at its best and manufacturing quality parts so that measurements from that assessment can be used as a control to measure against when the machine starts operating in a way that is not optimal.  This can help measure the whole production process.  Monitoring processes for discrepancies is a revolutionary new way of looking at quality assurance rather than looking for defects in parts.  If a process produces quality parts and is able to be reiterated, this is an ideal scenario for a manufacturing setting.  

Process Valuation Monitoring

The traits of process variation monitoring include monitoring all of the production but not needing to add any additional procedures in the process.  Also, if a part is discovered to be defective, processing is ceased so that there is no squandering of time in producing defective parts and the defective parts do not cause wasted materials.  When process variation monitoring is in effect, maintenance employees do not need to demand that machines are shut down at irregular times so that they can carry out their maintenance tasks or worry about not carrying out their maintenance often enough, and the machines don’t perform.  In this environment, the maintenance happens only when it is required.  Maintenance costs will therefore be reduced and efficiency in machine operation and operation as a whole will increase.  

Tooling will only be replaced on an as-needed basis in this environment so money will be recovered because the tooling will not be swapped too early or too late.  The last characteristic is that all employees in the business will concentrate on process instead of the actual parts being produced so gains will be found in several places such as in the quality of the final product.

For process control to be useful in any environment, it must have a goal that is focused and understandable. There must also be a system of assessment in place so that it can be discovered if the purpose is within reach or at what point it will have been attained.  There should also be a set of procedures with responses that are anticipated to work, so that effectiveness can be assessed.

A Case Study in Process Control

At Maloya, they put in place process control in their manufacturing environment.  They utilized it as part of their regular maintenance of machinery which included regular calibration of the machines.  Their laser machines were equipped with test elements and these would be measured and the results documented to ensure that the machine was reporting accurate results within the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications.   This afforded Maloya with a proven process capability to guarantee that their methods are working optimally which then translates to their quality levels and standards. This process can also be duplicated in regions such as machining and welding, as well as in developing work centers.

By instituting process controls, you will discover it a productive way of maintaining quality management in a metal manufacturing setting.  Rather than focus on the parts, focus on the processes and all will fall into place if performed correctly.

Roger Hug is the Vice President of Sales Engineering of Maloya Laser, leaders in <A href=”http://www.MaloyaLaser.com”>contract manufacturing</a> and <A href=”http://www.maloyalaser.com/turnkey_products.php”>turnkey manufacturing</a> servicing aerospace, scientific, transportation, medical and machinery requirements with Laser technologies.

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