Project Examples

Workflow Processing
Equipment/Purchase Process
Inspection Procedure Review
conveyor belt gear

 

Project Example #1 ~ Workflow Processing

An aircraft pump manufacturer wanted to lower their cost for outside operations at other manufacturers. Upon investigation, it was discovered that due to their ERP program, either small lots or split lots were common causing the outside manufacturer to charge more per piece. Also, it was found that similar or same features were produced on many parts but no co-ordination of these part's features was done.

Our recommendations were;

  1. Review and adjust lot sizes to take advantage of the lower cost per piece in larger lot sizes. This involved the customer resetting their minimum lot sizes in the ERP system.
  2. Review reasons why lots are split inside the customer's plant prior to release outside. Also recommended was that the QC dept should evaluate if the lot should REALLY be split and how much time would be lost if the lot were not split and the deviations resolved without splitting the lot.
  3. Coding of like or similar part features produced at outside ops so that set-ups could be minimized while improving throughput of all parts even if produced in a different order than ERP would dictate.

 

gear equipment

 

Project Example #2 ~ Equipment/Purchase Process

What do you do when one of your key customers calls you in and asks/demands lower prices, increased quality and quicker turnaround on their work?? After you pick your self up off the floor, you should get on the phone with some machine tool builders and get some idea of what some more modern equipment can do for you.

In the case of a gear manufacturer, this was exactly the situation they faced. Their reliance on older technology was hindering their ability to get new work and even hampered their turnaround of existing work. As the quality of gear and spline checking equipment increased their cutting capability did not.

The solution was to investigate what was then the first CNC gear-cutting machine of it's kind. Gear cutting machines in general were the last of the machine tools to used computer controls as these machines are the most complex and need quick controls that control larger number of machine functions. With better controls, new technology designs and tighter controls on the quality of the machines, the output can only be better.

How much better?? How about 4 times the production rates with better quality parts that allowed price decreases while actually increasing profit and margins.The customer then increased the number of parts that they were sending this company for processing while they increased their throughput, decreased their cost of incoming inspection on incoming parts and decreased scrap parts. It worked so well that additional machines and when the need arose, these machines were rebuilt to even higher standards.

 

gear assembly

Project Example #3 ~ Inspection Procedure Review

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is a very useful tool to control a manufacturing operation. With proper training, minor deviations in a feature can be corrected before they turn into larger problems. However, if improperly used, SPC can dramatically increase costs and possibly even stop production.

In a recent case, a client had hired a new quality control manager that brought SPC into the manufacturing process across the board on all purchased products. After the requirement for a Cpk of 1.3 (which implies a 6 sigma compliance to tolerance) was mandated, production of parts stopped due to many of the parts not meeting this Cpk. The problem was that in it's zeal to promote SPC, this company mandated SPC to be used on ALL features on the parts. While this may seem innocuous, it is disastrous to a manufacturing process. Please note that many features such as chamfers and general print tolerances do not affect the function of a part. By specifying SPC be used for non-critical features, the time required and therefore the cost of the parts went up.

In addition, the lot sizes for these parts were such that traditional SPC techniques were really inappropriate. Statistical methods work best when lot sizes are large and the equations for the controls are used properly. There are methods for small lot SPC but they can only be used after careful analysis of features and processes to seek similarity in many different part configurations.