Enhancing our Quality at the Source process

Anyone who cooks knows that from the first ingredient going in the pot to serving up the first bowl, the best way to guarantee the meal turns out tasty is to check it and adjust as you go. Just like you’d add some more oregano to a simmering spaghetti sauce halfway through, our employees at Swiss-Tech monitor the quality of all our projects and adjust as the project progresses so that every feature of every part meets the required specifications.

That process of checking a part throughout the production process is called Quality at the Source. During production, our employees get an inspection plan which details every feature – like diameter, length, radius, drill depth, a specific angle – of the part and how often those features are measured throughout the process. As part of Quality at the Source, our engineering and quality teams determine what features need to be checked and how often.

To enhance our Quality at the Source process, we are using Statistical Process Control (SPC) which helps us chart and measure the key features of each part based on importance.

“SPC helps us make data driven decisions based off of the measurement information from the process,” Swiss-Tech Quality Manager Dan Hancock said. “If the part’s tooling is wearing out, we will recognize that during the in-process inspection and make necessary changes before it causes an issue.”

Our SPC guidelines tell us at what intervals in the production process a part could start being impacted by any part of the process, and that’s when we measure the key features that are important to the part – to make sure the measurements remain within the ideal variances.

“As part of Quality at the Source, we’re focusing on a more robust use of SPC, which is driven by risk-based and data-driven decision making so our employees can determine if a measurement is trending toward becoming noncompliant with the specifications,” Swiss-Tech Director of Engineering and Support Technology Jason Price said.

Part of the Quality at the Source initiative is to move away from a pass/fail measurement to ones that are data and numerical driven.

“If all you have is pass/fail during the production process, you don’t make any adjustments to your machine to make sure the product is as accurate as possible,” Price said.

Our goal for checking the parts constantly throughout the production process is to reduce risks for the customer. “We want to send them conforming parts. Everything has a natural variance. Nothing is perfect every time. That’s why we’re measuring how much variance there is and deciding real-time based on that measurement on whether to adjust the production,” Hancock said.

Our SPC and Quality at the Source initiatives are bringing quality assurance practices from the traditional final inspection to the forward-looking process that allows our employees to check and react as they go.

“With our focus on statistical quality, SPC and Quality at the Source, our employees can catch any problems that may occur before they impact an entire batch,” Price said.

We’re monitoring the parts we’re producing from start to finish and giving our employees statistical guidelines so they can make decisions on the spot about modifications with a goal to never make a part that falls outside of the guidelines two times in a row.

“As we’re monitoring our processes with Quality at the Source we’ll know right away if there are any issues that have occurred to the machine, the tooling or the process so we don’t discover we have made bad parts at Final Inspection” Hancock said.

Let us apply our Quality at the Source and Statistical Process Control methods to your project in order to assure 100% of your parts are delivered on time and defect free.

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