Today, in terms of complexity and performance, quality manufacturing, assembly and laboratory requirements continue to push the envelope. It is not uncommon to find quality assurance initiatives requiring parts-per-million defect tracking, with multiple control charts that can track several different problems independently.
Project requirements can include hundreds of gauge repeatability and reproducibility (GR&R) tests and product requirements that integrate engineering definition, manufacturing and quality assessment processes.
Best-in-breed manufacturing operations, pressured by the demands of their markets must, in turn, demand value from quality software solutions suppliers. They need a whole list of attributes - capability, flexibility, compatibility, expandability, durability, portability and affordability. The solutions also need to be able to drive productivity, efficiency and accuracy.
ASI DataMyte’s recent acquisition of Germany’s ddw provides a model case of industry elements evolving and melding to meet market complexity and performance demands with solution robustness and integration on a global basis. The ddw QDA software suite complements ASI DataMyte’s current product line and neatly weaves all modules together to form a powerfully integrated advanced quality platform. The solution set now empowers absolute end-to-end data capture, utilization and exploitation – reaching out to all manufacturing objectives and beyond.
Having a full appreciation of quality requirements at the point of data collection provides insights that pay off up the line. Consider the plight of a simple piece of data – a defect, perhaps. A defect is observed and collected by an operator on the line. The defect may be a one-off error and easy to correct, or it may be indicative of a process gone awry. To ensure that all bases are covered, the data may be sent up the line to an inspection management or SPC application for further scrutiny and tracking. It may also be copied to the audit management team and flagged for monitoring or to supply chain management for incoming parts analysis. It may be passed upward and outward to control planning, compliance and verification, complaint management and a Continuous Improvement Process team.
Compared to single-mission applications providers, an integrated quality solutions supplier is in a position to build in the hooks and handles to add details, make modifications and offer resolution points and paths to data all along the value chain. Of course these days the “value chain” is actually more of a “value web.” Data is disseminated not only upward but out the sides, front and back. Paths cross and there are traffic issues. Manufacturing quality and assembly challenges are complex.
ASI DataMyte starts out with grass roots data collection that is efficient, accurate and far reaching. There are basic audit and SPC functions that provide for real time problem resolution as well as the ability to export data to any number of locations and platforms under the company’s robust QDA umbrella. In general, all solution modules are designed to interoperate with industry standard SQL and Oracle databases wherever logical, support common communications interfaces and protocols, and enable connectivity to a very broad spectrum of gauging, metrology, test and measurement devices.
The modules work together to create an advanced and intelligent system of focused applications driving data acquisition, analysis, and all aspects of quality, assembly and laboratory management. Automatic data dissemination throughout an operation, cross references and cross checks, providing flexible reporting and communication features. These include process and control plans and higher level management programs - all of which empower unparalleled horizontal and vertical goal integration, literally from the bench to the boardroom.
Included in the QDA suite are quality planning solutions such as the robust and highly customizable Control Planning, as well as very specific industry standard tracking and reporting platforms for APQP, FMEA, PPAP, HACCP, BMP and GMP.
It is important for quality managers to have all the bases covered with respect to internal operations, but there is more to it. The demands of external regulatory bodies and industry-specific compliance initiatives require quality management procedures and documentation that conform to their structure and forms. Having a “master” control plan that automatically feeds and sets up reports that meet these external requirements is an enormous time saver and efficiency builder. More than that, these days it’s a requirement.
There are strong integration synergies in other areas as well. Data captured and harnessed by the QDA Product Data Tracking module, for example, which traces every component, assembly or sub-assembly from source to finish, can be shared and used to assess not only ultimate product quality, but supplier quality, laboratory and testing processes and complaint management systems. More and more, quality data and quality solutions must extend to areas which have traditionally been thought of as being out of the quality domain reach, for example, Continuous Improvement Processes and high level KPI management systems.
Quality management solutions must have the flexibility to exploit new technologies as they become available. This means providing open platforms to embrace new database and data communications protocols which enable connectivity to (and interoperability with) globally dispersed business units. It also means taking advantage of progressions in digital image technologies. For example, within ASI DataMyte’s suite of Attribute Data Collection and SPC solutions are Inspect and FixturePlot, which accelerate efficiencies by allowing users to manage the defect and repair process through the use of digital images in various formats.
One visual is worth thousands when it comes to speed and accuracy of data collection and quality management. In particular, consider the utility of being able to import CAD files or vector images, which can be quite large and carry significant amounts of engineering data. These solutions allow the user to view large parts without loss of detail, make use of the x and y coordinates embedded in the CAD file and export data for use in other features, modules and applications.
These are a few examples where ASI DataMyte’s solutions have taken the lead in responding to the ever expanding complexities of the quality manufacturing challenge. Of course, ultimately full service and responsiveness depend not only on software solutions but the breadth and depth of the organization that stands behind them. With offices and affiliates in 28 countries and development efforts that draw upon the best-in-class resources around the world, ASI DataMyte is truly a global total quality solutions provider. l