Authentic Inspection - User Case Studies
Software Brings Certainty to Inspection Process
One of North America's largest stamping plants uses inspection software to track defects on automotive components, including full-body underframes, car roofs, doors and side panels. More than 400 parts are produced at this plant alone. Inspection software has replaced paper concern sheets that were used to record defects and then filed away for future reference.
Now inspectors use a stylus to touch a line drawing of a part on a touch screen to indicate the area of the defect and the severity of the ranking. Defects are ranked on a scale of 0.1 to 1.0. If any defect is listed as a 0.5 or higher, the software immediately sends an e-mail to the appropriate managers.
Manufacturing representatives meet weekly to review color-coded concern reports ranking defects by severity. Data is compiled to determine where the problem areas are and what can be done to remedy them. These areas are then tracked to be sure that the improvements implemented are working.
"Instead of intuitively knowing where problems are, we now have data. Now we know," says the plant's continuous improvement supervisor. "We used to say, 'I think that this is probably what the problem is. Now we can say for certain.'"
Online Part Status Eliminates Incorrect Builds
An international heavy truck manufacturer needed to track customer-requested options to be installed on otherwise identical models of trucks. Because these options were tracked with paper route sheets, which could be easily lost or destroyed, assembly processes couldn't be determined and trucks awaiting optional parts had to be moved off-line to a staging area.
When parts arrived, assemblers had to walk from truck to truck in the staging area to match optional parts to truck chassis. In addition, inspection reports and warranty data were being documented by paper and pencil and keyed into separate databases for analysis and reporting.
Inspection software provided the solution. Because that uses a single database to generate reports from an internet browser, assemblers now can set the status for each part number online. External systems can query the software database to determine the exact status of a particular vehicle, including missing parts, operations and rework times. Assemblers and quality managers can send e-mails and text messages to the material handling team for immediate action.
Electronic checklists help to determine if a particular VIN was assembled correctly by providing a series of questions for the inspector. The software compares these answers to the options for a particular vehicle and determines if the correct options were installed. The manufacturer has now experienced 18 consecutive months without a single incorrect build.
Visual Inspection Confirms Repair Status
A large defense contractor is an active partner in the program to refurbish and return Bradley Fighting Vehicles to active service in the Middle East. The contractor is responsible for inspecting, repairing and certifying over 100 different wiring harnesses for each vehicle. Challenges in the program include:
Eliminating communications breakdown on the factory floor
Accounting for and reconciling reassigned parts
Accurately identifying parts that need repair
Tracking repair information
To meet these data-intensive challenges, the contractor selected a field-proven software package. "Our vendor provides a major improvement in communication," said the company's Quality Engineer. "There is no question about what needs to be done."
Incoming harnesses are scanned and a visual record is created in the inspection system. The inspector uses this visual record to identify locations of needed repairs. The red markup flags on the visual record indicate the repair needed at a specific location.
Totes of inspected harnesses are routed to the desired station, and each cable is pulled from its tote and scanned to display the visual record. The team member makes the needed repair and notes the completion of the repair with a green flag.
Using simple visual graphics, inspection software has proved to be a superior communication tool. It not only aids with recording the incoming and final inspection, but also allows repair personnel to confirm a specific repair is complete.
- Sanjay Mittal