What is a Fuse Manufacturer
Quantum System Networks Three Plants to Reduce Scrap, Save Time
This Massachusetts manufacturer is a major supplier of low and medium voltage fuses to the elelctronics industry. With plants in Texas, Mexico, and Canada; the electrical equipment manufacturer wanted to keep quality at a premium and communications efforts at a minimum. In addition, it recently acquired a fuse company in Spain that will be included in their network in the near future. Consistent quality of fuses manufactured from plant to plant is a top priority for the company.
The SPC software system the company had in place could not interface with remote location plants. “There was a problem with information flow with the proprietary software system the company had in place. It was not possible to network with the other plants,” said the company’s quality engineer.
The company planned to standardize on software that was Windows™ compatible and that would run on a Novell® network. Exchange of information is vital to the company in improving fuse performance, reducing scrap costs, and saving money in the manufacture of fuses, fuse holders, power distribution blocks and wiring ducts.
The solution was to implement data collection and analysis with DataMyte Quantum SPC/DC data collection software on the factory floor and DataMyte Quantum SPC/QA software in the engineering and quality assurance areas. The remote plants collect resistance data, and download it to the Massachusetts location through the Quantum system.
DataMyte’s Quantum SPC/DC data collection software is used in three main areas:
- In the machine shop — or “primary area” — the software is used to measure component part parameters such as outside diameter, thickness, length, and inside diameter.
- In the “pressroom,” Quantum is used to measure things like height, width, and hole location.
- And in the final assembly area of the plant, the company uses Quantum to measure fuse resistance.
This application is particularly distinct because the system is connected to a micro-ohmmeter. DataMyte designers created a special interface to facilitate the automatic download of information via direct link or multiplexer.
Fuse manufacturing performance has been greatly improved since installation of the Quantum system. Fuse resistance data must fall within a certain band. In one particular instance, a trend was indicated on the high side. Using Quantum control charts, the company did tests to verify that it was indeed increasing; but found that the actual fuse resistance was not increasing. The cause was the meter reading high. In the past, if these fuses had consistently been reading high, they would have been scrapped. The size of the units — approximately 12 inches long and 3 inches in diameter — made scrapping very costly.
The company generates an overall monthly report to analyze fuse manufacturing performance, and aims for a CPK of 1.33 or higher on all processes. Before the system was installed, each plant tracked performance and collected data manually on over 300 lots per day. According to figures compiled by the accounting department, the company has realized a significant annual savings by switching from manual to automatic generation of these reports. And more will be saved in the near future.