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What is an Aerospace Machine Shop

Windows-Based SPC Improves Productivity, Attracts New Business 

This progressive, Kansas-based commercial job shop has seen steady growth ever since its founding nearly 30 years ago. Its success is attributed to the quality of its products and their people, as well as to anticipating the market and managing long-term growth to allow greater access to this market.

Problem

The company’s rapid growth and high parts turnover has led to the need to gain more control over processes. Several years ago, the company acquired a DataMyte 862 data collector to begin an SPC program with data gathered from 12 CNC lathes and milling machines. The data collected has been used to produce a customer quality report and a final inspection report on parts produced on the machines.

The 862 was used as a pilot data collector, but the company really needed a PC at each workstation. CNC programming was done on PCs, so having one at each machine was the next logical step. They looked for an SPC system that would run on PCs so they could tie it into our factory network for maximum flexibility. When the company went shopping for a PC-based system, it knew it had to consider DataMyte’s Quantum software.

Solution

The shop became the first installation for DataMyte’s PC-based data collection system, Quantum SPC software. The system includes 12 Quantum SPC/DC™ data collection stations, with Quantum SPC/QA™ quality analysis software running on two other terminals, one in manufacturing engineering and one in quality control.

The amount of data collected depends on the size of the order. The average job is 175 parts, many with tight tolerances requiring 100% inspection. A variety of gaging is used, including micrometers, calipers, surface finish gages, bore gages, and height gages. Most of the work is done under subcontract to agricultural and construction machinery manufacturers, with a small percentage of commercial and aerospace machinery manufacturers mixed in.

The company has found that the Quantum system is compatible with its needs. With its Windows-based environment, Quantum is a simplified system that requires fewer keystrokes. This means operators learn faster and can use existing setups as training exercises. All work orders are now done as setups in the Quantum system. Quantum software allows easy setups without the operator performing lots of repetitious detail. And the system’s “product” concept lets the company tailor its quality summary and final inspection data to its customer’s needs.

Although none of its customers require SPC data, the company furnishes it as a service, and an SPC data package is sent to each customer with the product. This has increased the company’s customer comfort level, and several customers are eliminating receiving inspections on the company’s parts.

The company’s customer quality report includes program verification and process characteristics. The customer can see that each process is doing what it should. In many cases, this value-added service has resulted in new customers, even when the price was higher than a competitor’s.

With the DataMyte Quantum system, the company already has the means to document continuous improvement for ISO 9000 registration. The Quantum SPC software helps track product history, process improvement, scrap reduction, and overhead reduction.

A machine operator reviews process data on the Quantum SPC/DC data collect display.

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