What is Factory Data Collection For SPC
In manufacturing, automated data collection is the primary source of data for statistical process control (SPC). An automated data collection system includes gaging with electronic output, data collectors (either dedicated or PC-based), SPC analysis software, and training in the use of these tools.
Gages and Data Collectors
Gages are used at operator stations to measure process characteristics, and data collectors record these measured data. The data collectors provide operators with control charts and other analyses that help to monitor processes. Data accumulated at stations can be batched and transmitted to a computer, where the data can be analyzed further and archived.
Automated Data Collection System
Besides gathering and recording gage data from stations, an automated data collection system enhances communication between workers and management. This is accomplished by providing up-to-the-minute information at shop workstations as well as at computer terminals in managers’ offices. This type of communication can be based on a “wireless” network, in which handheld data collectors are applied, or it can be based on a “hardwired” network using cables and networking software to link data collectors and computers.
In a wireless network, handheld data collectors are used at data-gathering workstations. Data is then transmitted via an in-factory wireless network back to the computers used for data analysis and reporting. Handheld data collectors without wireless capability may also be used at the data gathering point, then carried back to the host computer and linked via a serial cable for download of information.
A fixed-station, hardwired system may have an existing or dedicated network that links benchtop data collectors to the host computer. In turn, this is linked to client computers by way of standard networking technology such as a LAN or WAN.
Such a network provides managers with immediate access to SPC information including data reports, capability charts, histograms, and other forms of analyses and reports. Data can be retrieved from anywhere on the network by authorized managers, operators, or engineers. Plants at remote locations also can be tied into the network.