May 03

A Story from the Visual Inspection Station – Improving Manufacturing Quality

Learn more about our Visual Inspection Module through an anecdote from 10in6 Team Member Mike:

“I don’t see it”, I say.

“It’s right THERE”, says the agitated part inspector, as I struggle to find the defect, they are trying to show me.

“Wow is that a defect you can’t ship?”, I say straining to see the tiny imperfection in the part.

“YES!  now let me log it in”, says the inspector.

JD Power Initial Quality is one of the most prestigious awards a vehicle manufacturer can win.  The award looks at the number of issues reported by owners in the first 90 days of their purchase.  Most of these issues are cosmetic and some would argue not important but to the buyer of a high-priced item certain quality is expected. When I worked at GM our plant won the award a number of times and I can tell you it was a proud achievement at the plant.   Parts like the dashboard, door panels and seat trim are rigorously inspected to ensure any minor imperfection is fixed before shipping to the OEM or end customer.

Visual defect tracking typically consists of a grid tally sheet which breaks a piece down into location zones on the X axis and the typical defects (scratch, dent, rip, bleed through, etc.) on the Y axis.  Inspectors tally the defects in the appropriate boxes as they are found for “data analysis”.  Some will use colored pins and pictures to plot the location of defects to get a better picture.  Parts with defects that can’t be fixed at the primary inspector have tags affixed to them describing the defect and the parts are placed on a rack for a secondary inspector to repair.  The secondary inspector has to decipher the repair tag, find the defect on the part and then repair it.  The repair may not take long but the locating can. Not to mention repair racks move around and getting a handle on how much is in repair is sometimes a full day effort.

Now imagine a system that allows your primary inspector to scan the serial number (or sequence number) of the part and model specific pictures of the part appear on a screen. The inspector quickly selects where on the parts the defects are and what defects are found.  This data is automatically captured into a database for analysis.  If the primary inspector can repair the defects they are marked as repaired and the others remain for the secondary inspector.  At secondary inspection the user scans the serial number of the part and immediately sees on screen in pictures the exact location of the defects, saving critical time in deciphering and finding them.  Once repaired the secondary inspector marks them repair or possibly scrap if they can’t be repaired.  From this data the system also tells you how much is “in repair”. Extend the system one step further, as parts are scanned into the shipping rack their inspection history is retrieved and only parts that are free from defects or have their defects repaired are given the green light to ship.  This inspection is tied into the generation of the shipping label so until the container is good to ship a label cannot be printed and you can’t ship without a label.

What a system. Visuals of defect locations, quick and easy access data and a final poka yoke, Sounds amazing right?   It is! It can be a reality in your plant in a short time frame, let us show you.

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