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You can have warehouse upon warehouse full of parts and raw materials. You can have established shipping lines. You can have connections to all the right industry players and a full roster of eager customers. But without quality assurance in manufacturing, you will have nothing.
That’s because quality is everything. It’s what ensures that you produce a functioning, reliable product, and it defines your reputation and your customer's loyalty to you. The cost of poor quality is hard to measure, but one thing is clear: it can cost you contracts, customers and even your entire organization’s ability to bring in revenue. That’s why those in the manufacturing industry who want a long future invest in building a robust quality system.
This is a process we have spent a lot of time, hard work and money on at Modus Advanced. Today, we have some of the robust quality manufacturing processes, including AS9100 and ISO 9001 certifications, in our industry, and we are happy to be pleasing our customers and reaping the rewards. In this post, we walk you through what it takes to build a robust quality system based on our own experience doing exactly that.
If you’re worried about quality, let Modus Advanced take that worry off of your shoulders. We partner with our customers to manufacture some of the most intricate, sensitive, complex devices in a wide variety of industries, and we’re ready to partner with you, too. Reach out today.
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Process is Everything in Manufacturing Quality Assurance
You already know the purpose of quality assurance in manufacturing: ensuring that you produce high-quality products that give your organization a good name and your customers a good, safe experience. But what you may not know is that building a strong quality assurance system is building a process — a big one. Here’s how ours works:
1. Design for Manufacturability Review
Quality assurance begins at the point of first contact between a customer and Modus. When we receive a new design, we put it through our stringent Design for Manufacturability (DFM) review.
This is the first point at which our engineering team looks at the design and intended final product for any potential problems that could harm quality during the manufacturing process. It’s also how we provide price quotes. By applying a quality lens early in the process, we set up each project for smooth sailing.
2. Planning Before Production
Collaboration is key to quality assurance. Modus has implemented cross-departmental collaboration well before production ever begins by having the quality and engineering departments come together to review every part of each design. This is also the phase in which we try to accommodate any non-standard tolerances and note where in the design we will take exceptions.
3. Checking the Sample Part
Quality assurance in manufacturing has to be mostly internal, but there is an external component: the customer. Almost no one is better equipped to identify deviations from intended design or functionality than the company that designed the part.
That’s why we create a first article for every design and send it to the customer for review before we even think about diving into full-blown production. While the customer is reviewing the first article, our team uses the down time to create a sampling plan that is based on ANSI/ASQ Z1.4 or a C=0 Plan (meaning if there are any rejects, the entire lot is rejected), made specifically for the design at hand.
4. Full Speed Ahead on Production
With customer approval and a sampling plan solidified, it’s time to go full speed ahead on production. To ensure process-specific quality, each manufacturing process gets its own verification and quality inspection protocols.
We use a high-quality coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to inspect machined parts at the frequency specified by the sampling plan. Form-in-place (FIP) parts are inspected with a profilometer before and after curing. And we inspect all parts after the application of a coating or plating.
5. Final Quality Check
After production but before shipping the completed parts, we conduct a final round of quality inspections. Using our detailed set of workmanship standards, we look for problems like the following:
- Dents and dings
- Streaks and burns
- Die marks
Tools for Quality Assurance in Manufacturing
The naked eye can catch the most obvious quality problems, but manufacturing quality experts know they have to use high-quality tools to complete in-depth inspections. Here are some of the tools we use to catch quality problems:
- Keyence CMM: This is a handheld and portable coordinate measuring machine that measures the dimensions of 3D parts.
- Zeiss CMM: This is another high-quality CMM that allows us to ensure quality on the production floor quickly and accurately.
- Keyence Profilometer: This machine allows us to examine the height and width of the bead for FIP gaskets.
- Virtek Laser QC: This inspection tool utilizes lasers to ensure two-dimensional parts are perfectly within spec, down to tolerances of 0.002 inches.
- Micro Vu Vision System: This is a microscope-based inspection system that can catch serious errors that would otherwise be invisible.
There are plenty of manufacturing quality assurance tools, but we believe these are the best. When you want the best in quality, you have to use the best tools.
Other Tools of the QA Trade: Quality Certifications
In the same way, most people wouldn’t see a doctor who didn’t have a medical license or a lawyer who couldn’t pass the bar, our customers don’t want to work with a manufacturer who hasn’t been certified. In manufacturing, there are several certifications that signal high-quality standards:
We have all of these certifications to ensure that we are up to speed on the latest in quality for both manufacturing in general and specific industries like aerospace and weapons. To learn more about quality certifications for manufacturing, check out this article.
The Best in Manufacturing Quality Assurance
Quality assurance in manufacturing is critically important, but far too many manufacturers let it slide. The results can be devastating, and it’s never worth risking your own organization’s reputation by partnering with a manufacturer that doesn’t have a tested, trusted quality system in place. The good news is that you don’t have to do that. Instead, you can just partner with Modus.
Very little about building your own quality system is simple, but getting access to ours is as easy as can be. All you have to do is contact us. Contact us online or call our team at (925) 960-8700 today.