In our sixth month we 're looking at our inspection department and the continual improvements made.
Our Quality Inspector, Paul Vaclavik, introduces this month's continual improvement by discussing the inspection process, first article inspection reports and how we aim to maximise production efficiency.
Everything we do is precision focused so our task was to find those small areas of improvement and showcase how they make an overall big improvement.
Next month we'll be looking at continual improvement within our finance and production engineering departments.
As a business, we have had a good track record with our Apprentice retention and success but not all made the grade. We analysed why this might be and concluded that we may not be getting as much as we possibly could from our interview process. Looking back at previous intakes successes and failures we found that the people that interviewed well were not always the ones that succeeded within the organisation.
We took a hard look at our interview process, identified what we would like to get from it and what we would like to find out about our candidates. The results were surprising. We found out that it was not just an interest and understanding of engineering we required but an understanding of how these young people ticked and interacted with their peers.
From here we devised a two-part interview process, the first part being a formal interview. From this we invited the successful candidates back for a practical exercise where they are split into small groups. Last year we picked a bridge building day where the candidates had to construct a bridge using only the material provided to span a specified gap which would hold the maximum possible weight.
This worked brilliantly and enabled us to make a much more rounded decision when offering apprenticeships because we could observe the candidates in a relevant environment within a group situation whilst resolving an engineering problem.
REDUCTION IN PAPER & INK USAGE
We have seen a much higher success rate of apprentice retention since the implementation of this new interview strategy. I wonder what the next apprentice challenge will be?
Inspection at tridan-
Maximising production efficiency
Our task in the Inspection Department involves carrying out first off inspection, to verify machine setups, in-process checks and Final inspection. Much of our work is in the Aerospace & Defence sector and our customers often require a First Article Inspection Report (FAIR) in accordance with AS9102, verifying that all drawing features are accounted for and fully comply with their specifications.
We aim to maximise production efficiency by keeping machine downtime on the shop floor to a minimum, preparing as much as possible before the parts are produced.
At the start of a project the customer drawing is imported into Inspection Xpert. This software allows us to quickly add numbered balloons to each feature. Dimensions and tolerances are captured along with grid references, specifications and drawing notes. Once complete, the information is exported to a custom Tridan template, automatically creating the FAIR report forms, ready to be populated with the measurement results.
The ballooned drawing is exported to accompany the FAIR and the character numbers used to identify the CMM results. Compared to manual methods InspectionXpert is quicker and gives us clearer, more professional results. The inspection project can be edited to incorporate design changes and the software can quickly compare new drawings against the original and highlighting any differences.
The CMM gives us the best compromise between flexibility and accuracy with the ability to measure the majority of features on a part. Offline programing, using the CAD model, allows us to write the CMM programs prior to production, maximizing efficiency and reducing waiting times for shop floor. Using a separate workstation for offline programming increases the CMM’s availability to support production and the offline seat can also be used to evaluate the results of one CMM program, while running another (further improving efficiency).
Using the same version of PC-DMIS on each PC eliminates any compatibility issues and the programs are checked, using offline simulation, to highlight any problems before the part is submitted for inspection.
The CMM report references the ballooned drawing numbers, created in InspectionXpert, making it easier and clearer to communicate the results with production and programing staff. Instructions are added to indicate any items, such as surface finish and thread forms, that couldn’t be measured on the CMM, ensuring that no features are missed. These results are added to the CMM report, ready to be transferred to the FAIR report, created earlier.
Working closely with other departments to co-ordinate our efforts, applying a methodical approach and planning ahead allows us provide the best service to the shop floor and keep our machines cutting metal, meeting Tridans goals and our customers’ deadlines.
Do you have an upcoming project that you'd like Tridan to take a look at and instil our marginal gain philosophy?
Please get in touch below and we'll get the wheels in motion.