Monthly Archives : June 2017

oemmanufacturing

What OEM expectations from vendors have changed in the past 5 years?

As competition increases in machining across the world, it is essential to pay a great deal of attention to OEM standards – both minimum regulations and market standards. Over the past five years, OEM expectations from vendors have changed quite dramatically. Here are just a few of the modifications that you should keep in mind when you are assessing your quality control variables.

Quality Assurance

Led by the luxury automobile industry, the proliferation of precision automation manufacturing has created a higher standard for quality in OEM parts in many industries. Deliverables are now expected to maintain an extremely high rate of integration with factory parts, and OEM manufacturers are always competing to lower the error rate in batch deliveries.

Most quality assurance errors occur in high-volume production lines; however, as automation takes over for other forms of machining and general manufacturing, you can expect the QA standard to move up for bulk orders as well. In heavily regulated industries such as medicine and the automotive industry, vendors are becoming hardline about remaining in compliance with their various industry standards. Before choosing an OEM company within these industries, it is recommended to fit that company for an understanding of regulatory policy.

Continuous Improvement

Chief among new expectations from vendors is a dedication to continuous improvement. Fully accessible big data is now the norm for even the smallest startups in all major industries. It is a simple thing to quickly survey vendors on their opinions and quantifiable problems with a delivery. OEM companies now also have the luxury of surveying vendors ahead of time to take the temperature of market conditions and new product iterations.

Savvy OEM partners are gearing up for production runs on new product iterations years in advance, sometimes concurrently with the original manufacturer. When two sets of eyes are sharply focused on the market under the banner of continuous improvement, the result is usually much better for the end client.

High Volume Production

Being able to handle high volume production while maintaining a time to market and QA standard that is competitive in an industry is a feat not to be underestimated. When volume ramps up, small problems quickly become big problems. Close interdepartmental cooperation is necessary to ensure that a product does not veer off course before production takes its course.

Design Capabilities

More than ever, OEM partners need to have fit-for-purpose design development capabilities. The tenants of precise QA and continuous improvement can be quite a shock to a traditional production system. It is not enough to locate problems more quickly; the production capabilities of a company must be robust and flexible enough to handle any changes that need to be made on the fly.

The total capabilities of an OEM company become even more prevalent during high volume seasonal orders that require a high degree of precision. Vendors are being held to a just-in-time standard more often than ever, and they must demand it of their partner companies as well.

Icono tareas colores sombra

What inspection equipment is crucial in manufacturing today

Increasingly complex production processes and ever-accelerating production rates, make the human obsolete for executing the multifarious lightning-fast inspections  necessary to ensure compliance with today’s numerous quality and regulatory requirements. Inspections by human eyes and hands are manufacturing processes of the past. With manual inspection, corrupted products may pass through the entire production process without being discovered until much later. Such a management flaw can put consumers at risk and cause manufacturers enormous recall costs, brand damage, and waste costs.

Automatic inspection processes detect errors at an incomparably higher rate than people can accomplish, bolstering efficiency of production lines. Automated inspections afford reliably repeating inspections. And, they offer precision in capturing performance data, such as rejection rates. These benefits spur quality and conformance improvements that become very significant contributors to customer upgrade and repeat purchase rates, profit margin, and market competitiveness.

Inspections are conducted at so many points along production processes, and by so many interested parties, that it’s dizzying to consider just the number of kinds of tests conducted throughout  the manufacturing industry on an average day—from shop inspections, to second and third party stake-holder site inspections, to ISO and government inspections. Inspection costs alone can represent a significant expense. And, increasingly strict quality standards along with ever-accelerating production rate requirements further increase the cost.

On the other hand, cutting corners on inspection costs predictably prove to be a costly error, escalating risks of comparatively high quality control failure rates and nonconformance rates that can jeopardize a manufacturer’s competitiveness. Optimizing inspection systems doesn’t necessarily mean spending more. However, it does mean manufacturers need to get the most for their investment in manufacturing inspection equipment and processes.

From robotics, to medical equipment and supplies, to food production, inspection and testing plans for incorporating inspection equipment are now driving what has become a robustly innovative inspection equipment industry.

Kinds of inspection

A manufacturing test is performed as part of a particular inspection process for PQR, or for any one of myriad in-process purposes. Just listing, much less explaining, all the tests required for manufacturing is a project far beyond the scope of this article. But, here are listed just a small number of industrial tests, to give merely a sense of how vast the range of inspection types is across the manufacturing industry.

  • Bend, impact, and tension tests
  • Inspection (testing) equipment calibration
  • Radiographic tests
  • Weld Destructive Testing for WPQ
  • Pump, valve, compressor, and pressure vessel inspections
  • Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) of equipment under construction
  • Annealing Heat Treatment, testing temperature change rates and metal properties
  • Corrosion resistance testing
  • Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI)
  • Dimensional inspection
  • Ultrasonic testing
  • Hot working metal properties analysis
  • Electromechanical tensile testing of non-ferrous materials
  • Surface smoothness test (AARH test)
  • Identify breaks or other physical defects on finished products
  • Product mass measurement
  • Package seal inspection
  • Code validations
  • Label affixed and positioned validation
  • Tamper seal closure tests
  • Vision inspection for product conformance and overall packaging integrity
  • Container content and fill level measurement
  • Food, beverage sorting consistency with packaging
  • Product counting

Kinds of inspection equipment

Of course, some inspection technologies can be better investments than others. The challenge is to identify those that can be expected to advance your process improvement and quality objectives, and yield the highest ROI. This is especially true in today’s dynamic environment, in which innovations are so rapidly advancing process capabilities, that state-of-the-art equipment can quickly become obsolete. We have identified a few that appear to have the broadest range of applications across manufacturing, and the greatest overall value in terms of ROI and contribution to branding goals.

1. Barcode scanner

Barcode scanners are used at throughout the supply chain, materials management, production, packaging, warehousing, and shipping, processes, and further at wholesaling and retailing points of sale. Scanners can be linked to materials management systems in order to increment materials inventory counts as products are being produced. As material inventories are depleted, stock counts are updated in real time. Scanners can even interface with database software to confirm a match between a product unit and the barcode assigned to it. Scanners can be used for barcode inspections on:

  • Individual items in bottles or cartons
  • Pallets for X-ray inspection
  • Adhesive printed label sheets for later application
  • Inventory tracking lists and paper ledger entries containing barcodes
  • Stamped or printed barcodes

2. Vision

Vision inspection system equipment automatically identifies a vast array of quality problems that human inspectors cannot detect with comparable consistently. And, these automated camera processes are increasingly fast and wider ranging in the numbers of tasks a camera can manage. The equipment is advancing to produce ever-higher resolution to capture subtle defects. This reduces rates of false rejections by the automated system. Additionally, a vision inspection system can be integrated into automated line processes to catch errors that might otherwise ruin entire lots. This benefit may be enough to account for enough loss savings to realize a favorable ROI.

3. Checkweigh

Checkweigh inspection systems consist of automated checkweigh equipment, usually stationed at the end of the production line. The checkweigher rejects underweight or overweight product units and immediately removes them from the line. The rejection triggers an alert that prompts line workers or supervisors to attend to the fill weight problem, before perhaps thousands of nonconforming products are produced. Some features and benefits of automated checkweigh equipment are:

  • Meet AQS as well as non-AQS (UTML) requirements (But be aware of retailers’ standards.)
  • Constrain tolerances to ensure increased fill process precision
  • Reduce waste to increase profit margin, which cumulatively can add up to staggering savings

4. X-ray

Bits of debris such as rubber, metal, glass, stone, and other opaque that contaminate products can be detected using X-ray technology fitted for manufacturing applications. X-ray equipment can see through a product and its packaging to assess density of contents to distinguish foreign materials from product. X-ray inspection can be used with many packaging types, including cans, jars, bottles, foil, and pouches made of a variety of materials. And X-ray machine is higher priced than metal detection equipment, but it precisely locates the contaminant and shows the line operator exactly where it is to be found inside the product. Modern X-ray equipment is optimal for high-speed manufacturing lines and for producers who need to minimize contaminates to guard against recalls. Today’s sophisticated X-ray equipment for manufacturing quality control can be stationed in-line to:

  • Detect contaminants
  • Identify physical defects
  • Detect broken products
  • Detect missing products
  • Validate integrity of package seals
  • Measure products’ mass

5. Metal detection

Currently, a major issue in food production is contamination by stainless steel and other metals. Modern metal detection equipment for manufacturing can detect metal contaminants in products with high fluid volume. This product inspection equipment is good for use in production systems with need to inspect only for metal contaminants in products. Metal detection equipment is usually stationed at or near the end of the production line to inspect the final product. They are not useful for products in tin cans, or in foil or aluminum packaging, or metallic film. Metal detection machinery works well for inspection of:

  • dry goods like sugar, flour, salt, and others
  • frozen food products
  • numerous other products

For your QM team to ensure quality in daily operations by confirming that processes are optimally efficient in conforming to Operating Procedures, manufacturing inspection equipment affords ideally controlled repeatable inspections. Updating your Quality Management Program technology with automated inspection equipment can take your program a great distance toward:

  • ensuring customer satisfaction
  • overall efficiency of QC systems
  • reduce operating cost
  • minimize material waste
  • reduce instances of product non-conformance
  • reduce risk to customers
  • reduce risk of recalls
  • improve regulatory conformance
  • accomplish PI objectives

If your plant is still using outmoded manual inspection processes, it is probably time to discuss with your SME in manufacturing machinery, possibilities for implementing quality and conformance inspection and identification technologies. You may discover that it is more affordable to procure the equipment and implement its use than it is not to do so.

usamanufacturing

Why Manufacture Your Products in the USA vs. Overseas?

You’ve got products to be made. But where? Should the manufacturing be done overseas, from inexpensive factory sources? Or in the United States, where your costs might be higher and your profit margins squeezed? This is usually how the choice is presented.

In fact, both time and money factors very often point to U.S. manufacturing having the edge in efficiency.

Maintaining Local Accessibility

Doing business with a U.S. manufacturer means your product can be available quickly, by domestic shipping. You’ll be able to keep in constant contact with the manufacturing company.

You’ll have the option of working with its specialists from start to finish with considerable ease.

For example, you can have quick access to manufacturers’ samples of a product line ahead of a full order.

Indicators for Future U.S. Manufacturing Growth

There might be other factors in a decision to go with a U.S. manufacturer. Much more than a wage-per-hour figure is in play.

Supporting U.S. manufacturing gives you the power to support the future growth of the sector, and its solid role in a strong economy. It is an investment in the future of U.S. workers and job security overall.

Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and other international trade agreements, the United States has suffered a job drain, and the movement of factory trade to foreign locations. At some point, truth be told, U.S. policy changed. It gave up on promoting economic growth from within. It began to rely, and has increasingly relied, on overseas manufacturing.

The public mood may be swaying the Trump Administration to revamp key aspects of international trade. We are optimistic. In our view, there has never been a better time to invest in the future of U.S. manufacturing. Instead of offshoring, the emphasis will be on reshoring.

To that end, President Trump has expressed a commitment to have the U.S. Commerce Department identify trade agreement infractions, by any country, that have harmed U.S. workers. Accordingly, all relevant agencies should use every U.S. and international legal means to end the abuses.

Investing in Communities and Work Environments

Now, let’s return to what we as ordinary people can do to support U.S. industry’s future growth. This involves putting our money where our mouths are—that is, actually relying on U.S. manufacturing for the production of goods. This brings funds into the businesses that can hire local personnel and invest in communities.

Should you commit to working with U.S.-based manufacturing, let your clients know in turn. Be sure they’re aware that part of the cost they’re paying is an investment in the sector.

Tag Team Manufacturing is a U.S.-based company fully dedicated to the economic success of our Denver community. We believe in providing a work environment where machinists are rewarded and retained. We trust our staff to suggest and implement improvements and supply the highest quality parts for our customers.

Call Tag Team Manufacturing today to plan your next manufacturing project: 303.841.5697.