Unsung Hero: Utilizing the User-Defined Item Descriptor

Have you ever seen the massive cruise ships or oil tankers, weighing in at several thousand tons, being towed by the comparatively tiny tugboats?  I’m amazed at their effortless ability to tug a vessel many times their size. Although they are not often utilized, when called upon they are extremely useful and powerful. Similarly, InfinityQS’ ProFicient offers an option called item descriptor that, like the tugboats, is a small hero with a big impact. When specific requirements are needed, enabling the item descriptor can provide a solution for a useful data entry project.

Subgroup Descriptor

As a ProFicient user, you may notice that in most SPC projects, the user-defined descriptor is typically set as a "Subgroup" descriptor.  As the name implies, this option allows the operator to select or add an item to be tagged for that subgroup.  For example, let’s say you have a subgroup size of 3 and a user-defined descriptor called Mold Cavity and within this Mold Cavity group your items are Cavity-01, Cavity-02, Cavity-03, etc.; now, assume the operator chooses Cavity-02, and using the "Subgroup" descriptor, all three pieces (i.e., subgroup of 3) are now assigned to Cavity-02.  But suppose the requirement has a subgroup size of 3 and I want to designate a specific cavity for each of the three pieces?  In other words, I would like the option to select which of the cavities belong to the first piece, then the second piece, and the third piece.  This is where the item descriptor provides the solution.

Example Where Item Descriptor is Useful

Many of our customers have asked us about this and one of the most common examples used is: "I am doing final inspection on my PC boards and I don’t know what kind of defect to expect, nor do I know what component is flawed, but I want to document the type of defect and where the defect comes from." There could be hundreds of components in a PC board that are assembled and knowing the type of defects, and where these defects are occurring, is vital information for process improvement.  Additionally, by utilizing the InfinityQS multi-layer Pareto charts, one can easily group and display each component as a function of defect to illustrate which of the components produced the most defects and the type of defects that occurred most often.

Enabling Item Descriptor

Let’s look at another example. We’ll use a user-defined descriptor called "Components", and within this group we have a list showing each of the component items (i.e., A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2, C-1, C-2, etc.) that the operator can choose from.  For the test characteristic, we’ll use an attribute (Defect type) test showing all of the possible defect codes.  First we open the project and in Data Entry Configuration/Optional Items we double-click on the "Components" user-defined descriptor to open its "Properties" dialog box.  Under the "Descriptor Type" option we double-click the "Item descriptor" to <Enabled>.

Now with the item descriptor enabled, during inspection the operator has the option of choosing which of the components was inspected faulty.  As you can see, this is very useful information as the operator can now identify and match the defect with component. 

The item descriptor is a unique feature in InfinityQS’ software and gives you a lot of flexibility in your projects.  So the next time you come across a data entry project where additional information is required, call on our little hero. Like the tugboats, the item descriptor may be a small component in the big picture, but it can definitely be useful and powerful.


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