What's Hiding In Your Database?

Rick Sloop
By Rick Sloop | August 19, 2011
Director, Service Programs

You are likely using your InfinityQS SPC database to collect a wide variety of data types for many different purposes. While this information might be collected in different locations and for difference purposes, there is probably some information that would be useful during another data entry or that may even be duplicated for another process.

For example, in our receiving department we are doing a data collection where the operator enters the Part number, Lot number and the Supplier that the part was purchased from. Throughout the manufacturing process, operators continue to enter the Part and Lot number, but may not take the time to select the Supplier descriptor. If we do end up doing analysis, we are forced to go back to the receiving department data to find the Supplier. 

Not a major problem, but it does take a few extra minutes and it doesn’t allow us to perform analysis based on "Supplier" with the new data, as "Supplier" is not linked directly to the data.

The solution is simple. We simply have the operator select the Supplier name every time they enter data-- it doesn’t add that much work. But what if we need multiple descriptors? Let’s say that we not only need Supplier, but also Receiving Date and Pallet Number. I’d really hate to ask the operator to select this many descriptors every time they enter data, and this information may not even be available to someone in manufacturing.

Thankfully, InfinityQS ProFicient has an excellent method of retrieving information already stored in the database and allowing us to use it again! The option, appropriately named, “Use Last Database Value” is available in property settings for Part, Process, Test and Descriptors. In our case, we would use the “Last Database Value” to retrieve Descriptor information. The descriptors would be entered in the receiving department data entry.

In the data entry configurations for data collection after the receiving info is entered, we use the values already entered by setting the database value option. To set the option, we open the data entry; go to the descriptor in Optional Items, open the properties menu and then open the Selectable by User properties. The “Use Last Database Value” option is now available. Enable the option and click the Filter button to configure. For our example we would use the last database value for the current Part and Lot. If the descriptor was entered previously and had the Part and Lot attached then it will be retrieved during data entry. 

Other uses for Last Database Value include using it with Test to return previously entered test values.  For example, a product’s temperature is measured immediately after it is formed and then measured again after a four hour curing period. The data entry configuration for the after curing check could retrieve the database value from the after formed measurement and calculate the change over the four hour period.

Last database value is very useful option. Not only can it return descriptor information and test values, it can also return summary information from test values, such as Average, Maximum or Minimum.  There is even the option to return the amount of time between the original test measurement and final test measurement. The time value can then be used to estimate cycle time or time between tests! We can’t cover all of the possible uses for this great feature here, but please try it out to see what useful information is hiding in your database.

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