ProFicient 5.3: Need Better Answers from Your SPC Data? Ask Better Questions

Eric Weisbrod
By Eric Weisbrod | September 15, 2017
Vice President, Product Management
This spring, InfinityQS released our newest product—Enact—but that doesn’t mean we’ve been neglecting ProFicient. We continually work to respond to your changing needs. This year, our customers have been asking some terrific questions. 
  • How can we best analyze product and process performance?
  • How can we select and group data to answer our questions?
  • How can we get information from equipment that’s sending only limited data?
In ProFicient 5.3, we’ve added some useful features to help you answer these questions and more.

Use a Box-and-Whisker Plot to Display Pp/Ppk Values

Imagine your company has two manufacturing sites. Site 1 has five lines; site 2 has five lines. Both sites manufacture multiple products, each with multiple features that must be measured. Your company has limited resources and your job today is to figure out which site needs the most assistance. How do you do that?
One response we often hear is, “Calculate the Pp and Ppk for each site.” Although it is possible to calculate these values with the right data normalization, does this make sense? When you really look at the calculation you will find that condensing everything to a single number isn’t very prescriptive. Things like capability are most applicable to a specific product on a specific process for a specific feature. How can you use capability numbers to compare two sites without losing the power of those individual results?
ProFicient 5.3 provides a new tool for comparing process capability. Take a look at the example below – it shows you a box and whisker plot of Ppk values. The power of this is that each part/process/feature combination is analyzed and its Ppk value is plotted. This allows you to see the average Ppk value for the site as well as how spread out the values are.
Further, you can drill into this data and see the Ppk values for each process, product, or feature, which is much more powerful than trying to obtain a single number for a site.

If this was your company, which site would you say needs the most help? What lessons can be learned? I’d want to know how Line 2 and Line 3 in Phoenix are exceeding my target Ppk of 1.33 so I could replicate that success across all of my production lines!
The ability to display data from different lines in one box and whisker plot makes your job today dramatically easier—and helps you take action faster to make positive improvements.

Assign Descriptors to Parts, Processes, and Tests

Descriptors are a powerful tool for selecting and grouping data within a given data set. I think it’s safe to say that all manufacturers have certain criteria they want to use to select and group data. For instance, many manufacturers want to be able to filter information to see only tests that meet the criterion “Critical to Quality” (CTQ). ProFicient provides descriptors for this very purpose and makes it easy to use them.
I think it’s also safe to say that the criteria these manufacturers are using today will likely change in the future! What is deemed CTQ today will likely change as you add new products, have to meet changing regulations, respond to quality issues, and so forth.
This is where there used to be a catch. If you wanted to select or group data using the CTQ descriptor, that descriptor had to be associated with the collected data at the time of data collection. You couldn’t associate CTQ—or any descriptor—after the data had been collected.
In ProFicient 5.3 we’ve solved that problem. Now, you’ll see a new Descriptor tab in your part, process, and test screens.

From this new tab, you can:
  • Apply descriptors on the fly—even after data has been collected—making it easier to evaluate “what-if” scenarios
  • Reduce or eliminate user selection of descriptors to make operators’ lives easier
  • Reduce the amount of data that subgroups contain; because you don’t have to anticipate every possible descriptor you might need, you can enter fewer of them during data collection, saving database size
Be sure to take these questions into consideration when using descriptors.
Do you have descriptors that change over time (e.g., batch)? If so you need to associate those descriptors with subgroups.
Do you use descriptors in calculations? If so that descriptor needs to be in the data entry configuration.

New Features in Control Chart Dashboard

Control Chart Dashboard is a powerful product for many ProFicient users because it allows you to create control charts with almost no configuration to help you monitor process health in real time. Control Chart Dashboard lets you easily generate charts for your entire facility, instantly.
Our newest Control Chart Dashboard enhancements further extend those capabilities. Now you can:
  • Target a specific process—This feature allows you to display a single process, making it easy to display that process on a dedicated monitor, for example.
  • Target specific tests—This feature allows you to select only the tests that are relevant and display them in the order you want; this is a big help if your tests aren’t all collected at the same time.
  • Match chart colors to your settings in Proficient—This capability helps provide a consistency with ProFicient.


DCS and EIS Now Support Part “Tokens”

If you’re wondering, “Why would I need a Part token?”, consider whether you have equipment that can output values but:
  • Doesn’t know the current part, lot, job, or shift
  • Knows a different part, lot, job, or shift than you have in ProFicient
For example, say you have a CMM that is outputting part numbers in addition to the measurement values. However:
  • You can’t tell what shift that part was produced on.
  • You don’t know what lot it came from.
  • The part numbers that are programmed into the CMM are different from the part names you have in ProFicient.
If that sounds familiar, you are not alone; we run into it a lot. Tokens provide a neat way to solve this issue.
Tokens can enable you to quickly isolate very specific information about the parts, lots, jobs, or shifts associated with a particular machine or line. These tokens work by looking up the most recent subgroup for the specified process and determining the necessary information. Configuration is simple; you have two tokens you can reference:
  • Lookup by process – Looks up the desired item (part, lot, shift, job) based on the most recent subgroup for the specified process.
  • Lookup by process for a specific test – Looks up the desired item (part, lot, shift, job) based on the most recent subgroup for the specified process that contains the specified test. This allows you to target the right item if the process is currently running a different part, for example. This is common when there is a delay between production and inspection (e.g., CMM inspection of complex parts).
Simply choose the correct token on the part Descriptor Properties tab to create the association.
What should you do next?
Upgrade! Upgrades are included with your annual maintenance agreement (AMA) program. If your AMA has lapsed, simply contact your account manager to get it up to data [link to contact]
To learn more about these useful enhancements, watch our Tips and Tricks webinar, available on demand.

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