Reducing Scrap with Automated Data Collection

Problem
A precision-engineered parts manufacturer had a waste problem. A manual data-entry process coupled with delays in inputting testing results meant that errors were being replicated for minutes, even hours before anyone noticed. When defects were identified, it meant enormous amounts of product had to be scrapped or reworked. When your business depends on precision and accuracy, there’s simply no room for error, so until recently, the cost of that waste was accepted as necessary.
 
Proposed Solution
The plant uses custom, purpose-built torque testing gauges with digital displays that show test result data. Operators were writing down the values from these digital displays, and then later entering the values manually in the plant’s InfinityQS® ProFicient™ environment. InfinityQS experts proposed automating the data collection to improve accuracy and reduce time needed for alerts and defect correction.
 
Result
This plant creates precision-manufactured fasteners (such as screws, nuts, and bolts) for Aerospace and other industries that require perfection in every part. There is no room for error, and so operators test parts using custom gauges that measure the amount of torque each fastener can withstand before failing.
 
Unfortunately, data collection and data entry were completely manual processes, leading to twice the opportunity for inaccuracy. In addition, operators would often gather data for hours before entering the results in ProFicient, so problems could be replicated again and again before anyone noticed, leading to a lot of scrap on the manufacturing floor. In fact, management estimated that 40 out of every 100 products ended up in the reject pile—a major hit to the company’s bottom line.
 
One of the plant’s quality managers reached out to InfinityQS to discuss how we could help improve data accuracy and timeliness. Our Application Engineer supplied the manufacturer with a wireless gauging interface that we configured to connect to the plant’s custom torque testers. The new system allows the gauge to send values automatically from the torque tester to ProFicient—without having to be physically connected to the computer running the ProFicient software.
 
The improvement was immediate! Wireless monitoring not only eliminates the potential for human error in recording and entering test data but also ensures that values are recorded in near-real time! Armed with nothing more than a laptop, the quality manager can monitor production data and stop lines quickly when a problem occurs, dramatically reducing scrap.
 
Wireless gauge technology integrates with the plant’s processes and equipment to improve quality at the plant level and increase the accuracy and timeliness of data. Now that’s precision!
 

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