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How to Minimize Product Defects in Your Machine Shop

Defective products resulting from human error have far-reaching implications for the entire manufacturing process. Poor quality machining can increase rework rates, scrap, inspection redundancies, costs, and product inconsistencies. Implementing an error reduction program at the source of the manufacturing process can mitigate such adverse outcomes.

Read on to find out how to minimize errors and defects in your process plant.
Identify Potential Sources of Errors
To minimize errors in machining operations, first, evaluate the machine setup and operations for potential problems that could result in defects down the production line.

Develop a flowchart of the particular process and then identify areas where human-induced errors are likely to occur.

Examples of trouble areas in the machining process include fasteners with missing threads, wrong or missing tool parts, wrong installation processes, and incorrect configuration of manually operated machines.
Plant managers can inspect machining processes at the source or successively as the product moves downstream.

Successive inspection entails checking for errors at each subsequent step of the process, but this can result in downstream bottlenecks.

Source inspections take place before the start of the product manufacturing process to ensure proper machine setup. Source inspection is a more effective equipment evaluation method, as this requires operators to fix errors before the manufacturing process can proceed to minimize downstream errors.

Determine Appropriate Error Detection Methods

Plant managers can utilize several approaches to detect and subsequently avert errors in the machining process. These approaches can be either passive or active.
Passive Techniques
Passive error detection methods are generally low-cost and entail making design changes that minimize the incorrect performance of a task.

For example, taps and dies are important components in metalworking machinery. However, improper placement can damage the parts and create defects in the product.

To avoid the consequences of improper placement, plant managers can modify the die and tap design to use in the machine so that only components in that particular design, and no other type of die or tap, can fit in the machine.

Although such passive techniques can be cost-effective, operators may be unable to apply these detection methods in each application.
Active Techniques
Sensors and vision systems are the most prevalent methods for active detection of process errors.

Sensors come in many different variations. However, all sensors work by giving off a warning signal, for example, when you have a missing or poorly installed part or defective threading.

A vision system is a more advanced error detection method. This system captures images in the manufacturing process and triggers an action that stops the process when the system detects an error. The vision system will unlock the equipment once you have rectified the error.

Correct Errors and Minimize Reoccurrence

Once you identify errors, correct these discrepancies and lessen reoccurrences to ensure low-error plant processes.

To correct machining errors, eliminate, replace, or rework the defective part. Eliminate and mark as unusable parts of the process that are neither replaceable nor repairable.

Consider replacing the defective part with one that does not contain the same or other errors. Apply specific techniques to inspect the replacement part to ensure conformity.

Lastly, rework a defective part to eliminate errors and then put the part back to proceed with downstream processes. Reworking can help to minimize elimination scrap and replacement costs.

A zero-error plant may not be entirely feasible but with proper detection and swift elimination methods, you can minimize errors in both machine setup and actual plant processes.

If you want to improve the production process at your machine shop, CCA Inc. can help. We develop tailor-made solutions to enhance your manufacturing processes and manage supplies inventory. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our products and services.

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