This month (my third here already!) I moved into Quality Assurance (QA) and I’m doing completely different things to last month.
I first started working on the OGP Smartscope – which stands for Optical Gauging Products. This is a high precision non-contact measuring machine with capabilities of measuring to 0.0001mm. We use this to measure parts, for example where we inspect first offs and last offs of a job. I now know how to use this equipment for manual measurement, creating automatic routines and configuring and exporting inspection data.
I have also been producing inspection reports where continuous inspection has been required throughout the production of particular jobs. From this I have been learning about tolerances and how we achieve them.
I have spent some time with one of our larger customers who were visiting to take a look at a new part they asked us to produce. We have purchased some new machinery for this job and we need to validate the machinery and the stability of our process before we can begin running it. Here I learnt about OQ which stands for Operational Qualification. OQ forms part of the protocols and reports required at this validation stage. I assisted whilst running the OQ and helped analyse the data for the OQ report.
Later on in the month I visited our tool supplier for an “Evolution of Print” talk. We had a tour, which I really enjoyed; I learnt a lot from it. We walked around looking at their processes, which were paused and explained in detail. I’ve enjoyed spending time with customers and suppliers; it’s been great to see the friendly relationships we have with them.
Other projects this month included redesigning inspection spreadsheets for one of our healthcare jobs, optimised to recognise the rejects determined by the customer. I also produced a report on this as we are looking at ways to reduce inspection times and, ultimately, costs for the customer. From this I have been learning a lot about spreadsheets and formulas – it’s amazing how much I’ve forgotten since ICT at school!
Other processes I have been learning about are those required for a PPAP, which stands for Production Part Approval Process. In simple terms, a successful PPAP submission determines that the specification has been understood and that the manufacturing process has the potential to produce products consistently to meet these requirements.
Cpk analysis forms part of the PPAP and concerns process capability. By analysing 30 consecutive parts we can project/estimate what the process is capable of producing. I have been creating and analysing Cpk charts.
I have also been measuring and creating ISIRs (Initial Sample Inspection Reports) and have been involved in another element of the PPAP known as ‘Operator by Part’. This is used to verify the chosen measurement process; a number of operators will each check a number of parts, a number of times. The results should demonstrate that the measurement process is stable and repeatable regardless of which operator is running a job.
These processes ensure that parts are produced repeatedly to the correct standard and the resulting reports are sent to the customer.
I’ve also just been involved in the set up of the cameras on machines for a job. My role in this was to do with validating, which is configuring the camera to read the same of the absolute value that we achieve from the OGP. These values are taken from a master part. I am now going to be taught how to do the programming too, which I’ve never done before so it will be interesting.
I’m really enjoying QA; I’m finding it very interesting and I have definitely learnt a lot already. I’ve enjoyed getting to know more of my colleagues; they’ve been really helpful and fun to work with. I’ll remain in this department for another month or so and then my next stop is the Production Office.
As well as my work at Parafix, I’m also enjoying my one day a week at college; I’m finding the subjects really interesting and it’s been really beneficial to apply these subjects to my every day work. For my first module I am studying health & safety, electronics, electrical principles and maths. I’m finding the maths very easy having already studied this at A level!