A daily routine is a great thing for many of us, but can sometimes cause us to “act automatically” and to perform tasks we are used to performing but are not necessarily the right ones. What’s needed is clear data on which to make informed decisions. The data analysis tools we began to use in recent years provide clear data from both production and quality control, enabling us to streamline production and provide better service to our customers.
Advanced equipment for quality testing – only half the way
When it comes to quality control, a great deal depends on the measurement equipment at your disposal. We recently acquired new CMM machines for both the PLASTOKIT and Rion sites. These new machines join the x-ray equipment we already have for examining a product’s internal cavities, and highly improve quality control. Nonetheless, while the advanced equipment is necessary, it is not sufficient – a suitable tool for analyzing and presenting data about quality provides additional significant improvement and save money.
Qualisense – software for informed decisions based on the PoR (Percentage of Range) method
Amos Shavit, one of the senior engineers at PLASTOKIT for many years, developed the Qualisense software for management decision making. Shavit: “I think that one of the main strengths of the software is the ability to convert tables with extensive data about quality into a clear graphic display. This form of displaying data provides a broad picture which is important for making the correct operational decision”. Omer Kraus, Plant Manager at PLASTOKIT, who works closely with Amos and integrated the software at the company, agrees, adding that: “using Qualisense helped us save and improve operationally, while reducing scrap”.
So how did Qualisense benefit PLASTOKIT?
Separate the important from the unimportant – focus on the required control only
No one likes unnecessary tasks which consume both time and resources. But how do we identify these tasks? For example, sometimes quality tests of the injected part’s dimensions are performed without any real need. The dimensions of the part do not change and remain permanent, far from the tolerance limit, throughout all production cycles. Qualisense helped us diagnose these tests and indicated that they were redundant.
Easily identify incorrect measurements
Another example are irregular results of quality tests that raise a red flag. They can even send the production floor into a dangerous tailspin. These results may be caused by human error or a measurement error. If the reason is not detected on time, changes may be made to operational parameters which may then be found to be unnecessary. So how can we identify these measurements, and then be sure that the incorrect results can be ignored? Qualisense can display the expected and existing distribution of measurements, with the irregular measurements clearly displayed graphically. Thus, it is easier to identify these situations when the data is displayed so prominently.
Safely work within the injection window
Those familiar with the plastic injection field know how much working within the boundaries of the injection window impacts the stability of the production process. The injection window cannot be seen, but when it is small it is well-felt. This is where Qualisense comes in, providing a clear visual display comparing the theoretical injection window with the actual injection window. At the click of a button the software calculates how much and in what direction to correct each dimension in the mold or diagram in order to expand it.
Optimization of production parameters – shortened cycle time
Qualisense is a powerful tool that can improve production processes and provide enormous savings on various costs. For example, PLASTOKIT was able to shorten the cycle time of a production process from 18.7 seconds to 16.2 seconds – after it was proven without a doubt that the two processes did not result in differences in the dimensions important for the part quality. Shortening the process by 2.5 seconds saves 277 machine hours a year – for one product! This is a net profit for the company and helps increase its competitiveness. Similarly, comparisons can be made between different raw materials – for example material that is lighter or less expensive, and if the change does not impact the dimensions of the injected part, then the new raw material can be adopted.
The production floor at PLASTOKIT is an amazing example of how the ability to compare the same parameter under changing conditions provides important insights. These conclusions can then be quickly translated into operational decisions that have significant financial ramifications. Increased product complexity and high outputs require use of software such as Qualisense, which is helping the quality experts at Rion and PLASTOKIT work correctly and efficiently.
תמונה 1: עומר קראוס, מנהל המפעל בפלסטוקיט, מסביר על השילוב של Qualisense בועידה המרכזית של תעשיית הפלסטיק והגומי.