April 9, 2011
DataNet Quality Systems, developers of WinSPC® and QualTrend® quality control software, recently announced that a global leader in home, health, and beauty products has selected WinSPC as its SPC software system for use across multiple operations.
The selection came as part of the company’s collaborative project among several business groups including cosmetics, personal care and nutritional products.The project goals are to improve process performance through real-time SPC feedback and enable electronic records management for regulatory compliance and product validation. The targeted processes encompass powder, liquid, aerosol, blow molding, printing and packaging operations.
The project was initially rolled out in the company’s powder filling operations to reduce fill variation and overfill, and, as a contract manufacturing company, to help meet customer requirements regarding maximum allowable variation (MAV).The plants previously sampled fill weights, cap torques, fill volumes, specific gravity, temperatures, line speed, and other parameters to ensure product conformance, recorded the sampling data on paper and routed this paper to various team members for batch recording and analysis. This approach consumed several hours or days and introduced the potential for data-entry errors and delays.
The WinSPC implementation automated the capture of fill weight data from digital scales for each fill head on the different filling machines and provided real-time SPC updates on weight and other measurements. This enabled operators to track and control the process; it also provided a mechanism for engineers and managers to monitor performance throughout a shift and access regular summary reports on a shift’s Quality performance.
The project team believed an important aspect of controlling the filling process was to capture subgroup data from each fill head while charting the machine average. This would provide insight into overall process capability. Standard practice for filling operations was to have the mean value for each process well above the package declared weight in order to prevent shipping products with weights below the published weight. In addition, most customers provided an MAV standard for each product. With access to real-time process information, the team determined they could realize significant savings through reduced product giveaway by running the process at a lower target value without risking package weight or MAV violations.
The team identified significant productivity gains and time-savings in automatically capturing the data (as opposed to hand writing the results and routing the paperwork), and in having immediate access to reports that previously took several days to generate. As a contract manufacturer, the company also used this data and the automated reports to comply with customer and regulatory reporting requirements.
With the WinSPC implementation a success, the scope of the project expanded to include tracking other key Quality characteristics throughout multiple operations and automating manual paper trails for product validation. The implementation utilizes standard tools in WinSPC to manage the data collection interface with scales and other devices, provide real-time SPC updates, store data to a central SQL database, and perform data analysis and reporting.The team now is looking to leverage new functionality in WinSPC Version 8 to calculate the cost of variation on filling operations and determine optimal process settings in order to further reduce material costs.
About DataNet Quality Systems
DataNet Quality Systems empowers manufacturers to improve products, processes, and profitability through real-time statistical software solutions. The company’s vision is to deliver trusted and capable technology solutions that allow manufacturers to create the highest quality product for the lowest possible cost. DataNet’s flagship product, WinSPC, provides statistical decision-making at the point of production and delivers real-time, actionable information to where it is needed most. With over 2500 customers worldwide and distributors across the globe, DataNet is dedicated to delivering a high level of customer service and support, shop-floor expertise, and training in the areas of Continuous Improvement, Six Sigma, and Lean Manufacturing services.