Manufacturers care about the product quality they can achieve in their production. Whether they build one satellite a year, thousands of aircraft engines, or millions of microchips, finished products must perform to R&D specifications and customer expectations. If not, they risk low yield, product safety issues, costly recalls, warranty claims, and damage to their brand.
Effective quality assurance (QA) requires you to relate the product to the performance achieved by designers in R&D. Some deviations from the ideal may not affect the product, and may be deemed to be within bounds, but others might affect the entire machine or system, or even endanger end-user health and safety.
Production Line Test Requirements
The type of testing chosen depends on the production volume, complexity of the product, the amount of time needed to test, and the consequences of a failure.
Consider the following:
- Will you be testing thousands of components or sub-assemblies a day or only a few per year?
- Are you performing incoming testing to ensure that third-party components meet specifications?
- Will in-line testing create a bottleneck on the production line and require off-line testing?
- Does each item need to be tested or will sample testing be more cost-effective?
Depending on the potential consequences, testing may be automated, standardized and fast, or represent a more complicated in-depth analysis. Each scenario presents a set of choices that must be made to achieve the best cost-benefit and quality level.
- High-volume Production Test
For relatively inexpensive, high volume machined parts – like gears – where tool wear could be an issue, 100% testing (testing each piece) with pass/fail results is likely the most effective choice. Results can be combined with logged data that can be used to establish trends and improve process chains.
- Mid-volume Production Test
For higher value and more complex products, such as televisions or automotive parts, testing needs to be more detailed and tends to take longer, particularly as the value of the product dictates that faults are repaired rather than scrapping the product.
- Low-volume Production Test
For very high-value products where the value of the product dictates that first-time yield (FTY), in-depth testing is a top priority. An example could be satellites or semiconductor manufacturing machines, wnere testing can be even more detailed and take a long time.
Brüel & Kjær offers proven systems, designed for your industry and that can be customized for your requirements to best fit your production line and goals. Please get in touch with our engineering experts, for any questions regarding assessing the optimal testing setup for your requirements.