The critical role of quality control and inspection planning

Optimize quality inspection planning and management throughout your product lifecycle

Quality control and inspection planning plays a critical role in quality programs, not only to ensure that you produce high-quality products but also to execute your quality program with the utmost efficiency. When companies are looking to achieve best-in-class quality performance, it is important to understand the challenges that industries face when the technology is constantly changing. Quality planning and management is so much more than simply replacing a paper-based system.

Many companies that make the decision to digitalize to keep up with current consumer and market needs are opting for solutions that easily cooperate with their ecosystems. Therefore, it’s important to drive innovation with holistic quality tools in your quality planning and management processes.

Complex process, product and supplier structures require effective quality control and inspection planning from the early stages until the end of a project lifecycle. A perfectly planned product requires well managed production and supply processes to achieve the desired quality. This is an important statement to consider, especially today, as boundaries between domains of responsibility within a manufacturing enterprise and value chain are being removed and the interaction between domains is stronger than ever.

Quality management involves the planning, organization, and supervision of all quality assurance activities. Manufacturers have come to understand that quality must be integrated throughout the enterprise. So, the Quality Control department can no longer play a separate role. The Quality Control function not only plays a supporting role to the manufacturing floor, but it has also become part of a bigger picture to ensure consistent quality, as well as traceability of quality measurements and their deviations.

Faster creation of quality control and inspection planning with enhanced engineering collaboration

The creation of a quality control and inspection plan is a vital component of an effective advanced quality planning process. It is imperative to create a complete inspection cycle (including all parts and processes) and determine essential actions for each phase of the production process.

The quality control plan needs to contain all critical and significant quality inspection characteristics (process- and product-related) that are required in the production process. It provides functionality for your department’s independent coordination and control of all quality assurance actions.

Effective design-oriented quality inspection planning combined with control plan management benefit you by reducing rework and costs. To support this in the best possible way, the process needs to have additional touch points to:

  • derive information from engineering and assessment
  • identify planned inspections to the bill of process
  • integrate quality into the manufacturing process
  • execute defined quality inspections on the shop floor

Companies need to identify and create a quality plan for all critical process characteristics. To accomplish this aspect of quality control and inspection planning, the quality team can leverage resources from your product lifecycle management (PLM) system. Model-based inspection plans leverage computer-aided design (CAD) by the engineering department for product and manufacturing information (PMI). The linking of the PMI to process characteristics can be customized by a rule engine based upon the target value, tolerances, numbering, or criticality. The linked PMI provides a direct connection of the inspection definition and its characteristic to a specific point on a product and acts as a first electronic work instruction to indicate where the measurement needs to be performed. Quality requirements captured in the 2D drawings or 3D models can then be used, for example, to create an aggregate tolerance analysis. PMI-based quality information can also be enhanced for the quality manufacturing engineers so they can access production and quality inspection information.

To ensure that quality information from PLM resources and manufacturing processes are linked in a way that optimizes quality control and inspection planning, a critical tool is failure mode and effects analysis – FMEA. Conducting an FMEA risk management assessment during the planning stage of a new or modified product or process helps you avoid changes in later product stages, which can be costly and not as effective in producing high-quality results.

Execute your quality inspection plans

Planned inspections are most beneficial if they are automatically transferred to the shop floor for direct execution of the quality plan in the production line.

Product-related inspection plans use defined characteristics to inspect a specific product. Product inspection plans can be subdivided into any number of work steps or processes. With modern quality planning software, you can clearly visualize single components or assemblies and their corresponding inspection plans in relation to operational sequences. The software provides a structured support for the creation of inspection plans with associated documentation. This standardized procedure helps you reduce time and costs.

Quality data can be captured in several systems to execute defined inspections. Teamcenter Quality – Control and Inspection Planning supports this use case with an integration to Opcenter Quality Control software or via Siemens manufacturing execution system (MES) offerings.

By executing the quality control and inspection plan, it is possible to detect tolerance variances and identify deviations in real time. If a deviation or nonconformance is detected, the Quality engineer has the digital tools needed to initiate a systematic problem-solving process to immediately solve the issue.

Leveraging on effective quality control and inspection planning, manufacturers can reduce the margin of error and improve quality control processes, while lowering the risks and costs associated with defective products.

Conclusion

The systematic approach to quality control and inspection planning helps optimize teamwork, shorten development time – thanks to automation of time-consuming and manual creation of an inspection plan – and reduce transfer errors such as measurements and sequences. By leveraging on a unique environment from engineering to planning, your quality control and inspection plans can be enhanced to boost product quality, customer relations and satisfaction while decreasing development time.

Learn more about how to globally collaborate within one product lifecycle management system for Quality Planning, Quality Assurance and Quality Control today.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at https://blogs.sw.siemens.com/opcenter/the-critical-role-of-quality-control-and-inspection-planning/