Thought Leadership

Smart Manufacturing uncovers Closed-Loop Quality – Summary ep. 4

By Blake Snodgrass

To address closed-loop quality is to ensure that products and the parts are delivered right the first time. After that, it moves to the next-level of details regarding the digitalization concept companies are exploring.

Automation and digitalization could significantly reduce factory flow disruptions due to design changes, supply chain issues and changing requirements. Therefore, it is essential to integrate quality into the manufacturing process. Quality and the manufacturing process cannot exist without each other, and it is vital to ensure that what gets manufactured has the right quality. It’s also confirming that the products and parts are delivered on time and to the correct specifications.

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By integrating quality and manufacturing, a company or factory takes advantage of digitalization by taking the quality process to the next level. Quality is a well-defined term that means it ensures the product outcome meets original expectations. The goal of closed-loop quality is to optimize the manufacturing process by identifying and correcting nonconformance early, thus minimizing scrap and rework to improve the overall product to market.

Manufacturers desire to accomplish these goals by accounting for quality in phases. This requires writing a plan for quality up front, examining all requirements for quality before building anything, checking against well-defined capabilities and determining and defining where the failures could exist.

They can then find additional details like how a machine should run and operate, defining the environment and conditions that impact overall product quality. These conditions include vibrations, temperature tolerances, and machine conditions, and they all must be monitored closely to ensure that the final product is delivering a customers’ expectations via up front planning.

The second piece is monitoring the quality through the process, capturing output parameters, looking at the as-built conditions against the requirements, and ensuring that it is closing the loop on the approach to the source of the parameters needed. For example, suppose there are any deviations in monitoring the production process. In that case, it is an essential piece, taking advantage of IoT, which provides an uninterrupted, unhindered data collection mechanism and provides the ability to monitor what’s going on and provide closed-loop feedback to the manufacturing process. Bringing these pieces together optimizes critical quality requirements and characteristics.

There is a significant challenge today with many disrupted supplier issues and the supply chain challenges like monitoring what’s happening and tracking where supplier parts are coming in, significantly impacting the overall quality processes.

Finally, companies that have implemented closed-loop quality processes achieve a median product compliance rate of 99 percent, with the majority performing between 97 and 100 percent. Conversely, organizations without this capability have significantly more variability in performance, with the majority performing between 90 and 98 percent.

Examining the disparity in performance could mean the difference between being first or second to market and avoiding a significant product recall and winning future contracts. What might seem like an insignificant difference can substantially impact an overall business by implementing closed-loop quality.

Closed-loop quality gets you closer to the final customer expectations. It shifts quality-related concerns to the entire organization, making it a shared responsibility instead of a disconnected or isolated end process. Therefore, people up front in the design and engineering process are looking at the manufacturing process and this closed-loop process.

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Xcelerator, the comprehensive and integrated portfolio of software and services from Siemens Digital Industries Software, helps companies of all sizes create and leverage a comprehensive digital twin that provides organizations with new insights, opportunities and levels of automation to drive innovation.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at