Achievements and Results

- 23 separate defects isolated and eliminated

- New processes for production control were implemented


The Problem

A company was experiencing steadily increasing product scrap at the new final fabrication stage of the manufacturing process. They had not seen these issues to this magnitude before, so they modified the last operation in an attempt to eliminate the bad product without success.

The requested task was to identify the causes of the scrap and suggest ways to reduce the scrap rate.


The Solution

The first activity was to review, understand, and map the entire manufacturing process. While this review occurred, rejected products were observed as they occurred. A data collection method was put in place at the last operation to collect a list of defects and their corresponding frequency of occurrence.

After a short study period, the data identified twenty-three different types of defects and their associated frequencies. This information, complete with a suggested path forward to identify the causes of each defect type, was reviewed with company management. The plan was approved.

The defects were addressed individually, starting with the most frequent occurrence. The entire manufacturing process was open to review, not just the last operation. A root cause analysis was conducted for each defect type, followed by a review of the process that produced the particular product characteristic. Process and/or process control deficiencies and observations were noted.

Example: Burrs on the edge of the product was a common defect. The burrs would cause forming and leakage issues if left on the product. The production process was observed to learn where burrs develop and how they are supposed to be removed. 

Ideally, a de-burring operation occurs mid-way through the process. A cutting tool with a tapered nose is rotating at high speed, and the Operator places the product up to the tool to remove the burrs. It is the Operator’s responsibility to achieve the correct presentation orientation to achieve full and concentric burr removal. The tooling was reviewed to determine if it played a part in the problem, and it was discovered that in many cases, the cutters were loose and the tool sharpening method had caused geometric irregularities, causing the tool quality to be deficient.

The solution was to revise the tool design to add a guide on the tool nose to orient the product correctly for the Operator, place new cutters on the tooling to achieve a uniform and concentric cutting action, repair or dispose of all old hand sharpened cutters, add a  preventive maintenance routine to replace tools at the operation at a prescribed frequency, and send out used tooling for cleaning and sharpening by a tool shop when removed from service.

Similar corrective action plans were developed and attempted for each defect type until results were achieved.. Some of the plans included new tooling, gages, and test equipment, design changes, new or updated procedures, and inspection requirements. In each case, management reviewed and approved the corrective action recommendations.


Benefits Realized

Twenty three corrective action plans were developed and implemented for each of the major defects in the company’s production process.  As each defect type was addressed, rejection rates steadily dropped. New methods of data collection were implemented throughout the production process for monitoring and control.

To see the resume of the expert associated with this case study, see the link below.

Resume of NTV Quality Assurance Engineer, ISO2001:2000, Expert Consultant Resume


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Peter Habicht, Lead Consultant
Peter specializes in welding and metallurgical engineer with 40 years industry experience in commercial nuclear power plant construction.


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