This latest upgrade follows the company’s establishment last year of a Strategic Quality Team, the addition of a Reliability Test Lab, and a successful transition to RoHS compliance. By utilizing the latest technology available, Crown has now fully transformed its manufacturing approach from a traditional batch and queue assembly method to a state-of-the-art, streamlined, continuous flow process with a constant examination of quality from start to finish.
Crown Quality Support Manager Rupa Shanmugam outlines the innovative ways in which the software has been implemented, “Whereas most companies are simply looking for defect management, Crown has gone beyond this basic use and is utilizing GainSeeker in three different areas: real time data collection of test results at board level and finished product, real time display of yield and efficiency data, and document delivery stations that provide work instructions, setup sheets, defect pareto information, and other pertinent documents, such as engineering deviation or quality alerts if required at each workstation.”
The document delivery stations are a unique and exciting upgrade allowing Crown the freedom to move away from the paper domain and into the electronic. Besides the environmental benefits that come with the reduction in paper usage, this modification also means that changes can be made to work instructions in real time and then distributed to all workstations simultaneously, ensuring that every employee always has the most current information possible.
Coupling the electronic work instructions with the defect tracking information also allows for the highlighting of key trouble points in the process. It is now possible to determine if a problem with a particular process is an operator training, dexterity, or workstation configuration issue. Shanmugam adds, “Being able to do data analysis in real time means that we are able to take a proactive approach by catching issues as soon as they begin to vary from control levels rather than waiting for an alarm condition to occur.”
In addition to defect tracking, Crown is also tracking its successes. There are now large LCD screens on the factory floor that show production information in real time. Refreshing every five minutes, the displays show at a glance how much each line is producing, the work rate, testing results, and packing information. There is a great sense of accomplishment when workers are included in the process and can see exactly what their efforts mean to the company.
The implementation of GainSeeker can be seen in more than just the production floor environment, as Crown’s service and repair department has also benefited from the process. Previously, data from repairs being made in factory service and data seen on the factory floor had to be collected and examined manually. With the improved electronic data collection processes, these systems are now tied together, allowing for an overall quality snapshot. Now quality is not only measured at the end of the assembly line, but also by performance in the field for Crown’s customers where it is ultimately the most important.