When we talk about a company’s production capability we mean the ability of the production process to make its products according to the design intent in a repetitive and reproducible way. In particular, it is the concept of process variability that makes a process more or less capable: a greater variability in fact corresponds to a greater probability of defect, therefore greater costs of non-quality and consequent delivery delays.
Six Sigma teaches that to reduce the variability of processes, it is necessary to identify the input (or independent) variables and then act on them to reduce the variability of the output (or dependent) variables.
In this sense, the fixtures (but also the molds, for example) represent one of the input variables by definition. In fact, it is easy to understand how the tools guarantee the success of the parts in the different phases of a process, whether it be chip removal, a special process or assembly. However, too often the fixtures, despite being a fundamental asset in a company, are abandoned to themselves, left to neglect and not properly maintained by the staff.
Consequently, to improve production capacity it becomes essential to ensure compliance with the functional characteristics of the tools used through the Fixture Passport.
What is the fixture passport?
The fixture passport is a document that contains all the technical information necessary for the operation, use and regular maintenance of the tool in order to reduce the possible uncertainties introduced by the fixture itself. The minimum documentation that a fixture passport must contain (and remain up to date) includes:
- Fixture drawing updated to the latest revision;
- Bill of materials, or the list of fixture’s components (necessary for any replacement or rebuilding of the fixture)
- Change History, including the reason why the change was introduced and who approved it (then make sure to insert the updated drawing);
- Inspection report of critical dimensions, updated to the last modification;
- Method of storage and conservation, including the storage site and any dust and corrosion protection systems that may affect the operation in the medium to long term
- Maintenance checklist, including the frequency and characteristics to be checked regularly
- Certification, for example in the case of tools at risk of safety such as lifting tools;
- User manual, or the list of instructions to follow and necessary for the correct use of the tool;
- Contact details of the designer, builder and tool maintenance manager.
Other information that can be included is:
- Design specifications, or what are the functions that the tool must meet;
- Design analysis: links to static and dynamic calculations, if required or necessary to meet the requirements
Why creating a digital passport
It is useful that a copy of the passport is always available to normal users of the tool, including maintenance, and that its regular updating is guaranteed. The easiest way to do this is to create a Digital Passport accessible via a portable device such as a smartphone, tablet or smart glasses by appropriately scanning a QR code, which can also be marked on the tool itself or placed in the place where it is stored.
In fact, paperless solutions make the printing of paper copies (that do not guarantee automatic updating) unnecessary, with the risk of not guaranteeing the traceability of the changes made and therefore excluding any causes of defects in the root cause analysis phase.
Other benefits of a digital passport are:
- Keep track of who requests and approves the change
- Having a common space where to store the various tool passports avoiding the risk of losing sensitive information
- Greater security, as the data is only accessible to authorized personnel
- Maintain a history of tools, requirements and their design philosophy
Where to start?
In this short post we have emphasized the importance that equipment (and molds) play in improving the production capability of a manufacturing process, be it by chip removal, a special or assembly process. The creation of a digital passport therefore becomes a way to reduce the variability associated with equipment and to ensure full functionality over the medium to long term, thus reducing the costs associated with non-quality and refurbishing of tools, often necessary due to poor maintenance or neglect (for example due to corrosive phenomena).
Moreover, we support you at 360 ° regarding the Manufacturing Capability Management, from the concurrent engineering phase to process optimization and the design of new methods depending on their manufacturing technology readiness (MRL approach).
For more info, contact us to discuss your needs together in detail.
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