Posted by Alex Ivaschenko on 19th January 2014
Recently we’ve stepped into the realm of big business. Our customers are asking us for our Quality Plan. That is how we guarantee that our products work, work consistently and meet the stated performance specifications. We do have a plan. And we do strive to provide quality products. So, we have this to share without divulging too much know-how and our proprietary methods.
Introduction to Quality Plan at Encole is this:
There is a sense of pride in our work. At the end of the day we are confident in our products. We take comfort knowing that somewhere in the world we’ve created a satisfied customer. This sense of confidence and achievement cannot be accomplished at random. Our internal processes are guided by consistently following our Encole’s quality assurance principles:
- Product quality assurance by vendor relations and compliance with standards.
- Attentive and clear communications with customers.
- Easy-to-use tracking of workflow through ERP and PDM.
This quality plan has no part number and it’s not a controlled document as our specific manufacturing documents. This is really more our quality philosophy than a plan that is intended to be freely shared with Encole employees, affiliates, suppliers and customers. Internal manufacturing instructions have proprietary information and cannot be shared outside of Encole.
Product Quality Assurance by Vendor Relations and Compliance with Standards
Encole manufactures high performance sight windows in various types such as NPT-threaded, Metric-and SAE-threaded, Conflat-flanged and ASME-flanged viewports in different sizes. We are constantly looking for new products to develop and sell.
Product quality starts when creating a great design. This step involves our engineering personnel who have appropriate education and training in the fields of mechanical, electrical and manufacturing engineering, optics and applied physics. Several of our engineers have advanced degrees such as Master’s Degrees and PhD. Our general approach is to retain excellent relationships with our qualified personnel and affiliates. This is generally accomplished by creating freedom from fear of making wrong decisions and reassuring job security by diversifying our products across target industries in every part of the world. We believe that lasting relations with our affiliates are important to consistent quality. We have the same approach with our vendors, subcontractors and suppliers.
After design work is completed comes the next critical step in quality assurance. It’s technical and easily sustainable with our adhesion to standards and procedures.
Every finished product has a Bill of Materials, (BOM) and associated Manufacturing Assembly Instructions & Procedures, (MAP). Every drawing of a part or an assembly complies with the ANSI Y14.5M-1994 Drafting Standard. This is the current standard in the USA today for Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing, GD&T. Encole engineers are trained and experienced in the art. Several of Encole affiliates hold certifications in CAD systems used in production of part drawings.
During the design process each part goes through numerical revision as needed to engineer the part. We use CAD systems such as SolidWorks and Pro-E. During this phase we perform engineering due diligence by analyzing the part for mechanical and thermal stresses using finite element analysis, FEA. The goal is to determine the theoretical Factor of Safety, FOS. When parts have been designed we perform tolerance stack-up analysis to finalize production drawings. Upon request we can furnish our sample drawings. Once the engineering process is complete, the parts are promoted to Production Lifecycle Status, and revisions become alphabetical. Alphabetical parts are our revenue units and any changes are treated through an Engineering Change Order, ECO. Typically to enact an ECO, a request has to be made from Marketing.
Our incoming inspection of articles starts with a report provided to us from our fabrication shops. We specify “Inspection Dimensions” on the face of a drawing and typically parts are rejected should the specifications be not met. Our fabrication facilities for metal parts, or quartz, or ceramic components have clean rooms with coordinate-measuring machines, CMM with resolutions to 0.0001 inches, that is 1”/10,000. This resolution is more than enough to measure deviations, as most of our parts, with the exceptions of optical components, have tolerances of 0.001 inches.
In addition to the dimensional report from the fabrication shop we perform a secondary inspection at our facility in San Jose, California, where we mainly perform the functions of inspection, assembling, testing, and final packaging.
On our assembly drawing we specify the bill of materials of every component that goes into the finished product and also the MAP, (Manufacturing Assembly & Instruction Procedures). This document clearly shows how to put together an assembly or a sub-assembly of the product. MAP is a typed document with its own part number, PDM- controlled. MAPs are located on the assembly floor. The document has a list of tools and fixtures used in production of the product, with photographs and instructions on how to actually use the tooling.
Each fabrication step has its own MAP. Our production workflow typically is broken down into the following steps:
- Initial inspection of individual parts
- Individual parts cleaning
- Assembling according to BOM
- As applicable, use of heating equipment
- Post assembly cleaning
- Final Inspection
With the product packaged and ready to ship our quality assurance does not stop. Customers depend on us, sometimes with technical advice on choosing the right sight glass or help with the logistics of expediting, availability and pricing.
Attentive and Clear Communications with Customers
First off, we try to minimize telephone transfers for incoming customer calls. When people call they want to talk to a person, not a machine. From there, we simply listen.
Easy-to-Use Tracking of Workflow Through ERP and PDM
Underneath Encole.com is a very powerful database that makes our work a joy. We have a web-based system with tracking Customer Orders as they are generated via the shopping cart on Encole.com, or manually entered on customer’s purchase orders, PO. In addition we have a Requisition System tracking orders Encole makes with our suppliers. The system was developed custom. This is not a commercially available one, making it secure and tightly fit for our needs. It’s intuitive and easy to use, taking full advantage of the hard-to-error approach.
Posted by TD Steiger, PhD on 2nd September 2013
My fellow Americans, we as a Nation need to take a moment and meditate upon the fact that the British kick our collective ass at comedy. It’s just a fact.
Okay look: Go and watch the British and American versions of “Death at a Funeral” and then come back and shut up.
This is not a low-brow versus high-brow thing. The premiss of The World’s End, which I will not spoil for you, is insanely ludicrous. It’s just that the Brits can put people in bizarre, unbelievable circumstances and have them do bizarre, unbelievable things without turning them into the buffoonish barely human grotesqueries that seem to populate most mainstream American comedies.
Not only is British comedy smarter, but they take time to set-up and craft their jokes while their American brethren rely heavily on silly slapstick sight gags. For example, throughout The World’s End, as circumstances become increasingly incredible, Oliver “O-man” Chamberlain (played to uptight perfection by Martin Freeman) repeatedly exclaims, “W. T. F.?” until an exasperated Gary “The King” King (played with reckless abandon by Simon Pegg) replies, “WHAT THE FUCK DOES WTF MEAN?!??”
The World’s End is about five childhood friends who haven’t seen each other in decades reuniting in middle age to recreate the best night of their young lives: a pub crawl involving 12 pubs along the Golden Mile, terminating at The World’s End. As youths they failed to complete this epic journey and Pegg’s manic man-child Gary is now determined to finish the crawl “if it kills us.” And then, as they say, mayhem ensues.
Not only is The World’s End laugh-out-loud funny throughout (which is not something I say very often) but it also carries deeper messages about getting older and the danger of nostalgia which are delivered in heartfelt interludes that are interspersed through the hilarity and insanity. The film is so finely crafted that if you pay attention you will realize that the plot is actually spelled out by the names of the twelve pubs, from The First Post to The World’s End. Some action or event takes place in each pub that is relevant to its name.
Sadly this film marks the end of the Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy (after Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). But happily it is also Simon Pegg’s strongest performance to date. Pegg’s Gary King is a ball of unbalanced energy with not an iota of self-awareness. It’s not just that he won’t ever admit that he’s wrong, it’s more that he doesn’t understand the concept that he COULD be wrong. By turns infuriating and adorable, witty yet clueless, he is the male personification of a hot mess. You don’t want to be friends with Gary, but you definitely want to be friends with his friends so you can hear the stories.
With an excellent cast and a razor sharp script this is a thoroughly enjoyable, if incredibly off-beat movie.