Tag Archives: Traceability

Process Validation and Vision Inspection – Increasing Quality with Immediate Feedback

Today, consumers can choose from products manufactured almost anywhere in the world. As a result, manufacturers are tasked with providing higher quality products at lower prices in order to stay competitive.  Automated process validation systems offer a way to achieve both goals simultaneously.

Process validation is the inspection of each part at every station in the production line. The results of each inspection are recorded, and each part is given a unique identification number. Before a part can be processed by station 2, it is inspected to make sure that it has passed station 1. At station 3, the part is inspected to make sure that it has come through both stations 1 and 2 exactly as it should. If there is a defect, you’re aware of it immediately and the problem can be corrected before production continues.

Process validation is built around the use of vision inspection equipment. In the past, this equipment was “high end,” and thereby expensive to incorporate into an automated manufacturing system. Today the price of the equipment has come down, making its use much more commonplace. At the same time, the technology has continued to evolve and it boasts more features now than ever before. Vision inspection systems look at each part, compare them to a master template and look for any variations.

As we mentioned in our last blog, the immediacy provided by process validation systems can be contrasted with the spot checking “Go, No Go” systems of the past. Using “Go, No Go” you open yourself up to down time in production as you search for the station where defective manufacturing occurred. In addition, you end up with potentially large batches of defective parts. And if you miss a defective part, it could go on to hinder your client’s production chain, or cause them to issue a recall on their own products. Wasted time and wasted product are things no business can afford, and process validation systems are essential to avoiding that unnecessary waste.

Quality control, inspection and traceability are no longer luxuries afforded to only the biggest companies. They’re tools available to every manufacturer, and they’re essential for survival in a global market.

The Manufacturing Challenge: Increasing Quality while Driving Down Prices

Quality has always been a focus of manufacturing, but now more than ever there is a trend toward increased quality control, inspection and traceability. This mandate has come from consumers, who are now exposed to a global rather than a local market. Whether they’re shopping for a car, a DVD player or the year’s newest gadget, consumers have become more discerning and demanding.

The advent of the critical consumer has hit at the same time that companies from every industry are trying to drive down prices. A global market means global competition. Manufacturers are faced with the challenge of increasing quality dramatically while at the same time pulling down cost structure and pricing.

The way to meet both of these goals is to squeeze waste out of the system at the same time that you improve quality. Automated process validation systems check each part as it’s manufactured, allowing you to halt production at the first sign of error. This replaces the “Go, No Go” checks of the past, whereby parts were periodically pulled off the production line and manually inspected. In that scenario, a defective part meant that a number of potentially defective parts could have been produced causing a major hiccup in production. In our next blog, we’ll cover the benefits of process validation and vision inspection systems in more detail.