High-level approach - going from parts modeled in CAD to a finalized, manufactured product, involves several stages - including design validation, prototyping, iterative refinement, tooling, production, quality assurance, and post-manufacturing processes.
When parts are designed, how do you ensure the manufacturer is building what you intended to design?
Ensuring that the manufacturer accurately builds what was intended in the design involves a combination of rigorous quality control measures and collaborative communication between the designer and the manufacturer. Here are some key strategies:
- First Article Inspection (FAI):
Purpose: FAI is a detailed verification of the first sample from a production run against the design specifications, typically add dimensions on the provided 2-D drawing. It’s a crucial step in making sure the manufacturing process is correctly set up to produce parts as intended.
Outcome: If discrepancies are found, the process is adjusted, and another article is produced for inspection. This cycle continues until the article meets all specifications.
- Depending on implications to schedule, it’s common at smaller companies to waive dimensions that are OOS to unblock builds at the assembly location (either contract manufacturers or first party manufacturing)
- Process Capability Studies (Cp/Cpk Studies):
- Purpose: These statistical methods assess the ability of a manufacturing process to produce parts that meet specification limits consistently. Cp measures the process’s potential capability, while Cpk measures its actual performance.
- Process: The studies involve collecting data from the manufacturing process and calculating the Cp and Cpk values. These values indicate how well the process is centered within the specification limits and the consistency of the production.
- Outcome: If the Cp and Cpk values are below a certain threshold, it indicates that the process needs to be refined to reduce variability and improve consistency.