About The Core Tools
The Quality Core Tools assist manufacturers to provide high-quality products that meet or exceed customer expectations, produce sustainable volume, and deliver the products on time.
They were originally developed by The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) with automotive manufacturers to enhance the effectiveness of the Automotive Sector IATF 16949-based QMS.
The core tools include Advanced Product Quality Planning & Control Plan (APQP), Production Part Approval Process (PPAP), Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA), Measurement System Analysis (MSA), and Statistical Process Control (SPC).
The tools have since been adopted by other industries including the Aerospace sector as required by aerospace specific standards such as AS9145, AS9100, AS9102, AS9103, AS9110, and AS13003. The methods and techniques have now become fundamental for implementation and maintenance of any Quality Management System (QMS).
Following is an overview of each core tool in the order of use when designing a new product, service, or process:
1) Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP)
The APQP process enables manufacturers to demonstrate that they can design and manufacture a product in line with customer requirements. The main objectives of APQP are to structure effective communication, complete tasks on time, reduce quality issues, and minimise quality related risks during the launch of the product. The steps involved are: pre-planning or input, planning and definition, product design and development, process design and development, product and process validation, and feedback assessment and corrective actions.
2) Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA)
This is a method which identifies and prioritises various modes of failure and the resulting effects. The risk represents a relationship between modes of failure, the potential effects, and the sources of the failure.
FMEA has been proven to be a valuable risk assessment tool in the manufacturing and design process, and some amendments and
variations in the methodology have also been made to better suit particular processes; these FMEA variants are called ‘design FMEA’
(DFMEA) and ‘process FMEA’ (PFMEA). The main terminology used in FMEA includes:
- Severity – shows how serious the potential consequences of a particular failure mode are.
- Occurrence – shows the likelihood of a specific failure mode occurring. It can be based on existing data in the organisation, or on
the experience or judgement of the people involved in the assessment.
- Detection – shows how easy it is to identify the failure mode once it has occurred. For example, issues with the product physical
appearance are easy to see, but a faulty circuit board component that looks physically ok could be missed if not tested correctly
and cause issues after delivery to the customer.
Based on severity, occurrence, and detection, the organisation determines a risk priority number (RPN) for each failure mode and defines the priorities for taking action to mitigate risks.
3) Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)
This core tool is a collection of many statistical analyses and methods which determine variability in the measurement process. It is mainly used to demonstrate the viability of an evaluation or measuring system for use on a specific part characteristic. MSA looks at five specific parameters: bias, linearity, stability, repeatability, and reproducibility. The guidelines for acceptance used are ‘Percent Error to Tolerance’ and ‘Percent Error to Variation.’
4) Statistical Process Control (SPC)
SPC is a statistical method applied in quality control, and it is mainly used to monitor and control processes. SPC can be applied to any process where its output can be measured, with the main objective being to produce as many conforming products as possible with minimum waste due to nonconformities (rejects and part defects). The two main implementation methods of SPC are normal distribution and control charts.
The normal distribution chart is a bell-shaped curve that directly relates to the frequency of occurrence of the characteristic being measured, with most occurrences falling in the middle, and fewer at the higher and lower ends (forming the “bell” shape).
Control charts are the most utilised and arguably the most effective SPC tool. The purpose of the chart is to indicate trends or patterns that occur in the process and to enable the organisation to take actions to control the patterns and decrease waste and nonconformities.
5) First Article Inspection (FAI)
A First Article Inspection (FAI) is mandated as part of the detailed verification of production results versus product design before mass production begins. The purpose of the First Article Inspection is to provide objective evidence that all engineering design and specification requirements are thoroughly understood, accounted for, verified, and documented.
AS9102 is a structured framework that establishes the baseline requirements for performing and documenting First Article Inspection ensuring that documentation is consistent – a requirement for aerospace components FAI.
FAI involves selecting one part from the first batch/lot produced and verifying that the following major elements meet customers’ customer requirements:
- The production processes being used, or that will be used
FAI ensures an entire production process is able to create products and assemblies that meet the company and consumer requirements.
Additionally FAI can also be helpful in a corrective action process when a company is trying to isolate the cause of a nonconformity in their production process. The resulting FAI documentation offers information about what companies need to know in order to address and amend the cause of the issue. Regular implementation of FAI helps companies maintain and improve their production processes over time.
6) Product Part Approval Process (PPAP)
This is a process to demonstrate that the produced part meets the design intent and initial specifications, and that the manufacturing process can produce products consistently. A set of documents called the ‘PPAP package’ ultimately needs to be approved by both the supplier and the customer to demonstrate that the client’s requirements are understood, the product meets the requirements, and the production process is capable of providing conforming product.
*LMR Global have several training courses available on the core tools specific to the Aerospace Industry. The courses can be tailored to your requirements and delivered ‘in-house’ at your premises or in one of our well equipped training venues. For more details please click on the course you are interested above.