Protomatic Analyses Implementation of Best Practices

Protomatic believes the implementation of best practices is something to strive for, although the company wants to go further for a CNC machining shop.

Protomatic wants to look back at quality management systems (QMS). ISO:9001, AS:9001 and ISO:13485 are great for a global view of a corporate operation.

A basic QMS works well when implementing best practices for a CNC machining shop. QMS has its disadvantages, including how the system addresses finance, marketing and sales, and can also fail in helping to develop a strong preventative environment.

Creating a preventative environment

Protomatic vice-president Doug Wetzel said: "A QMS is great, but a preventative environment is needed to make that QMS really effective."

One way to improve a QMS is by creating a preventative environment using process failure effect mode analysis (PFEMA) methods, which are described in ISO systems.

Using PFEMA, a preventative environment can be created by:

  • Raising hiring standards
  • Better training of personnel
  • Automating processes through updated software
  • Using a detailed control plan

Creating a knowledge base

How a PFEMA is used will vary from industry to industry.

Protomatic established a preventative environment by creating an instruction-based document to help machinists adhere to best practices when running CNC milling and turning equipment, to ensure employees receive valuable information.

The document is designed to detail various techniques required to meet standard workmanship guidelines. Guidelines define the pass or fail criteria, but do not provide information about how to accomplish the task.

The instruction-based document the company developed is a ‘living document’ that is modified whenever a new piece of equipment or technique is discovered to ensure best practices are improved through regular updates.

Moving best practice to standard practice

Protomatic’s document was initially called ‘Best Practices for the Machinists’, but was renamed ‘Standard Practice INS2203.’

It included all technical information that senior mechanists acquired such as the best way to mount a machinist vice on a mill table and how to prevent long-term CAT40 taper swelling.

ISO quality management systems do not require this type of information to be documented, but the company found these standard practices helps to eliminate manufacturing variations and minimise possible modes of failures, as outlined in PFEMA guidelines.

This plays a major role in a preventative environment, and helps Protomatic create precise parts.

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