Our basic understanding of quantity manufacturing is supported by our ability to be given a process flow and an equiptment set along with data about machine availabilities and process cycle times that we "plug" into a model (anything from a spreadsheet to a full discrete event simulation) to play various output volume and throughput time games. In other words, we have understood the basic interactions between machines and processing steps and jobs sufficiently to build a generalized modeling methodology that can be applied to a variety of manufacturing scenarios.Unfortunately, our basic understanding of quality manufacturing is hampered by our inability to be given individual Cp and/or Cpk information pertaining to the steps in the process flow and the machines that execute the processing steps, and to then utilize a common abstract modeling methodology which supports estimating overall system quality. For example, there are at least three well known approaches to quality management as popularized by Deming, Crosby and Juran (J.G. Suarez, Three Experts on Quality Management, Department of the Navy, TQL Office, Publication No. 92-02, July, 1992). However, there is no common modeling methodology that reduces these approaches to shop floor terms and allows manufacturing personnel to "simulate" and evaluate different approaches to their day to day quality problems. This project is aimed at beginning to provide a model (probably a specific one that might point the direction to a more general formulation) that can be used to support playing such quality "what-ifs".
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