New Berlin Plastics has always excelled at high-quality plastic molded parts, but new changes to the Quality Department are even increasing on-time delivery of Product and Process Validations (PPAPs) from 96% to 99%.
To meet the needs of our growing workload, we’ve enhanced our Quality Department to ensure dedicated support for both our external and internal teams. Instead of having each Quality Engineer manage activities for both the product launch and production stages, we’ve added a third experienced Quality Engineer and divided the roles so each person can focus all their efforts on their specific responsibilities.
“Having Quality Engineers focused on managing the pre-production and production stages of their customer portfolios removes any opportunity for one side to suffer at the expense of the other,” says Jim Schneberger, President at New Berlin Plastics. “We can optimize our response time to address any issue that may arise so all projects stay on target.”
Planning for quality
Rance Frankum is the Quality Engineer responsible for the pre-production phase of a new project, known as Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP).
The APQP framework was originally developed by the automotive industry, but many other industries have adopted it for launching new products. During this process, New Berlin Plastics works closely with customers to build in as much quality as possible by proactively addressing risks.
These mitigations may include the prevention of parts being damaged during normal handling and transportation or verifying a manufacturing process will result in a dimensionally correct part with all the desired material properties so that it performs as intended in the field.
The APQP process consists of 5 phases:
Phase 1: Planning
Phase 2: Product Design and Development
Phase 3: Process Design and Development
Phase 4: Product and Process Validation (PPAP)
Phase 5: Feedback and Continuous Improvement
A significant objective of PPAP is for New Berlin Plastics to provide customers with evidence that we understand customer requirements and demonstrate that our process has the capability to produce a product that consistently meets those requirements.
Addressing quality problems during production
Mike Geitner and Jim Rehlinger manage all Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA) Quality Engineering for projects that have begun production. Their mission is to effectively manage quality challenges that might arise during manufacturing such as a failure due to processing, packaging, or material issues.
If a quality issue occurs, the CAPA process involves conducting a full Root Cause Analysis to determine why the failure happened. Then a Corrective Action plan is implemented to mitigate that risk in the future.
One metric that indicates a higher quality rate during production is the scrap rate. As a result of the new Quality Department improvements, New Berlin Plastics is operating at 0.5-1% below expected scrap levels.
New Berlin Plastics customers have noticed the benefits to the new Quality Department restructuring.
“Customers value the more frequent and responsive communication from the Quality Engineers and are seeing outcomes delivered much quicker,” says Schneberger. “We’re taking the risk out of their production timelines, and it’s providing them with peace of mind that projects meet deadlines and they are successfully supported in production.”