Quality is a crucial element of heavy fabrication projects - and quality control and quality assurance are areas where ABS stands out from the competition. Machine shops, like ours, that have a high level of production quality and repeatability are able to deliver consistent products to customers – becoming a trusted partner. Machine shops with robust and established quality programs are less likely to have quality incidents such as recalls or part failures – reducing the level of risk for the supplier and OEM. One of the benefits of strong quality procedures is that potential errors or issues are identified in advance, enabling the team to address the problem and prevent the quality issue from occurring in the first place. Additionally, sound quality control and quality assurance programs also improve workflow, resulting in efficiency gains along the production line as well as across the entire supply chain.
Production inconsistencies and poor quality can result in various negative outcomes such as slower time to market, tainted reputation, strained supplier-OEM relationship – and worst of all, customer loss or harm. Companies that supply machined parts and products simply cannot afford to cut corners when it comes to quality. Below are some best practices to achieve quality in heavy fabrications.
Quality Best Practices for Heavy Fabrications
Heavy fabrications are often demanding and require sound quality control and assurance to ensure a safe and successful project. Quality in heavy fabrications requires experienced personnel with the requisite skill sets, facilities, and procedures to properly manage these large projects. When the necessary quality processes are in place, a project has a much higher probability of success. Below are some best practices that help machine shops deliver quality in heavy fabrications. At ABS, simply meeting standards and expectations is not enough for us; our team strives to meet – and exceed – our customers requirements in order to deliver high-quality heavy fabrications. Using a strict quality control process, advanced technology, and a highly skilled and experienced team, we are able to produce precision products that are second to none along with a professional and personalized level of service. To learn more about our commitment to quality, watch our short video on quality assurance and control.
Dedicated Quality Personnel
While quality control is a team effort, accountability is key when it comes to consistently achieving high quality. Every heavy fabrication project should have named personnel that are responsible for the various quality related tasks and steps – and everyone on the team must know who is the responsible party. At ABS, our quality team works hand in hand with our manufacturing and engineering teams and is comprised of professionals from several disciplines including:
- Professional Mechanical Engineers
- Yellow Belts (sigma)
- CMM Programmers and Inspectors
- Professional Material Engineers
- Black Belts (sigma)
- Gauge and Tooling Specialists
Relentless Pursuit of Safety and Compliance
Safety and quality in manufacturing are intertwined – and it is challenging to consistently achieve high quality without outstanding safety. Machine shops that achieve quality in heavy fabrications focus on safety in the workplace and ensure personnel are properly trained on how to safely operate in the manufacturing environment and how to minimize risks. Additionally, experienced manufacturers with high product quality adhere to strict quality control processes to meet – and exceed - the requisite standards. These teams typically have rigorous quality training and dedicated professionals in place to ensure quality standards are being met during machining and fabrication. These measures lead to a higher level of quality control that results in more consistent and elevated product quality – as well as a healthier bottom line and happier customers.
Our commitment at ABS is to provide continuous improvement and customer satisfaction with every service we offer. We achieve this by assuring that our processes, operations and employees all operate under the ISO 9001:2015 system of quality management. Reliable and repeatable inspection results for heavy fabrications are assured with highly experienced dedicated QC staff and comprehensive quality procedures, using state-of-the-art CMM technology in a purposely built QC room. Quality is part of our culture and not an afterthought. In addition, our Heavy Fabrication is a full-service facility certified to CSA47.1 (AWSD1.1) and ASME Boiler Vessel B31.1 and 31.3 standards. Our welders are certified by CWB/AWS and ASME, and are fully trained on flux-core, gas metal, submerge arc, tig and stick electrode welding techniques.
Maintain Cost and Schedule Controls
It is of course crucial that machine shops adhere to the agreed up on cost and schedule for a given heavy fabrication. High quality manufacturing is one key way to keep costs low and achieve the project timeline. It is important to keep in mind that quality extends across the entire manufacturing process including production, facilities, and personnel. Robust quality processes in these key areas reduce the level of rework and errors that occur during manufacturing, offering efficiency gains and significant cost savings and avoid costly delays.
Perform Periodic Health Assessments on the Quality Program
When production is operating smoothly, it may be tempting to go through the motions to complete the quality assurance steps. However, machine shops must resist the urge to grow complacent. Just like any aspect of manufacturing, quality programs need to be assessed and tuned-up from time to time. Remember – it is often when things are going well that quality processes begin to breakdown and product quality suffers. Machine shops must remain diligent at all times to consistently achieve high quality in heavy fabrications and protect their reputation and bottom line.