Any process, product, and form of manufacturing needs to implement quality control measures. To do so, we need to identify areas for risk management in Additive Manufacturing and create tracking and remediation plans. Let’s go through the following tips to master risk management in Additive Manufacturing, as well as how Bluestreak | Bright AM can assist each step of the way.
Additive Manufacturing relies heavily on shared designs and material cut sheets. Significant risks exist around proprietary data and design corruption when transferred between stakeholders. The Bluestreak | Bright AM platform integrates with existing management systems and provides a secure transfer of information and documents between stakeholders. Anywhere you can access the internet, you can access the design documents for your product.
2. Product Malfunction / Product Liability
A low-quality product could be detrimental to more than the company’s reputation. If that product makes it out the door, whether it has a construction or material flaw, it risks malfunctioning in a way that could result in property or bodily injury. Monitoring quality via inspections and testing is critical to ensure fully functioning products. This is achieved through document control of both specifications and design documents, as well as all the processes along the way and the final results. If a product fails a test, it is removed from the production line. A notification is also generated to bring attention to a potential problem area that must be fixed to prevent additional errors.
3. Managing Human Error
Mistakes can be handled through team training and a collection of performance data. Shop-floor employee tracking is one way to manage human error. If a mistake repeatedly occurs at a process and the equipment and materials check out, it may identify a gap in training. In every industry, training employees to execute their roles is an integral part of success. Retraining where needed becomes just as important to ensure that everyone stays at peak performance. Bluestreak | Bright AM workflow tracing helps track progress across the shop floor and the employees working at each stage, so you can identify if additional training is necessary.
4. Instant Notification for Communication of Errors
This may not reduce the risk, but it does reduce the financial and schedule impacts. With Bluestreak | Bright AM shop floor tracking and instant notifications, you can identify, notify, and correct errors quickly, with minimal waste and impact on costs. If an error is identified immediately, it may only cost a few hours to correct, resulting in minimal losses for the company. If an error is not communicated for several days, that expense quickly grows. The financial risk of not knowing what you don’t know is undefinable, but reducing it through instant notifications can keep it manageable.
5. Parts and Material Tracing
This is similar to employee training and instant notifications: we monitor parts and pieces as they come in and during each step of manufacturing. Even when a defect is not successfully identified during production, we can trace it back to where in the manufacturing process it occurred and prevent the error from occurring again. Parts and material tracing looks at incoming materials and various inspection steps throughout the Additive Manufacturing process, creating an audit trail for use in root cause analysis when needed.
6. Adherence to Specifications (Materials and Final Product)
There are criteria we must meet in our Additive Manufacturing process, as defined by stakeholders. Bluestreak | Bright AM ensures adherence through an updated specifications database, revision tracking, and comparison of observations and materials data to the most recent specification requirements. The specifications are like a cheat sheet to supplement assembly instructions. Not only do we want you to Additive Manufacture an automobile part, but we also want you to follow all these criteria so we know your part will function in our car flawlessly. No manufacturer should risk failing to meet specifications.
7. Equipment Qualification and Preventative Maintenance
As we trace our products, people, and machinery, we want to know that the equipment is performing as designed. If a piece of equipment overheats a material, it risks damaging the structural integrity of the elements used. When equipment is left unchecked, it may fall out of calibration and may result in products that no longer meet specifications. Tracking and tracing will keep the equipment running smoothly and will send a notification when preventative maintenance or calibration is needed.
Many variables can impact the quality of Additive Manufacturing products. Implementing systems to manage the risks is critical to success. Bluestreak | Bright AM can help your team traverse the landscape of risk management in Additive Manufacturing.
If your service includes Additive Manufacturing, we provide specific solutions in our Bright AM software. To request an Additive Manufacturing software demo, click here!