For those not as familiar with the role of QA in a metal fabrication job shop environment, these team members are tasked with preventing mistakes or defects in fabricated products, as well as averting issues that may arise when delivering finished items to an end customer. According to ISO 9000 guidelines (which EVS follows), QA is defined as “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled”. Today, we’re learning more about QA from Dipak, our corporate QA manager.
Q&A with Dipak, Corporate QA Manager, EVS Metal New Jersey
EVS Metal: What are the most common QA processes completed at EVS?
Dipak: Quality planning, process capability studies, FMEA for complex products, corrective & preventive actions and continuous improvement by applying lessons learned.
EVS Metal: Are there any certifications or specific knowledge areas required to work in QA?
Dipak: We would like members of our QA team to have a solid understanding of all manufacturing processes performed at EVS. They also need to know about our process capabilities, including tolerance stacking-related issues on large, complex, multicomponent assemblies. Additionally, there are special processes like welding, spot welding, powder coating, silk screening and various plating processes on aluminum and steel parts; being knowledgeable about these areas is extremely helpful as well.
EVS Metal: What are the primary differences between QA (Quality Assurance) and QC (Quality Control), as you see it?
Dipak: The role of QA would be more towards quality planning, ensuring that we prevent issues, rather than just correcting problems that have already occurred, although we do implement corrective action as well. QA specialists also review customer returns, handle internal rejections, all with an eye toward continuous improvement & achieving the goals set up in the quality management system. My team also works with with vendors on quality-related issues so they are able to make improvements as well. The role of QC is skewed more toward the backend of the fabrication process, performing in-process inspections, final inspections, receiving inspections, calibration, and first article inspections.
EVS Metal: What is the most complex QA challenge you have encountered at EVS?
Dipak: A medical equipment manufacturer contracted with us for a complex chassis requiring 30+ sheet metal parts riveted together and 600+ manual insertions of hardware and rivets, all with extremely tight tolerances for the end use application. It turned out that some of the tolerances specified on the drawings were beyond the capability of typical processes; however, we were able to meet customer expectation in launching the new product by utilizing creative solutions. Because we understood the critical features for the chassis, we were able to reverse engineer certain aspects of the project to take advantage of tolerances for functional requirements while implementing various controls during manufacturing to prevent any issues during integration at the customer’s site.
EVS Metal: What was the largest QA project you have dealt with at EVS?
Dipak: EVS was selected to build turnstiles and gates for the Philadelphia train station renovation project. It was large undertaking involving fabrications of stainless steel turnstiles, gates, as well as integration of electro-mechanical assemblies and testing.
EVS Metal: What types of lean or six sigma practices do you use in your department?
Dipak: We use 5S, setup reduction and pull system as a part of lean practices, and failure mode effects analysis (FMEA), process capability and basic design of experiments (DOE) concepts as part of our six sigma implementation.
EVS Metal: What types of systems/software/tools are used in QA?
Dipak: We use Waypoint Global software for quality management systems (QMS) documents. For enterprise resource planning (ERP) we use MIE to handle final inspections, customer returns, internal rejections and to keep track of corrective and preventive actions.
EVS Metal: Are there any QA challenges that are specific to fabrication?
Dipak: Yes, there are a number of challenges that are specific to the type of job shop environment. The biggest is that we have 100+ customers, therefore we need to very carefully allocate our QA resources, generally based on the project’s requirements but also on the financial risk associated with the job.
At EVS Metal, we pride ourselves on our exceptional attention to detail for each and every project, which begins and ends with the attention of the dedicated individuals in our quality assurance department. Come back next week for the rest of our interview with Dipak, but for now, if you’d like to find out how our QA team can add value to your manufacturing supply chain, simply request a quote online, or give us a call at (973) 839-4432 today.