C10 Application of quality control and quality assurance

Posted: October 7, 2010 in CORE

Initial knowledge 1

Current working level 2.5

In design and business there is a great emphasis based on quality control and quality assurance. In forthcoming projects I must ensure that the products I am producing match the design brief I have set myself and ensure that what I am offering is consistent and reliable. I must be able to reach and meet the goals I am setting myself in order to meet such things as health and safety requirements, and to ensure that the products I am delivering are of a professional manner and I would be proud to present them to any business, school or customer if needed. This will require planning and testing if necessary and acting on any results of the tests I have made. Each stage of the process should be recorded and improved upon if necessary. Flow charts should be produced to avoid any missing stages and I need to make sure that I am working economically and I am working with the correct tools and materials, points of which will be vital when in schools next year, so good evidence of research is required.

However, rather than just saying that I have met my targets, I need to demonstrate that my products are able to satisfy their promise.  Rather than just producing good designs, I must aim to produce quality products also, this is the basis for quality assurance. Realistically if I am implementing quality assurance, I should be making improvements to the usability and performance of my products, whilst reducing the risk of any defects. This can be ongoing throughout the design process and improved upon through the use of various media including models. When manufacturing my plate rack unfortunately the aluminium I was using only came with a protective layer on one side.  When I was clamping the sheet metal to bend it, it led to having a lot of abrasions on the surface.  I wanted the final product to have no scratches on hand in and so decided that I would re-make the shell but mask one side of it in order to protect it.  I maybe could have buffed out the scratches but my displeasure with the first piece was compounded when my first attempt at drilling the holes for the rivets went slightly wayward also.  I was not happy with this either so implemented quality assurance to get a better result.

scratched aluminium

masked, clamped aluminium

uneven rivets

The new aluminium shell left

In the final picture I had reverted to using only 3 rivets as they were secure and gave the plate rack a more minimalist look.

On completion or semi completion of the final products in my case I wish I had read my first statement of this section thoroughly during the manufacturing process.  I detailed exactly what I should and shouldn’t do and what I needed to show so that it was apparent that quality control and quality assurance had taken place.  Unfortunately in both ED216 and 7 I think I failed to deliver fully on both pieces.  Although I did utilise quality control and assurance on  Bhav’s project I failed to do competently on Deans.  In admission I was unlucky with Bhavs as after spending a lot of time making sure the project was up to scratch I managed to break one of the sides attached onto the plate support whilst cleaning it the Sunday before hand in.  Although it was an accident it maybe illustrated that if the project was to be marketed then this could be an initial downfall of the design.  Had I chosen to test this sooner I could maybe have avoided the accident and used metal hinges screwed on rather than acrylic ones which were glued and saved time in having to try to quickly re-do it and submit a substandard finished product that had little to no quality control or assurance.

This almost had a Domino effect on Deans as I was trying to quickly re-create Bhavs and in turn neglected finishing off Deans light before the final deadline.  One of the problems I had with Deans was the original leds I had ordered.  When I wired them up to my circuit they simply didn’t look bright enough.

I had only ordered them after New Year and by the time I realised the problem it was too late to change my whole design to accommodate many more leds and I had to make do with sourcing some even brighter lights that would fit the 3 led format.  Had I applied quality control and assurance earlier on in the project this simply would not have been a factor and I could have sourced the necessary leds and altered the design to accommodate them.

One thing I failed to mention in my initial statement to this segment is  that time is of huge importance when wanting to analyse and improve certain aspects to an initial design.  The sooner the problems are noticed the sooner they can be fixed and allow time for further improvements if necessary.  I am disappointed with myself for not implementing this sooner and I led only to my own downfall really.

In reflection had I reverted back to reading this audit whilst designing and manufacturing  I would not be in the position I was in on the final day before hand in which is fighting a losing battle with a feel of dread I never want to experience again!  I was unlucky in certain aspects but with proper application of  quality control and assurance luck would have had nothing to do with it.  If anything writing this has brought  to my attention the importance of reverting back to this audit  in order to approach projects in the proper ways to achieve the high standards I do set myself. I will certainly learn from the mistakes I have made, and although I appreciate there is an aspect of this being a learning curve the problems I encountered were through my own failure to apply the quality control necessary earlier enough in the process to achieve the standard I want to, in the allocated time.  All in all I can look to the next 2 projects with my eyes wide open as to where I need to improve and only strive to achieve the best and this time practise what I preach!!

nearly the finished article just before 'snapgate'

In Ed320 the functionality of my design was based around the stability of the chair and desk frame.  Having researched different joining techniques and appropriate materials I decided upon using mortise and tenon joints.  This was unfamiliar territory and so before producing the frame I made sure I was well practiced in their application.  I produced a number of prototypes both hand and machine made until I felt confident I could apply them confidently when producing my frame.
Once I was confident in the production of the joints I needed to ensure that they were going to be stable enough to support my weight so I put together  a small frame using the practice joints to indeed see if they were strong enough, by applying this practice at the earliest opportunity I was able to see that my design would function and now felt confident that I would be able to apply quality construction to my final product.  In reality there were a couple of joints that I simply was not happy with and so before clamping and gluing my frame these were replaced in order to obtain the most stable result possible.  The timber and joints that were not used did not go to waste as I was able to use them when practicing using the hand and table router and again was able to gain an understanding of the nature of the machines in order to produce quality results when producing my final piece.  Had I not applied this quality control, then I feel I ran the risk of producing substandard results.  As it was I ensured that the joints were all produced by hand and was able to tweak them slightly to maximise their success.  By dry clamping the frame before gluing it I could see which joints needed slightly altering and was able to manipulate them to produce what turned out to be a solid unit.

dry fitting the frame to get rid of any gaps

testing the joints


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