Achieving Aerospace Manufacturing EfficienciesFeb 23, 2022
Successful aerospace manufacturing is all about achieving and perpetuating efficiencies throughout your entire system. Through our many years of practical experience in manufacturing aerospace components, we have identified and incorporated systems and practices that help us maintain world-class OTDs (On-Time Deliveries) and PPMs (Parts Per Millions -statistical process for evaluating scrap rate). There are many things that go into successfully maintaining these critical metrics. For your review and evaluation, we have identified several of our practices, that are incorporated the Intrex culture.
Also known as lean production, lean manufacturing is a system of techniques and activities for running a manufacturing or service operation. The techniques and activities may differ according to the application, but they have the same underlying principle: the elimination of all non-value-adding activities and waste from the business. The lean enterprise extends through the entire value stream.
Lean has an extensive collection of tools and concepts. The most common lean manufacturing concepts utilized by Intrex Aerospace are:
Organize the work area:
- Sort: eliminate that which is not needed
- Straighten: organize remaining items
- Shine: clean and inspect work area
- Standardize: write standards for above
- Sustain: regularly apply the standards
5S eliminates waste that results from a poorly organized work area (e.g., wasting time looking for a tool).
Kaizen (Continuous Improvement)
Kaizen is a strategy where employees work together proactively to achieve regular, incremental improvements in the manufacturing process.
It combines the collective talents of a company to create an engine for continually eliminating waste from manufacturing processes.
Kanban (Pull System)
Kanban is a method of regulating the flow of goods both within the factory and with outside suppliers and customers.
Kanban eliminates waste from inventory and overproduction. It can eliminate the need for physical inventories, instead, relying on signal cards to indicate when more goods need to be ordered.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are metrics designed to track and encourage progress towards critical goals of the organization. Strongly promoted KPIs can be extremely powerful drivers of behavior – so it is important to carefully select KPIs that will drive desired behavior.
The best manufacturing KPIs:
- Are aligned with top-level strategic goals (thus helping to achieve those goals)
- Are effective at exposing and quantifying waste (OEE is a good example)
- Are readily influenced by plant floor employees (so they can drive results)
Value Stream Mapping
Value Stream Mapping is a tool used to visually map the flow of production.
- It shows the current and future state of processes in a way that highlights opportunities for improvement.
- It exposes waste in the current processes and provides a roadmap for improvement through the future state.
Six Sigma is one of the most reliable processes used to achieve the goals of controlling quality and costs. By modeling statistically our manufacturing processes we can:
- identify where defects occur
- develop target plans to improve these failure points
- Our ultimate goal is to control our process to achieve zero defects
- This is then combined with our Lean process flow
- The results and advantages for an aerospace manufacturer can be exceptional.
The key to successful Six Sigma implementation is having both appropriate data and the personnel who know how to use it. Quality control tools are essential in this process, as the statistical measures used in Six Sigma rely on accurate measurements. In aerospace manufacturing where many of our manufacturing orders are high-mix, low-volume. This may make it difficult to create a significant sample, and quality standards can be stringent. Look for an aerospace manufacturer experienced at using statistical process controls (SPC), as they are more likely to develop a reliable sample and achieve greater results from their Six Sigma initiatives.
At Intrex Aerospace, we have Six Sigma training throughout our entire operation. We have continuing plant site Six Sigma exercises. We have Black Belt members on our staff.
First Article Inspection (FAI)
Almost all of our initial part production requires an FAI. A first article inspection occurs when an authorized person — typically the supplier or a second-party inspector with a laboratory and specialized measuring equipment — takes one or several parts from the first production run. They then compare them to the client specifications to verify they match exactly. The purchase order usually contains that data, so it is the main reference point during the inspection. This ensures the manufacturer is capable of producing and measuring the manufactured component.
Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)
PPAP is a defined approval process used primarily in automotive and aerospace for new parts. The PPAP manual contains detailed information, guidelines, and sample documents useful for completing the process requirements.
- The resulting PPAP submission provides evidence that the supplier has met or exceeded the customer’s requirements and the process is capable of consistently reproducing quality parts.
- The PPAP process verifies that the supplier understands all customer engineering design specifications/requirements and that the process is capable of consistently producing products to meet those requirements during an actual production run at the quoted production rate.
We hope this article was helpful in helping you better understand some of the terms that are commonly used in the aerospace/space/defense supply chain world, and better informs you as to the philosophies and practices that drive our production. It is the manufacturing world Intrex lives and prospers in. To find out more about the advantages of making us your contract aerospace manufacturer, contact Intrex Aerospace today.