Casting a Quality System
MGH GussTec GmbH & Co. KG is based in Baden-Wuerttemberg and produces cast parts for land and water vehicles. From cars and utility vehicles to trains for Deutsche Bahn and ships – all these types of vehicle contain parts manufactured by MGH GussTec. Sophisticated sand and chill casting techniques are used to manufacture components for radiators, oil sumps or ready-to-install intercoolers.
The diversity of the products manufactured is matched by the diversity of services that the company offers. MGH GussTec provides the full spectrum from product development to manufacture. From layout draft to production part – if desired the parts can be designed and produced in the one company.
MGH GussTec is certified according to all relevant standards in their line of work. It goes without saying, that fulfilling the ISO/TS 16949, DIN EN ISO 9001 and DIN EN ISO 14001 standards is a self-evident matter for the employees at the Hirrlingen based company – they fulfil them with conviction and not just merely out of requirement. The strict manufacturer related product specifications of Deutsche Bahn could, most likely, not be fulfilled otherwise.
Consistent CAQ: From Development to Serial Production
In order to be able to ensure continuous quality improvement in all day-to-day processes, MGH GussTec lay its trust in the consultation and systems of CAQ AG Factory Systems in Rheinboellen. The modular structure of the fully integrated management system for quality development means that it can be easily introduced in three consecutive, prescheduled phases. Step by step the isolated and manually maintained applications of the past were replaced with one consistent CAQ system.
Step-by-Step Expansion in Three Phases
In the first year, MGH GussTec installed the modules for process management (Process.Net), quality related document management (QBD.Net), and initial sample testing (EMP.Net). Integrating the CAQ system into the existing ERP system was a prerequisite from day one. Mr Dietmar Heinz, the head of quality at MGH GussTec, was full of praise for the manner in which the integration was effected: "The CAQ system was rapidly integrated into our existing ERP system. It took only two hours until the desired data was completely exchanged and the combined system was up and running".
After the processes had all been reproduced in Process.Net and the employees had become familiar with the installed modules, the next expansion phase was able to be realized the following year. The modules for FMEA (Risk.Net), audit management (QAM.Net) and gauge management (PMM.Net) were now added to the system. This second tranche was further supplemented with QDrive.Net, CAQ AG’s central quality control module. In conjunction with Process.Net, this meant that the overall efficiency of the product development process could be maximized – just as automotive customers expect it to be.
The third phase was executed one year later. The installation was completed by adding Compact.Net, CAQ AG’s module for production accompanying quality planning, inspection, and evaluation. The JobControl.Net module was also added to support the quality management officer in his everyday administrative tasks. This program for central action / escalation management and status monitoring automatically and continuously observes the information level and completion status of process violations. It also observes the status of automatically initiated or manually delegated actions, complaint and service cases, as well as any other type of predefined entity.
Unfinished and pending jobs can no longer disappear within the day-to-day business, as all persons responsible are reminded of jobs on a regular basis. It is even possible to specify that in certain, highly critical cases, the superior should be notified via e-mail if mails sent to a subordinate remain unanswered.
100 Initial Samples per Year – Virtually Paper-Free
The exceedingly shorter product life cycles nowadays mean that the proportion of new products in the portfolio of a company increases rapidly – especially in the case of highly innovative companies such as MGH GussTec. Here an average of 100 initial sample tests with approximately 200 characteristics each are conducted annually. In order to be able to ensure a maximum degree of quality in this process and keep the personnel requirements low at the same time, it was important that the tools used are as effective and efficient as possible. Mr Heinz is convinced that he made an excellent choice with EMP.Net.
"EMP.Net allows us to read the relevant data for the control plan directly from the original CAD drawings our customers supply us with. We then only need to coordinate the default value to be used for the DXF format once with our customers, and can then both profit from smooth data exchanges. We can now apply stamps directly in the CAD drawing, whereas we used to have to do so manually on paper or separately in an MS Word File". Apart from DXF, the standard format for CAD, EMP.Net also supports the formats DWG and IGES. Being able to transfer all relevant characteristics data and specifications directly from the electronic customer data also ensures referential integrity –meaning that the risk of possible transcription errors is eliminated.
These are not the only automatic data exchange functions. As many of the measurements that are conducted within the framework of initial sample tests are made via automatic measuring machines, the records that are generated can be automatically and seamlessly integrated into the inspection documentation of the CAQ system. For this purpose, CAQ AG offers a variety of ready-to-use protocols for the majority of automatic measurement system suppliers on the market. This means that a manpower consuming adjustment of interfaces becomes unnecessary – as is also the case with the integration of CAQ and ERP system.
After inspections have been conducted, the initial sample test report for the customer can be generated directly in the system and be sent conveniently and quickly as e-mailed PDF document. Report forms in accordance with DIN EN ISO 9000, PPAP, VDA, ISO/TS 16949 or HACCP are all available in the system. If these do not suffice, customers can design their own report forms or use the VDA’s QDX exchange format for OEM supplier portals.
More than one report is generally required until a product actually receives final approval for serial production. This is why EMP.Net records the entire history of all sample stages and thereby facilitates rapid and expressive reporting in accordance with customer and standard requirements.
Consistency Par Excellence
The initial sample report generally stands at the beginning of a product life cycle and is just a small part of the whole CAQ system. Only after the customer has approved the report and an approved control or production control plan is available in Process.Net, can the article actually be approved for serial production. With the click of a button, the production accompanying inspection plans can be generated from the electronic documents available. The characteristics that need to be inspected can then be selected, and the CAQ system will automatically provide the appropriate drawing sections that are required for the inspection. Copying, enlarging or manually cropping drawings is no longer necessary. Each and every inspector will automatically receive precisely the information he requires at the relevant inspection site and time he needs it.
The gauge management module PMM.Net thereby ensures that only designated gauges are used for inspections. If necessary, the gauge capability according to MSA 1-6 or VDA 5 can also be proven via PMM.Net. Of course, the persons responsible will automatically be reminded of calibrations that are due and can document said inspections directly in the software module. It is also no problem to consider additional process characteristics in the serial inspection, which go beyond those implemented in the initial sample. “Some of our customers wish to be provided with running spectral analysis information of the ovens that the products pass through during the manufacturing process. Said data is automatically transferred to the relevant inspection order. This ensures complete, uninterrupted documentation”. All quality related data of an article is collected in a single, central database and can be accessed with just one click. This allows the persons responsible for quality management to be able to comprehensively answer any quality related question in next to no time.
System-wide Consistency with QDrive.Net
What applies to the consolidation of product data also applies to process data. All modules of the CAQ system operate via one shared database. This means that reciprocal interdependencies between processes can be recognized, checked, and organized automatically. Processed complaints can, for example, have a direct effect on an FMEA. This effect is then considered in the control plan and automatically leads to an adjustment of the inspection plan. Consistently keeping an eye on all process changes manually would be extremely strenuous. Using the CAQ AG module QDrive.Net in conjunction with the other modules of the CAQ system, however, not only simplifies these aspects and considerably decreases processing times, but also increases transparency and, hence, vastly improves internal procedures. This in turn ensures that all available knowledge is used as efficiently as possible.
Service Close to the Customer
"I’ve been working with the CAQ system for quite some time now and regularly attend the various user workshops in Rheinboellen. It’s a bit like a family reunion every time". Mr Heinz is delighted by the close ties that CAQ AG keeps with its customers. During the module-specific user workshops, the customers find out about all the latest developments of the individual modules and, in the true spirit of ‘best practice’, get a chance to exchange their individual application experiences. The programmers get to learn about the requirements of their customers first hand and the customers find out what innovative functions the individual software modules have to offer. Mr Heinz is confident that he’ll be travelling to Rheinboellen many times in the future, in order to maintain the excellent ties with CAQ AG and the other users.