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Large part productivity--fueled by Six Sigma

February 9, 1999

2 Min Read
Large part productivity--fueled by Six Sigma

Large part productivity -- fueled by Six Sigma

In December, IMM told you how the Polymer Processing Development Center of GE Plastics is applying Six Sigma methodology to improve the materials and processing of high-precision molded products. Jack Avery, in addition to being a regular speaker at popular tech conferences, like Molding ?99 next month in New Orleans, is the manager of operational assets at GE Plastics. Avery says everything his company does is now based on Six Sigma principles. That includes using Six Sigma to bring exciting new large products to market, faster than ever before.

Avery spoke at a seminar hosted by Van Dorn Demag late last year for those molding parts with shot sizes of more than 100 oz on molding machines 700 tons and larger, like VDD?s twin-platen Caliber series. He stressed that all members of a team concurrently engineering a large part must work together to get maximum performance into the product and maximum productivity out of a system to produce it.

Application of Six Sigma techniques to every aspect of product development helps make the path from art to part a straight one, Avery says. It eliminates defects.

?If something is 99 percent good, that is not good enough. Six Sigma gets you to 99.99966 percent of perfection, allowing only 3.4 mistakes out of a million.? It focuses attention on defining, measuring, analyzing, improving, and controlling those attributes of a product or manufacturing system the customer determines to be critical to quality (CTQ).

CTQ specs can be determined and validated by a number of means, including QFD, DOE, FMEA, customer surveys, and benchmarking. Design for Six Sigma then comes into play, ensuring that CTQ attributes are being met. Then, process control, capability, and sustainability systems are developed to manage any changes.

?The goal is predictive product development and a reduction in the number of steps a team has to go through. We can no longer afford to have any witchcraft or any black magic,? Avery says.

In the most complex interface, GE Plastics and customers may choose to become partners in integrated, customer-focused product development, sharing new product introduction funding and risks. In the PPDC?s Integrated Product Development Center, partnerships between end-use customers, molders, and equipment suppliers are created to validate new technologies and create turnkey manufacturing cells for those customers.

System debugging, development of both manufacturing methods and quality procedures, and training are included in this effort, all of which reduces product launch time, even when the partners are launching very large parts.

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