Definition Key Process Equipment (KPE) - Some criteria and / or a good definition



I'm looking for some criteria and / or a good definition of Key Process Equipment (KPE) as identified in 4.9.g.1 of the QSR for QS9K. We're trying to come to grips with evaluating tooling wear on KPEs, but the criteria that we established - run 2 shifts, 5 days per week - literally includes every piece of equipment in our plant (last count I think it was 2000 pcs of KPE). Some ideas I'm tossing around are - would it affect shipment to the customer; is there duplication of the process; what is the worst case scenario for mean time to repair. Any other ideas or thoughts on this would be greatly appriciated.


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You're on the right track. Fork trucks are generally duplicated - even so you can typically get a replacement the same day. If you have a pick-and-place, it may be the only one so it better be 'watched' closely.

Also consider bottle necks. If your 'weak link' is prep for the pick-and-place, it may be the prep is more important (or as important) to address.

Do remember there is a limit. You cannot back up every piece of equipment or have 'adequate' spare parts for every piece of equipment. This is similar to how you have to look at contingency plans. How can you plan for a hurricane or tornado or earth quake?

There are some things that you can trade off. There may be no need to keep a spare motor on hand if it can be purchased from Grainger (or other distributor or supplier) in a few hours or a day. If you have 2 mixers that run 10 hours a day, if one goes down the other can handle the volume by running 20 hours a day until the broken one is fixed.

A lot of this is 'common sense' decisions by you.

Laura M

I agree with the "common sense." Where I used to work I had alot of people trying to convince me that Key process equipment was where KEy Product characteristics were manufactured!! I final convinced them that the word KEY didn't automatically link the 2 requirements. We had a 300 ton punch press, and hundreds of smaller ones. The only Key equipment in that department was the 300 ton one. One furnace in die cast, but alot of die cast machines. The furnace was 'key'. (Even then it got debated because we could have bought trucks of molten aluminum.)


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Re: Key Process Equipment (KPE) - Some criteria and / or a good definition for TS

Is this still how you define Key Process Equipment or has a guidance emerged from the deepest darkest ISO cellar?

I ask because I am currently looking at a question that I am being asked about TS in prep for some training:

Does all equipment have to be included in the preventative maintenance plan? If not what can be left out

The standard, in clause, does just state KPE (Key Process Equipment) should be included.

So far my answer is that KPE should be included but no definition of KPE has been provided. Therefore the organisation should consider the following factors when defining what is KPE:

- Time to repair or replace.
- What back ups exist.
- The duplication of the machine and the comparing this with the capacity requirements in terms of whether the other machines could take on the workload successfully.
- Whether this machine is used in a bottleneck operation.
- Whether the machine is used to measure or create significant characteristics.
- The value of the machine, gauge or tool as a piece of capital equipment.


Let me revive this topic.

We've had some short discussion over this same KPE identification in ISO/TS.

For the scheduling process, which is mainly based on a system/software, would you agree to classify the server as a Key Process Equipment?

I personally think it should be and that is why necessary software updates/reviews including hardware maintenance should be in place.

Any other inputs/ideas?

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