Starting from scratch - a plethora of challenges for a new Lumber Mill Machine Shop

#1
This will be by first post among many I'm sure. I've been in the manufacturing trades for over 40 years. Automotive R&D for 30 years, Aerospace for 10 years, and now I'm in the lumber industry setting up a Quality System for a ground-floor CNC Machine shop that will provide replacement parts to said lumber mill company and all of its divisions. Needless to say, it's a daunting endeavor and I feel that I may be over my head at times.

The management here has not given me any guidelines, other than, "get it done," which is a bit of a foreign concept to me having come out of two previously heavily-regulated industries. So far, I don't see the need for us to be ISO 9001 certified, since (at least for now) we are only providing parts to internal customers. However, the owner's long-term vision for us will be to eventually be an OEM supplier to other lumber companies.

Right now, I have two questions, one vague, and one specific:

1) I'm trying to set up a QMS from scratch. The lumber company itself has quality standards for the end product, however, I can't find anything to suggest that the machines that I'm supplying parts for are controlled. That leaves me with setting up the QA/QC policies. Up to this point, I've not met anyone that has any experience in the QA/QC side of things until myself. So, I'm reaching out for assistance and suggestions on how to get started.

2) The discussion came up yesterday regarding First Article Inspections, and the requirements and frequency of them. In my experience with AS9100/9102, a FAI was performed on the first part of a new design, program change, fixture change, etc. After that PCD's were used to control the manufacturing process until another even happened that would require another FAI, or Delta FAI. The debate happened when the shop floor supervisor said that he was under the impression that a FAI was required on EVERY production run. When I tried to explain that there is no reason to do a full FAI, and just use the PCD's, he had to agree-to-disagree. Ultimately I believe I can resolve this with an in-process inspection form that goes with every job/part once a "real" FAI has been accomplished. My question to you : Are there different FAI requirements that I'm not aware of? Are FAI requirements only related to AS9100?

Thank-you in advance for your assistance.
 

Al Rosen

Staff member
Super Moderator
#2
What is "PCD"?

I believe the shop floor supervisor is referring to a first piece inspection to verify the setup of the machine prior to running the job.
 
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Eredhel

Quality Manager
Trusted
#3
I think you're thought process is on the right track, but remember that the standards, even AS9100, don't necessarily get that specific. A lot is left up to the organization to decide on how they want to fulfill things. I say that because you don't want to build for the standard but rather build for the context of your organization. Yes you can trim fat, but find out what the organization is and needs first.

I know shops that require a full first part inspection at every shift change, no matter what. Well that makes for a lot of machinists standing around waiting on the 1 inspector you might have to get to them. We only use the AS9102 first articles when the customer requires them (AS9100 doesn't require the forms specifically btw). Those forms just add way too much cost, especially time, for normal day to day use. We still check and document every dimension but we use our own inspection forms that include header information, 100% dimensional documentation, outside process checks, and sample verification. We even require it for each work order we run, but only once. So if they're running 1,000 parts over a week they only have to wait on a first article one time, regardless of shift changes. But we also do random in process inspections all day every day and each time one is done it gets documented on the work order's inspection form, not re-writing every dimension just hash marks for a sample being done. So our sample gets met and the majority of issues are caught in process. Although if most of the jobs we ran were low quantities we'd probably have to adjust that.

I'm only saying all that to give you some examples, there are a lot of ways to get things done. But I would start by getting with top management and getting more specific on what the organization is trying to do. There are a lot of standard practices you can implement but who knows maybe as an organization you need to bulk up more than is actually necessary here and there.
 
#4
What is "PCD"?
I believe the shop floor supervisor is referring to a first piece inspection to verify the setup of the machine prior to running the job.
Hello Al, a "PCD" is a Process Control Dimension. I view these dimensions as things that need to be checked on every part--things that can be affected by tooling changes, setup changes, etc. An example would be wall thicknesses, hole diameters/depths, etc. The PCD's can number from a few, to many depending on the complexity of the program and number of setup operations.
 
#5
I think you're thought process is on the right track, but remember that the standards, even AS9100, don't necessarily get that specific. A lot is left up to the organization to decide on how they want to fulfill things. I say that because you don't want to build for the standard but rather build for the context of your organization. Yes you can trim fat, but find out what the organization is and needs first.

I know shops that require a full first part inspection at every shift change, no matter what. Well that makes for a lot of machinists standing around waiting on the 1 inspector you might have to get to them. We only use the AS9102 first articles when the customer requires them (AS9100 doesn't require the forms specifically btw). Those forms just add way too much cost, especially time, for normal day to day use. We still check and document every dimension but we use our own inspection forms that include header information, 100% dimensional documentation, outside process checks, and sample verification. We even require it for each work order we run, but only once. So if they're running 1,000 parts over a week they only have to wait on a first article one time, regardless of shift changes. But we also do random in process inspections all day every day and each time one is done it gets documented on the work order's inspection form, not re-writing every dimension just hash marks for a sample being done. So our sample gets met and the majority of issues are caught in process. Although if most of the jobs we ran were low quantities we'd probably have to adjust that.

I'm only saying all that to give you some examples, there are a lot of ways to get things done. But I would start by getting with top management and getting more specific on what the organization is trying to do. There are a lot of standard practices you can implement but who knows maybe as an organization you need to bulk up more than is actually necessary here and there.
Thanks for the input Eredhel, I was able to find a Quality Manager of one of the mills that we service as an internal customer. I'm hoping that he can provide me some of that information that I seek.

As for the AS9102 forms, I know what you mean in that they can create a lot of unnecessary expense, just due to the redundancy of some of the documentation. I think I can achieve that with a simplified version of the form that I applied to the aerospace company that I previously worked at. The production run quantities that we are going to be running are closer to 1-5 pcs, with the occasional 40-50 part run for some close-tolerance parts.

This is all good advice. Thanks
 

Eredhel

Quality Manager
Trusted
#8
Gotcha, so close tolerances on low quantity runs. I was just getting my head around it more in case other questions came up that I wanted to give feedback on.
 

Cari Spears

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
The management here has not given me any guidelines, other than, "get it done," which is a bit of a foreign concept to me having come out of two previously heavily-regulated industries. So far, I don't see the need for us to be ISO 9001 certified, since (at least for now) we are only providing parts to internal customers. However, the owner's long-term vision for us will be to eventually be an OEM supplier to other lumber companies.

2) The discussion came up yesterday regarding First Article Inspections, and the requirements and frequency of them. In my experience with AS9100/9102, a FAI was performed on the first part of a new design, program change, fixture change, etc. After that PCD's were used to control the manufacturing process until another even happened that would require another FAI, or Delta FAI. The debate happened when the shop floor supervisor said that he was under the impression that a FAI was required on EVERY production run. When I tried to explain that there is no reason to do a full FAI, and just use the PCD's, he had to agree-to-disagree. Ultimately I believe I can resolve this with an in-process inspection form that goes with every job/part once a "real" FAI has been accomplished. My question to you : Are there different FAI requirements that I'm not aware of? Are FAI requirements only related to AS9100?
Hi, jj.

I'm confused about why a supplier of replacement parts to a lumber mill would have to comply with aerospace FAI? I'm thinking the same as Al - is someone saying FAI when they mean FPA (First Piece Approval)?
 

Eredhel

Quality Manager
Trusted
#10
Btw that's a great point. Where I currently work everyone says FAI when they're talking about FPI (first part inspections). Can definitely lead to some communication issues.
 


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