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The Cost of A Misidentified Part | Trinity Precision

December 6, 2019
Wichita Aerospace Parts Manufacturer Technology And Process

Assess and Improve

At Trinity Precision, we pride ourselves on maintaining strong relationships with our customers. In much the same way that we rely on our network of trusted partners to help keep our business running smoothly, we strive to provide that same peace-of-mind to the companies that buy our products. One of the ways we try to accomplish this is through periodic critical assessments of our manufacturing procedures. If we find that any step of the manufacturing process - from planning and machining to inspection and packaging - needs improvement, we focus our efforts on correcting and enhancing it.

Wichita Aerospace Parts Manufacturer Planning And Quality

Assessing the Cost

During one of our recent assessments, our Planning and Quality teams identified part inspection as a process in need of an overhaul. They realized that some of the parts we manufacture for different customers could look similar or, in some cases, identical. At the time, our part inspection process required a dedicated inspector to use hand-held equipment to visually evaluate each part. That process came with a high potential for error. Often key features could either be misidentified or inaccurately measured, causing parts to be misidentified. After further investigation, we determined that part misidentification is one of the most significant quality drivers in our industry.

Just one misidentified part can have many far-reaching consequences that come at a steep cost for us and our customers.

  • Money – We determined that the monetary cost is an average of $3500 per occurrence but could be significantly more depending on where in the process the error gets caught.
  • Time – Misidentifying a part not only takes away from our valuable production time but causes our customers to lose time waiting on the right parts.
  • Trust – Identification errors erode the hard-earned trust our customers have in us.
  • Reputation – We rely on maintaining a solid reputation with our current customers to attract new ones. Consistent errors cause irreparable damage to our reputation.
  • Safety – By far, the most serious cost. The safety of our customers and their customers is our top priority. Marking parts correctly is just one of the ways we keep safety front and center.

Wichita Aerospace Parts Manufacturer Solutions

An Innovative Solution

With that in mind, we partnered first with Rye Design LLC, then with Akeratos LLC to create an automated solution that drastically reduced the potential for human error in the parts identification process. We developed a Vision system that uses a camera and computer software to inspect and identify each part. Parts are programmed in the Vision system to identify key features that make each part unique. Programming the parts in our Vision system begins by capturing a clear picture of each part, which takes into consideration the best possible orientation and lighting conditions. 

Once the picture is taken, the software is programmed to recognize unique features that allow the differentiation of part configurations.  These unique features can include area widths, hole locations, hole sizes, or other features. After the program is written parts are tested using the software to determine if the unique features on the part match what the software knows is a good part. The operator receives a “GOOD” or “BAD” indication from the machine, which quickly tells the operator if the part is the correct configuration.

“The magic of the Trinity Precision team is not just in their creative approach to one of the industry’s biggest problems, but also the persistence they show in pursuing excellence and process improvement,” said Trinity president, David May. “This project required us to invest over $65,000.00 in technology, overcome some significant data systems integration issues, and lead to us forming a company for an automation engineer.”

Investing In Our Future

We’re always looking for ways to improve our company through technology, process improvements, best practices, and many more. To do this, we attend as many industry events and trade shows as we can.

“The vision system is an excellent example of why we believe it is so important to invest in time at trade shows,” May said. “It is at one of these shows that Trinity’s co-founder/Vice President of Operations, Chris VanNover, got the initial idea for the vision system. Getting out and seeing new technology and ideas, sparks ideas that we can further mature and develop.”

In our commitment to innovation and improved efficiency, we will continue to seek out solutions that elevate our workforce. Through the collaborative efforts of our teams, and with invaluable assistance from Akeratos, our People identified one of the biggest issues plaguing our industry, developed our Vision system to drastically improve the Process of part identification, and live up to our Principle of maintaining a trust-filled partnership with our customers.

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