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SPC software: ready when you are.

SPC software: Ready when you are

Statistical process control software has arrived. Nearly everyone in measurement, control, or software now has an SPC product, either tailored to their proprietary approach, or an association with a software product developed by others. The multitude of programs available to gobble up your measurement data and spit out yards of analytical data boggle the mind. Their level of complexity ranges from simple grocery-tape histograms to multi-modular systems that can flex with your changing requirements right up to full integration with shop-wide CIM. Prices range from a few hundred dollars for a simple floppy disc to hundreds of thousands for a room full of equipment.

Thus, finding the right fit of SPC software to your particular requirements can be as simple or as difficult as you want to make it. The questions are how much quality, and quality reporting, do you really need and which system is the best fit for your organization? It's an important decision that only you can make.

It's not easy. Here are over a dozen offerings to consider. There are hundreds more out there. Good luck!

Size control for lathes

The 763 MGS statistical process system for automatic size control on Cincinnati Milacron turning centers integrates gaging into the manufacturing process to sustain in-tolerance parts and production through-put. Size control is achieved through statistical tool offsets based on historical trend group analysis. Consistent in-tolerance production is maintained. Unlike gages that merely filter out scrap, with 763 there is zero scrap and parts are clustered tightly around the mean of their part-print dimension.

Designed for flexibility, the system can receive data from fixtures for a variety of measurements. In addition to sending signals to activate machine parameters, it displays information on tool and part conditions. Visual indicators show when automatic tool compensation is being made, when tolerances have been exceeded, whether a tool should be indexed or changed, and whether the part is scrap or reworkable.

Flexible reporting

The DataPage family of SPC software packages offer varying degrees of capability, but with a common user interface, report format, and data structure. Users can select the capability they need now, and upgrade later without loss of data or the need to learn a new package.

All products operate on IBM-PC-class computers and are compatible with a wide range of data collectors. The report format (shown above) combines all key statistical charts and evaluations in a single-page, easy-to-read report for use at all levels in an organization. The report combines individual and subgroup statistics (in tabular as well as graphic formats), capability test, runs and trends tests, and tests for distribution uniformity.

DataPage 1, for minimal data manipulation, allows the user to select with a few key strokes the desired part and features to be included in the printed report, previewed on the CTR prior to printing. DataPage 11 adds a wide range of analytical and data-manipulation capabilities, including "what if?" scenarios. Data-Page/RT (for real time) provides automatic, operator-free data collection and evaluation, requiring no operator intervention until a part features goes out of control.

Automation Software Inc, Precision Park, North Kingstown, RI 02852.

Charting flexibility

SPC-PC Version II software now includes routines for X-bar and R charts, X-bar and sigma charts, individuals and moving-range charts, moving average and range charts, histograms and process-capability charts, CuSum charts, multi-variate control charts, p and np charts, c and u charts, scatter plots, and pareto analysis. X-bar, R, and sigma charts can handle subgroups of different sizes, and subgroup size for the X-bar and sigma charts is virtually unlimited. Warning limits do not have to be 3 sigma, but placed anywhere you wish and plotted in a different color.

Multivariate control charts are not simply rectangular, but the true ellipse shape that captures the out-of-control condition, and up to five variables can be handled simultaneously. The histogram and process-capability routine computes a wide variety of descriptive statistics, makes long-term process-yield projections, and computes several capability indexes.

Quality America Inc, 5430 S 12th Ave, Suite C, Tucson, AZ 85706.

Sensor modules

SenScope MS-DOS-compatible SPC software program and input module allows the receiving and analyzing of real-time measurement information from up to 16 sensors/input module. The system continuously compares pre-established parameters to in-process sensor feedback and graphically displays resulting digitized waveforms (not statistics) individually or simultaneously on your screen. It can also shut down the process when limits are exceeded.

Typical applications include weld monitoring, equipment or process monitoring, process development, quality assurance, diagnostics, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Input modules can be cabinet-mounted at the worksite, or located off-site.

Trade Communications Corp, 26923 W Garrett Dr, Agoura, CA 91301.

Tool-control features

The HT-3000s statistical control workstation is a knowledge-based computer system for use in small-lot production, JIT cells, high-volume continuous processing, batch-type processing, precision machining, and grinding. The system makes a variety of decisions, such as rational subgrouping, setting acceptance limits, in-process estimating of capability indexes, and interpreting in-process statistical status of the system. Key knowledge-base elements are statistical logic modules that can generate in-and off-line adaptive sampling plans for variables and attributes, recommending a course of corrective actions, real-data training, and certifying quality of short runs.

Process-recognition and process-control systems are used in parallel with tooling control and time studies. Statistical tooling control measures the effects of single and multi-variables on tool performance, provides tool-life statistics, and predicts time to change roughing and finishing tools.

Operators are no longer forced to rely on their own judgement for data interpretation and problem solving. The knowledge base integrates real-time SPC and SQC into sophisticated statistical control routines that detect problems and bring about necessary adjustments before defective parts are produced.

High Tech Research Inc, 325 Oak Creek Dr, Suite 310, Wheeling, IL 60090.

Multi-gaging sensors

Applied Stats software and sensing system measures and records dimension, temperature, and weight manufacturing variables for control of multiple, relative, and geometric characteristics. Erectable multi-gaging sensors reduce inspection time by collecting up to 20 direct and relative dimensions accurately and repeatably in less than 15 sec.

The software, operating on an Apple Macintosh computer, generates process control charts, histograms, pareto analysis, scatter diagrams, attributes analysis, and gage-repeatability and reproducibility studies. The workstation supports options including mainframe and personal-computer networking and CAD/CAM.

Applied Statistics Inc, 27 Empire Dr, St Paul, MN 55103.

Noncontact measurement

Quality Measurement System (QMS) will measure product variance and mean shift from nominal at line speeds, quantify the variance, and collate the data into SPC reports. QMS software provides the algorithms to process the measurements and produce QC reports from basic SPC charts to advanced analysis.

A noncontact system, QMS has the flexibility to measure areas inaccessible to conventional contact systems. It can gage critical dimensions within typical production cycles, at rates up to 255 measurements in less than 30 sec. The DataCam sensor uses laser or incandescent lighting to measure in one to three dimensions, using traingulation measuring techniques. Sensors can be dedicated and fixtured, robotically manipulated, or hand held for manual inspection. The system is compatible with LAN and MAP networks.

Perceptron Inc, 23855 Research Dr, Farmington Hills, MI 48024.

Expert QC decisions

RS/Decisions software is an expert-system shell integrated with data-analysis and quality-control software. It provides expert-system development tools integrated with QC, graphics, and statistics capabilities and assists in the capture and automation of this expertise, without extensive artificial-intelligence experience. It runs on DEC VAX/VMS, IBM PC, and VM Sun and H-P computers.

Menu-driven utilities help the user build, maintain, and access knowledge bases. RS/Decision software is an option to RS/1 data-management and analysis software that includes statistics and graphics capabilities, and contains its own procedural programming language, RPL. Prices for RS/Decision software range from $2000 for single-user systems up to $30,000 for large systems.

BBN Software Products Corp, 10 Fawcett St, Cambridge, MA 02238.

Automated inputs

AutoTrans SPC software automates the collection, real-time display, and storage of QC data received from up to 32 gages or measuring devices. It is a companion to SPC Express. Data is displayed in X-bar, R, or histogram chart form, with as many as eight process variables viewed at a time on a multi-windowed display. The system can work without operator involvement, and can be networked with multiple IBM PC-type computers. A one-menu interface makes it easy to use, with help screens and term definitions popping up at a single keystroke.

Major Micro Systems Inc, 10003 Hart St, Huntington Woods, MI 48070.

Simple software

Statimate-II SPC software is available for running on IBM-compatible or Tandy Model 102 computers ($395), and networked for information sharing ($495). When networked, an operator can transfer collected data to a supervisor's computer for review or printing, eliminating the need for "data trucks" as used by other SPC systems.

A complete starter network with three remote stations, supervisor station, printer, software, and network cabling is also offered, along with enclosures and hardened computers for harsh environments.

Statimate Systems Inc, 3216 W St Joseph, Lansing, MI 48917.

Hand-held processor

The 740 SPC processor is hand-held and can be linked to electronic gages for analyses and printouts of readings. Priced under $600, it offers histograms, frequency distribution, batch reports, X-bar and R charts. Data may be entered manually or automatically collected from electronic gages such as the 722 caliper, 745 depth gage, and 755 height gage. A footswitch allows hands-free recording of measurements.

Processor can provide sequentially numbered gage readings, up to nine characteristics in subgroup sizes from three to 99, and identifies part, lot and operator numbers. Printer is 2.25" and 16-button keyboard is sealed to resist dust and shop-floor contaminants.

L S Starrett Co, Marketing Dept 8C, Anthol, MA 01331.

Quality management

Phoenix/VX quality management system is VAX-based to reduce quality costs by on-line monitoring and control of multiple applications. It correlates quality information with the process as events are happening, eliminating the delay found in less powerful systems. Configuration is accomplished on-line, enabling users to continually modify the system, accepting new types of data, process data differently, or display data in more meaningful ways.

As a computer aided quality system, it provides acquisition, monitoring, process control, communication, and presentation capabilities in a single, integrated package. It can provide automatic data acquisition and control for 5000 process variables and 1500 discrete variables over four data-highway networks, manual data acquisition and control through up to eight operator terminals, and configurable acquisition and currency. Measurements include: trend plots, scatter plots, pareto charts, histograms, and control charts (X-bar and R, X-bar and S, nP, C) with capability indices (CpK). Several models are available: for the development environment, a midrange model for the VAXstation 2000, and a model for use with the MicroVAX information processor (part of the A-B Pyramid Integrator).

Allen-Bradley Co Inc, 747 Alpha Dr, Cleveland, OH 44143.

Cell controller software

Oscar high-speed SPC software can reduce scrap and improve yield in low and high-volume applications--up to 10,000 units/shift--by pinpointing problems that affect quality, productivity, and profitability. The system includes X-bar and R, P, and C charting; data qualification, frequency-distribution, histograms, limit gaming, ad-hoc reporting, and custom graphics. It runs on DEC Micro VAX and VAX hardware, and works with Modicon, Westinghouse, Allen-Bradley, and GE PLCs. It is modular and easily expandable to include production control, maintenance support, alarming, and other cell-controller modules.

BCR Computing Corp, 8623 N Wayne Rd, Suite 300, Westland, MI 48185.

Inspection network

Sheffnet multi-user, multi-tasking software system controls a wide variety of flexible inspection system functions. The DEC VAX-based system can be applied to everything from a simple stand-alone machine to a complete inspection cell with multiple CMMs, robotics, bar-code readers, and AGV palletized part handling. It is configured by adding, replacing, or deleting modules based on the hardware to be controlled and the functions to be performed.

Layered over the VAX/VMS operating system, the Sheffnet enhancements can provide a remote factory control communications link, real-time SPC, DMIS CAD/CAM interface, and advanced database management.

Sheffield Measurement Div, Warner & Swasey, P O Box 1127, Dayton, OH 45401.

Variable/attribute data

SPC DataLyzerII software package that runs on all standard PC systems allows the integrating of variable and attribute data in real time with capability analysis including EAF or median rank methods and non-normal statistical analysis. Features include: menu-driven simplicity, data entry for 16 characteristics at a time to reduce branching, tutorial diskette training, support for numerous gage-interface devices, and upgradability to Data-LAN networks.

Hardware requirements: 512K RAM; DOS 2.0 + ; CGA, Hercules, or EGA graphics; and two floppy drives or hard-disc storage.

Stephen Computer Services Inc, 34700. Grand River Ave, Farmington, MI 48024.

SPC software update

QA/S Version 3.20 SPC software incorporates over 70 additions and modifications to help users quickly and concisely enter, retrieve, and analyze data and isolate the source of quality problems. Multiple characteristics for the same part can be entered manually or automatically. A new data-acquisition command language, compatible with most gages and sensors, controls part measurement. Real-time control charts are always available. Trend, group, and CuSum charts can be produced, as well as multiple capability charts for any combination of ten characteristics. Up to 12 reject codes can be assigned to each sample, and an operating-characteristic, curve-generating program assists users in determining optimum sampling size. Demonstration discs are available.

Paul Hertzler & Co Inc, P O Box 578, Goshen, IN 46526.

SPC marries DNC

Dataputer protable and fixed SPC devices are part of a standard shop-tools line that includes tool control, CAD/CAM, job estimating, scheduling, machine monitoring, and part-program control. The SPC software runs in the foreground of a multi-tasking DNC host computer while DNC uploads and downloads run untended in the background. This combination allows users to plug virtually any electronic measuring device into a portable or fixed SPC data collector.

Dataputer collection devices connect to the DNC terminal to receive specific SPC part-structure data for computing charts and reports, and workpiece dimensional data is transmitted back to the CNC host for further analysis and reporting. Quality trends appear instantly on the SPC display, and machine-tool operators can concentrate on producing parts, not collecting or calculating data.

Remex Div, Seymour Electronics & Automation Inc, 1335 S Acacia, P O Box 34034, Fullerton, CA 92634-9434.

Other products:


roughness tester

Electronic roughness tester provides Ra, Rz, Rt, and Rm roughness parameters from a single measurement on an LCD display. Surface parameters, cutoff, and stroke length are easily programmable. Measuring range is 2 to 1400 microinches (0.05 to 35.00 microns. Stroke lengths are 1.5 mm (0.06"), 4.8 mm (0.20"), and 15 mm (0.60"), and tracing speed is 1 mm/sec. Drive unit and tracer work on flat or round surfaces, holes, grooves, and in any position, including mounted on machinery. A 1 3/4"-wide printer, recorder, calibration standard, and battery charger are included.

Fred V Fowler Co Inc, Dept L, 66 Rowe St, P O Box 299, Newton, MA 02166.

Inspection center

IOTA Series II bridge-type CMMs provide B89.1.12M volumetric accuracies to 9 microns (0.000 36"), and link their precision inspection and measurement information with manufacturing information. Control can be either fully automatic or via precision micro-motion handwheel. Five-way measuring head provides deep-reach capability, pre-loaded air bearings ensure smooth, precise movement with maximum stiffness. Base and worktable are granite. Software automatically compensates for 21 machine-error parameters, as well as probe length and attitude.

Digital Electronic Automation Inc, 37100 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI 48150.

Versatile CMM

Performance-enhanced MC 850 CMM permits faster inspections at a fully equipped CNC system price of less than $150,000, including a vector-driven microprocessor controller, HP-9000 computer, and probe changer. The unit's high accuracy assures a B89.1.12 working tolerance of 0.000 24" for a 16-in ball bar. Repeatability of the magnetic probe mount of 0.000 040" eliminates the need to recalibrate at each cluster change. Software simplifies tasks of verifying production-line tooling, digitizing prototype parts, or inspecting finished components.

Carl Zeiss Inc, One Zeiss Dr, Thornwood, NY 10594.



A 52-page MI handbook covering a line of metrology instruments for measuring surface texture, linear profiling, radial, and dimensional measurement is offered free. Standard terminology is explained, along with applications, specifications, and benefits of a variety of profilometer analyzing and recording systems.

Sheffield Measurements, P O Box 57, Dublin, OH 43017-9990.

Books on quality:

Weld inspection--visual Guide for the Visual Inspection of Welds (ANSI/AWS B1.11-88) stresses the use of the eye as the first means to detect weld imperfections. Prepared by an American Welding Society committee, the publication is an American National Standard. This how-to guide defines the need for visual inspection before welding (drawings, preheats, joint setup, etc), during welding (root-bead quality, passes, etc), and after welding (discontinuities, accuracy post-weld treatment, etc). Color photographs depict porosity, cracking, incomplete fusion, undercut, under-fill, overlap, laminations, slag inclusions, convexity, and spatter.

The 30-page guide, with 46 illustrations, is $20 ($15 for AWS members) from Order Dept, American Welding Society, 550 NW LeJeune Rd, P O Box 351040, Miami, FL 33135.

Japan's quality edge

Since 80 percent of Japanese operations are the same as those here, the issue is how different that remaining 20 percent can be and what implication these differences have for American companies. "To investigate this 20 percent is to know what makes Japanese companies tick," says David J Lu, author, translator, editor, and professor of Japanese studies, Bucknell University.

For his latest book, Inside Corporate Japan: The Art of Fumble-Free Management, Lu visited 79 Japanese companies over an 8-yr study period. Not just about management practices, it is a book about people--from presidents to line workers, and how their attitudes affect quality and competitiveness. It examines regional differences in Japan, the effect of corporate cultures on labor peace, organizing for greater productivity, and successful American companies in Japan.

Price is $24.50 from Productivity Press, P O Box 814, Cambridge, MA 02238.

Hardness testing

Hardness theory, test methods, and applications are covered in a 200-page book. Includes coverage of Brinell, Rockwell, Vickers, micro-hardness, scleroscope, ultrasonic, scratch, file, and eddy-current testing methods. Applications include testing of homogeneous and nonhomogeneous materials, ferrous and nonferrous alloys, and nonmetallics, and how to chose the optimum hardness test for a given situation.

Hardness Testing is $62 ($49.50 for ASM members) from ASM International, Metals Park, OH 44073.

Taguchi techniques

Focusing on the QC methods of Japanese engineer Genichi Taguchi, which are rapidly winning world-wide recognition, Taguchi Techniques for Quality Engineering, by Phillip J Ross features comprehensive coverage of his off-line quality control--improving quality in the product and process-development stage. Written for those with minimal statistical backgrounds, it uses simple terminology and standard algebra (no calculus) to explain Taguchi techniques: analytical weapons to slash development time and cost, justify on-going product design testing and improvement, and establish more precise nominal and tolerance values.

Book is 279 pp and $39.95 from McGraw-Hill Book Co, 11 West 19th St, New York, NY 10011 or call 1-800-2-MCGRAW.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:statistical process control
Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jun 1, 1989
Previous Article:Computer-assisted fab shop management.
Next Article:CNC turret punch enhances competitiveness of mid-sized manufacturer.

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