High costs and reputation damages from production deficiencies can be effectively avoided. Measures such as batch tracking and process monitoring protect against third-party claims.
The combination of preventive measures as well as the documentation and regular analysis of production data helps producing companies protect themselves against product liability claims. This is the fourth of the six golden rules, the software provider CSP GmbH & Co. KG has defined for quality assurance measures in the manufacturing industry. According to statistics in the automotive area, for example, the causes for product recalls stem approximately to 75 percent from vehicle mechanics. Only a small part is due to electronic deficiencies. The associated high costs for product liability as well as negative reputation can be effectively avoided when appropriate quality assurance precautions are already effective during the production process.
The path of individual components in the production process can be traced at any time through batch or component ID tracking. Both, products and main components in which complete batches or individual components were used in production can be identified with batch/component ID tracking. For example, batch/component ID tracking recognises by means of ID numbers in which vehicles certain brakes were installed – and this with a simple push of a button. Even typical bulk materials, such as screws, can be very easily traced with batch tracking. The affected products can be quickly identified.
Monitoring of the production process is another building block for the protection of product liability damages. If specific limit values are set up for certain processing steps such as screw joints, an alarm is triggered immediately if the value is exceeded. The faulty components can be immediately corrected or removed from the process chain. Even if a product is incomplete or faulty from the perspective of process data when arriving at the end of the production line, the responsible persons are notified and the part can be examined.
Process data management
The continuous analysis of the collected measured process data from the production process supports the detection of trends and tendencies. Even if certain processes produce measuring results within the scope of the threshold values, a negative trend may become apparent. For example, based on the process data early corrective intervention in the production process is made possible. Tools or settings possibly require adjustment. All this can be taken care off before real production deficiencies even develop.
If the responsible employees at work stations are exactly directed through worker guidance and guided step by step through the process by means of computer visualisation, the risk of human errors in this production section drops. Additional precautions according to the “zero-error principle” can be integrated here. The use of a specific tool or the alignment to a certain position, for example, can be forced or certain processes can only be performed after another step was already concluded and acknowledged.
Documentation and archive
With all these measures it is particularly important that the work sequences and process data are completely captured by documentation. This should take place in an automated process that corresponds to the legal requirements. Times and which component with which measured values belongs to the respective process can also be documented. Additional data material, e.g. on the production station, can also be added. All product and process data is thus stored automatically in a database and as complete documentation it they can substantiate the quality of the process and product in a legally binding manner. It is important here that the data cannot be altered or manipulated after saving.
“Lawsuits and damage compensation claims from product liability can quickly become very expensive for manufacturing companies. Any party sensitised to this risk should employ preventive quality assurance measures in due time and document all automated and, if applicable, manual process steps. Product damages and recall actions can thus be effectively avoided”, says Alexander Cocev, process data management project head at CSP. With its solutions IPM for Integrated Process Data Management and IPM PG (IPM Production Guide) the company offers many diverse functions for the early prevention of product deficiencies.
Author: Leonie Walter, Walter Visuelle PR GmbH