Air-Way Manufacturing Company implemented Micronite in 2005 beginning in our Olivet Plant 1 facility. This was quite a paradigm shift, as Operators were accustomed to Paper SPC charts at the work centers. Even with the paradigm in place the implementation was very smooth. The people from High Tech Research were very helpful and provided full support in the training of our staff. Further implementation included two other plants over the next three years.
“Micronite allows us to provide Operators with real time decisions relative to process performance. The predictive nature of the software stops nonconforming product before it occurs. It also takes the guesswork out of process adjustments . It not only tells an Operator when an adjustment is necessary, but also eliminates over adjustment of a process. Part characteristics are tied to individual tools within the system. This provides the ability to perform tool analysis and make adjustments to the tool designs based on real data. This is highly beneficial relative to tools cutting multiple diameters.
Our Customer PPM related to defective material has been below goals for several years running. Micronite is a large part of that achievement . We have also been able to reduce scrap rates and down time by several percentage points due to the predictive nature of the software. We have also taken advantage of High Tech Research’s very professional staff several times over the past few years for re-training, and to help with transition of new Operators and Management Staff.”
– Mark Place, Vice President, Quality
“We are a major manufacturer of commercial vehicle brake systems. What we were lacking in our production facilities was the ability to provide error-free control of our processes in real time and gather meaningful data to improve both our Throughput and Quality. We benchmarked the MICRONITE software at one of our best suppliers in 2Q 2012. We introduced Micronite in the first quarter of 2013 as a pilot event in one of our facilities in Mexico. One of the first things we learned is just how much we didn’t know about our processes and root causes of variation. As we machine sometimes 4 parts at the same time, Micronite was able to ascertain and quantify the variation between- and within fixtures and direct our Engineers to solving major variation problems.
- Micronite helps us determine and monitor tool life.
- An immediate reduction in scrap
- Ease of use for the operator and supervisor
- Dynamic inspection frequencies based on process variation
- It has an Advanced Metrology Module for validation of measurements accuracy and precision.
- Compensates controls based on tool wear
The personnel from Micronite have been very professional in their approach to train our operators, and assist Management with Technical questions. We are planning on steadily increasing our implementation of Micronite at more machining centers in 2014. Some SPC programs I have used and or observed are nothing more than run charts or Xbar-R charts and do not predict future variation and simulate tool wear as Micronite does. I would recommend anyone to take a hard look at Micronite before pursuing other platforms that are currently available.”
– Michael Lambert, Corporate Staff Quality Engineer
“The ease of monitoring parts during production also helps with ISO certification. Having Micronite allows an auditor to not only see how often we inspect a part, but how we can monitor and analyze data on the spot. This provides us with the necessary controls to monitor and contain any issues during production. Since we introduced Micronite we have been able to update and improve our Quality Management System, as well as achieve certification for both ISO 9001:2008 and 13485: Medical Standards. Without Micronite, we would not be able to document, control, and hold parts within the standards held in such a serious and difficult field. t he difficulties of manufacturing for the medical industry are simplified by the capability of producing multiple reports directly taken from real production data. PPAP and FAI are now integrated into our standard inspection process. If a customer needs to know about how a part ran, we can easily print out a report that provides raw data, statistical analysis, and trend graphs for any dimension. At Component Sources International we have had nothing but benefits from implementing Micronite into our production process. We have more control, visibility, and understanding of our parts every day we start the machines up. The advances we have made in the past three years would not be possible without Micronite.”
– Eric Doody, Quality Manager
“Gregg Lehenbauer, Plant Manager at Haldex, Grain Valley, MO, stopped at HTR Booth during IMTS 96 intrigued by sign: “SPC for statisticians, MICRONITE for machinists.”. After conversation with company founder Dr. Steve Birman, Gregg decided to attend a seminar with the outline describing new machining-related process control tools. It took two visionaries to bring our plant to the state of near-perfect quality, where we operate now.
We machine complex tight-tolerance components from materials with poor machinability ratings. The multi-fixture machine styles require an engineering approach to achieve fixture-to-fixture and within-fixture capability. Using MICRONITE inspection schemes and engineering solutions we were able to bring down process variation to the low levels at which substantial portion of the tolerances are left for tool wear. Standard procedures are periodically used by our maintenance personnel to confirm compliance with fixture-based machine capability. And clearly, tool wear simulation used in the MICRONITE models is very precise and has helped Haldex optimize machining conditions and control lifetime of all cutting tools.
For daily monitoring, the color coded output provides quick feedback to operators when a sub-group or individual fixture or cutting tool becomes unstable or goes out of control. These custom-tailored interfaces are not just easy-to-use, but they contain a vital process information for machinists to quickly troubleshoot problems. Used by machinists of different skills for over 10 years, MICRONITE proved to be accurate in action decisions to continue running, offset tools or change tools. Undoubtedly, it is extremely difficult to earn trust of seasoned machinists in predictions made by the software, but our operators who were once quite skeptical, love the many ways that Micronite helps Haldex fulfill their quality motto to Do it right the first time, and make it better every time.”
– Chuck Bartels, Manager, Quality and Continuous Improvement
Hudson Precision Products
“Six years ago management of Hudson Precision Products made a decision to invest in the process monitoring system for the shop floor. The main focus / purpose was to reduce Cost of Quality, mostly due to high rate of scrap and rework. But at the same time, we wanted to collect data on our tooling, equipment & operator productivity. Hudson Precision was fully committed in obtaining the necessary platform that would be a great asset to our operators, quality staff and management. We were not looking for just simple data collection, but were more interested in what the data could provide to our operators and engineers in terms of longer up-time and enhanced tooling capability to improve our bottom line.
We look at and put on trial 4 different types of SPC data collection systems (Infinity, WinSPC and Datamyte) and the knowledge-based system MICRONITE designed for control of machining operations . First, our interest was to test each system to see what would be accepted by our operators and supervisors. Second, we wanted to establish the potential of each system to reduce human errors and improve stability of operations. This was being performed with the assistance of the shop since the shop would be the direct point of use for this purchase. After doing trials with MICRONITE we put three SPC data collection systems on the shop floor one after another. While trial tests came and gone, Micronite was removed from the shop floor. The next thing that happened was the most surprising thing you could ask for. The operators who were doing the trial testing approached the President of our company questioning why Micronite was not being left on the shop floor for their use. Their statement was that this was the only system that would work directly with them in giving directions when to inspect parts and how much to move the tooling to achieve optimal dimensional control of the process. Eventually, three SPC data collection systems were disqualified by operators and supervisors.
There were many other additional benefits which Hudson Precision received from using Micronite. Cultural change was immediately experienced with elimination of major bottlenecks in our operations . One of those was the way our first piece approval was being performed. Instead of submitting and waiting for First Piece Approval from Quality, it was now the responsibility of the Operators and Foreman to complete this task thus increasing our up-time at the machine. Control of tooling is also a very large part of the Micronite system. Doing correlations studies of tools using dimensional information gives you instant knowledge if your tools are in line to each other or one dimension will be on the other end of the spectrum. Within the first year of using MICRONITE the system had basically paid for itself with the reduction of scrap and rework cost. We went from an 8.0% rejection fallout to 0.5% rejection fallout. And still many years we continue to enjoy the benefits of the MICRONITE system.”
– Rick Pawlowski, Quality Manager
” 1. Improved Process/Improved Quality. This is really the key to the Micronite system. It allows us to monitor a process from beginning to end. The Micronite system allows us to confirm that initial samples, from set-up, meet quality specifications and, more importantly, that the part-making process itself has appropriate capabilities. During a production run, adjustments and tool maintenance are noted in the program. This helps us to fine tune tool maintenance schedules. We have also been able to reengineer some processes based upon information provided by the process capability data from the Micronite system which helps us to make adjustments in our production process before we make bad parts.
2. Reduced Inspection. Inspection is not a value-added process. We have been able to reduce inspection points and frequencies. We use the Process Acceptance Report for set up approval. Set up is approved at the machine. It does not require quality control approval. We use the same report for initial sample for customer submissions. The data is also used for PPAP submission. During production runs, the adaptive frequency setting adjusts inspection intervals in stable processes. This reduces inspection by machine operators. We have also reduced sample sizes in final inspections.
3. Quality System. Control plans, set-up approval, CpK’s process charts, inspection data for final inspection and electronic data storage are all done in the Micronite system. The Micronite system has become the backbone of our quality system.
4. Customer requirements. More and more of our customers are requesting inspection/process data. We are able to provide both raw data and statistical analysis of data on every job run in the Micronite system. It is perfect for part certification, dock-to-stock programs, and providing CpK’s for critical dimensions. We have had customers bring other suppliers to visit our facility to learn more about our use of the Micronite system. 5. Micronite Staff. Micronite’s initial training was very thorough and follow-up and support have been great. The strong support team at Micronite has contributed to our confidence that we can continue to build our manufacturing processes around the Micronite system. We look forward to a long working relationship with HTR-Micronite.”
– Bernard Seewald, President
Manth Brownell, Inc
“Our first month with Micronite has been an educational experience that has excited our employees and provided them a good tool to both improve their process while at the same time giving them an opportunity to shape the process. It has exposed unknown deficiencies in our methods and forced us to discuss developing fixes for these issues. We have taken the approach of using Micronite for all dimensions on our selected parts, which provides a great benefit to ensure we have methods to check every feature, and that our personnel know how to check each feature.
I think we would have been wise to designate a full-time Micronite champion prior to training, to develop an “expert” and “go-to” person that would have the support of the team. We will still show progress going forward, but it will be slower progress than what we would have with a person to run with it. ”
– Rob Pike, Vice President, Manufacturing
Micron Manufacturing Co.
“Much of Micronite’s production is smaller volume, high mix products on either Swiss or Conventional CNC’s or Acme Gridley automatic screw machines.
For several years we were intrigued at Micronite and the idea of tool control along with process control. No other statistics software can model tool wear in the fashion which Micronite does.
The installation of Micronite was handled in an excellent fashion by the folks of HTR – Micronite. They provided all the information we needed beforehand to ensure we purchased the right equipment, computers, and gages. They worked very well with our IT specialist to prepare our network. And they spent several days providing training to our operators, engineers, and quality personnel.
For our shorter runs we cannot utilize all of the benefits Micronite has to offer but we still obtain the benefits of continuous process control, adaptable inspection frequencies, and the alerts to the operators when adjustments are needed and by how much. For the longer runs we also obtain terrific information about tool life monitoring and real time feedback on the capabilities of our processes. There are a multitude of reports available to meet any customer required documentation or for internal communication with engineers, production, or quality personnel. The folks at Micronite provide excellent service on the few occasions we’ve run into any errors or when we do not know how to monitor an unusual part characteristic. They answer the calls in person and quickly establish a Go To Meeting connection so that they can walk you through the various screens & settings while you watch. Fantastic service!”
– Brian Hoff, Quality Manager
Precision Plus Co. Q&A:
Dr. Stephen Birman, HTR: How your operators rate MICRONITE performance on a scale of 1 to 10 ?
Barry Butters, Director of Training, Precision Plus: 8 or higher depending on the job. It would be 10 if our engineering team would be better prepared for MICRONITE demands on process controllability.
SB: Do your operators benefit from MICRONITE’s guidance on inspection time and process adjustments?
BB: Operators are completely satisfied with MICRONITE’s ease-of-use and real-time decisions.
SB: What is the importance of MICRONITE-OASIS interface?
BB. Very important. We are using MICRONITE with four OASIS Vision Machines. For example, when MICRONITE does not accept a sample on our CNC Swiss machine we know that we should look at measurement error. OASIS-MICRONITE becomes a thinking machine with predictive process capabilities.
SB. Do you experience reduction of non-conforming?
BB: Yes. Also, we see an overall improvement of part quality.
SB. Does your engineering team improve process reliability?
BB. Definitely. We are using MICRONITE for solution of tool-related problems and we are continuously improving stability of complex tight-tolerance processes.
Rable Machine, Inc.
“We are a short run job shop, so consequently our use of Micronite varies compared to long run shops due to the volume of part nos, set ups, and extensive engineering time. We could not find in any SPC software features comparable with MICRONITE expert-based solutions which are very useful for short-run machining. Of course there are some jobs which run longer and enable us to take full advantage of the many capabilities that Micronite includes such as tool life management. In these cases we definitely experience savings due to optimizing tool life, avoiding premature tool changes, and fewer tool failures / crashes. For Rable, the most impressive benefit of Micronite is the discipline and structure it brings to managing the process . Especially, in these challenging times when it is very difficult to find highly skilled machinists and we all have to become experts in training and developing our people. Without the structure and methodology that Micronite provides, our Customer rejects and internal scrap would be much higher. We all know how serious a rejection can be to customer satisfaction and the long term health of our business. Overall, Micronite has been a very effective solution for us.”
– Scott Carter, President and CEO
Williams Tool, Inc.
” In early 2001 we set out to relieve the increasing number of man hours it was taking for us to get quality parts to our customers between in-process and final inspection. In our job shop environment, time is money especially when the majority of jobs are short runs. First, we looked at SPC software. Conventionally, it takes readings of critical dimensions and lets the operator know if the dimension is in or out of tolerance or located in pre-control zone. If a quality coordinator makes a mistake in how much to cut the engineering specification limits, an operator would either prematurely change a tool or miss a time for adjustment. Our operators have had hard times to control volatile machining processes with SPC charts and histograms.
After a long search we finally decided on MICRONITE from High Tech Research, Inc. This product is designed as a Total Process Control Software with features which address all essential needs for reduction of internal and external quality costs and improvement of machining efficiency. MICRONITE software controls your whole process without human mistakes on both engineering and operator side. This powerful machining software, based on “Expert System Technology” gives our operators immediate feedback that their dimensional readings are approaching floating “stop zone” or tool wear rate is accelerating. This gives them time to make tool offset adjustments before experiencing downtime for unnecessary tool changes or scrapped parts for out of tolerance readings. Another benefit is the Tool Monitoring capability. The knowledge-based tool analyzer can anticipate tool failure based on sample variations. After 13 years of using the software we could not run our shop without 14 MICRONITE workstations which are constantly used by operators on two shifts . Our final inspection for dimensional integrity is pretty much non-existent and the use of Micronite as a Total Process Control Software is making us proactive in solving machining problems in real-time not after the fact when the job is completed.”
– Jeff Gerling,General Manager