DGQ quality management seminar at the HEUFT company
The German Association for Quality (DGQ), a registered association, held a seminar on 26 June 2002 at the HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH premises on the subject of quality assurance. The aim of the association is to pass on the know-how and the economics of quality management as well as to further the development of the systems, methods and procedures relating to it. In addition to its involvement in the international standardization of quality assurance standards the association is also active in areas of training and certification.
The purpose of this meeting was not only to introduce the HEUFT products and their role in quality control and assurance but also to take the opportunity to explain the measures taken by the company to safeguard the high quality standard of the machines.
In order to understand what is involved one has to remind oneself of the demands made on a machine and the requirements it has to fulfil. The HEUFT company supplies all over the world and therefore the most varied climatic conditions have to be taken into consideration. The machine must be fully operational regardless whether it is located in the Tropics or in a factory in the cold North. Furthermore HEUFT devices are often subjected to immense mechanical strain due to long machine running times over three shifts or high production speeds. If a machine fails a complete production line can be brought to a standstill. If this occurs during the height of the season enormous costs are incurred due to the loss of production.
In-house standards and constant checking procedures on the basis of exacting quality examination guidelines ensure that the machines operate reliably. Double-checking is one of the fundamental principles of production: keeping manufacturing and checking procedures separate, even for the smallest components, guarantees quality. It is not only the complete device but also the component groups which are subjected to intensive tests before final acceptance. For example each rejection system has to pass a long-term test under special testing conditions before final assembly. Only then is it passed on to the next work group for further assembly where it is checked once again upon arrival. This process of constant checking continues until final assembly of the complete machine. The finished device also undergoes a final inspection and is only prepared for despatch if it passes this without any faults. After the theoretical part of the seminar the visitors were able to see the implementation of these measures for themselves in the Production Department.
However the best checks would not be a great help if the individual components had not been carefully selected before the start of production. For example the centring elements used in the labelling machine were put through several million test cycles before the actual design was chosen for production. An incoming goods inspection is carried out when the material arrives and each time it is passed on to another work group in order to ensure that the quality of each manufactured machine remains constant.
During the discussion period that followed the tour of the company the quality assurance policies of different companies were discussed. It emerged that those present had been inspired by the HEUFT approach to quality management.