Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Process Characterization Methodology
Process Characterization Methodology (PCM) at Sandia facilitates Product Development Teams to systematically transition a product from design to efficient and controlled manufacturing processes. PCM provides a means to detect and address potential processing or design-related problems and utilizes several industry tools such as risk assessment, statistical process controls, and Ishikawa Diagrams.
Prior to the development of PCM, product development was poorly focused and lacked concurrent engineering. There was poor correlation between manufacturing, design, and customer requirements. Manufacturing and product field problems resulted from inadequate processing.
With PCM, a system is in place to provide a systematic transition from design to production. The four stages involved in PCM include develop and screen processes, critical-process characterization, process capability studies, and optimization and control. These four stages allow a user to focus resources on critical process issues.
Users develop a process flow chart to lay out the manufacturing sequences. In this flow chart, operations are represented by process nodes which initially represent a major step in the manufacturing processes such as fabrication, assembly or testing. The process continues by the team identifying the critical processes, and a ranking process is applied from which team averages are determined using the risk assessment matrix.
The PCM is flexible as it can be tailored to project needs. It is a bottoms-up process analysis and complements other industry approaches such as Reliability Fault Tree Analysis or QFD. The methodology reduces the likelihood of production problems and provides a decision base for making process changes when needed.
PCM has been implemented on several projects since initial development three years ago. Future plans include the use of training courses for users of the methodology and the development of a software/database package incorporating the process.
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