Original Date: 01/23/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Application of Quality Function Deployment to Battery Design
Sandia uses the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) process as the organizational aid in integrating the ability to determine product requirements from customers' needs and expectations, and ensure that these requirements are realized in a product or service. Integrating these customers' requirements into a commercial product is best accomplished through a step-by-step process, a primary reason for Sandia choosing QFD, a structured product planning and development tool, first used in Japan , to guarantee customer requirements are realized throughout the product life cycle.
The QFD process is a structured activity that begins with a conceptual design and ends with a technical data package. In Phase I, a cross- functional team translates key customer requirements into product measures that, if satisfied, will ensure customer satisfaction. Phase II translates the key product measures into parts characteristics. In Phase III, key parts characteristics are translated into manufacturing process characteristics. Finally in Phase IV, these manufacturing process characteristics are translated into manufacturing process controls. This structured deployment of key requirements guarantees that the product development team maintains its focus on these requirements and realizes customer's needs and expectations repeatedly in the manufacture of the product.
Application of this process is demonstrated with Sandia's battery design. Since 1980, Sandia has used lithium/sulfur dioxide "D" cell batteries to provide highly reliable, continuous power (up to 5 years) in weapons applications. Because of the lab's responsibility to meet demanding DOE requirements, the Exploratory Battery Department demonstrated the feasibility of adapting an improved and innovative design to an established commercial lithium/thionyl-chloride battery technology that revolutionizes the way nuclear surety devices are powered in weapons. By using this new cell, in conjunction with new generation multichip module technology electronics, the size of the power supply can be reduced 50% and the service life doubled while maintaining ambitious safety and reliability requirements. To achieve this goal, the Product Realization Team (PRT) utilized the QFD four stage process to guide the technology transfer effort and to communicate progress to the customers.
Applying QFD to the battery design produced the following results: a longer service life which increased the limited life components exchange interval, resulting in time and cost savings in nuclear weapons stockpile maintenance; and lithium/thionyl-chloride cell manufacturing costs remain comparable to the cost of the lithium/sulfur dioxide cell, while maintaining the same manufacturing quality.
The technology to produce this product for Sandia National Laboratories applications was successfully transferred to a commercial manufacturer, Eagle Picher Industries, Inc., Joplin, MO, enabling it to produce a variation of this cell for commercial application. Additionally, the Exploratory Battery Department was awarded Sandia National Laboratories 1994 President's Silver Quality Award for this effort.
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