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Lou Blaiotta on Monday, January 8, 2018 at 12:00:00 am
Happy New Year, and welcome to the fifth year of the Columbia Elevator Products Blog Lou’s Lessons!
Last time, I talked about how we use a Quality Management System. Staying on the topic of Quality, I want to share a system that we use when we work with customers in our niche of the elevator industry. Because we supply products that are unique to an architect’s or an OEM’s specification, we must be certain that our quality is always right on the mark.
When Columbia Elevator is entering a long-term contract to become a regular supplier to an OEM or elevator installation company, we must demonstrate that we can build and supply the product according to specifications. Before the contract can be finalized and accepted, we prove that we can build and supply the desired design accurately in our facilities. Demonstrating production mastery makes us a desirable supplier.
To do this, we engage in a Production Part Approval Process or PPAP.
PPAP is a standardized process that helps manufacturers and suppliers communicate and approve production designs and processes by promoting a clear understanding of the requirements of both the customer and the supplier, Columbia Elevator. It also ensures that the established techniques/procedures are used consistently in the manufacture of parts/products at agreed-upon production rates.
To put it simply, PPAP is a work plan that is a result of a negotiation between our customer and us. It is the result of much dialogue and discussion regarding the customer’s and Columbia Elevator’s individual plans/specifications for how the product is to be built and how we can make a PPAP that satisfies both parties. Once each element of the PAPP is agreed upon, Columbia can become a regular supplier of an entrance, door, cab, or other product.
Engaging in PPAP processes with regular customers results in these benefits:
Lou Blaiotta on Monday, December 11, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
Huberney Rendon, Bridgeport Shop Supervisor, inspects punched steel.
In my last blog post of the year, I wanted to take all this talk of Quality and manufacturing defect-free products down to a practical level with a concrete – or in this case steel – example. In the manufacture of our products, we use a lot of steel and other metals. When we are working with metals, metal inspection throughout the production process is key to manufacturing high quality products.
As Columbia Elevator prides itself on building products without defects, we must be certain to use the best products for the job. A wide variety of defects, such as pinholes, inclusions, blowholes, scales, scratches, pimples, and roll mark, can be found in metal before we even start our work.
Quality Step #1: Metal Surface Inspection
Metal Inspection During Production
As we work with metals, defects can occur in two other categories: Welds & Edges
Quality Step #2: Weld Inspection
Metal Inspection During Transport through the Plant
Generally, a fabricated metal item moves through the production area until it is completed and then stored or shipped. As metal pieces move through the shop, damage to edges and surfaces can occur during handling. We take precautionary measures to maintain the surfaces and edges as we handle the materials, such as using appropriate techniques in the use of clamps, lifting devices, and movement of materials from one surface to the next. Additionally, it is important to wear all assigned Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) when moving fabricated metal items – especially clean gloves on newly painted surfaces!
Cleanliness is important throughout the fabrication process. Moreover, metal surface cleanliness is especially important in the painting process, which is why we always clean or wipe down metal before painting it to remove dust or metal debris that may have accumulated during cutting, welding, and handling.
After metal items have been painted and moved back to the shop floor, handling and crating are important to our being able to ship quality products. Painted parts can be handled only after the paint has cured to an acceptable level, and storage and handling of metal that is painted must be done carefully per our company procedures in order not to damage the painted finish and/or the metal itself.
Quality Step #3: Production Department Inspection
Key to Columbia Elevator’s Quality Control standards, each production department is expected to inspect the quality of materials as they move through the factory. This ensures that we always deliver quality products to our customers.
Happy Holidays to You!
Lou Blaiotta on Monday, November 27, 2017 at 12:00:00 am
High Quality Products have always been a mainstay of Columbia Elevator Products. To provide our customers with the best products, we focus a spotlight on Quality!
Quality with a capital Q focuses on various factors in manufacturing according to ISO 9000:
Columbia Elevator’s Quality Management Office, with help from a QMS Steering Committee made up of employees across all levels and departments, uses a Quality Management System (QMS) Manual to meet the overarching goals above. The QMS Manual documents all steps of our manufacturing process and provides evidence of our quality production steps. The manual, which is standard across all manufacturing fields, can be shared with our customers if they request to see it.
A few of the many items that are documented in the QMS Manual:
The QMS Committee follows our company’s commitment to continuous improvement across all departments and regularly updates our QMS Manual whenever there is a change in any of our processes. Keeping our manual up to date allows us to be a successful manufacturer with no questions asked!