Most finishers claim that they believe that part cleaning helps optimize quality, productivity, and profitability. However, although the store’s views and opinions on the cleaning process are fairly uniform, there are still differences in quality qualification rates. Hubbard-Hall commissioned an objective third-party Gardner Intelligence to conduct custom surveys on job shops and captive shops, and analyze the results of the “Products Finishing Top Shops” benchmark survey to provide data-based insights to help understand cleaning attitudes and practices.
The survey results show that attitudes and beliefs about cleaning are basically the same across equipment regardless of its quality and output. So, what drives the difference in quality and yield of final processors? How do cleaning and pretreatment processes change quality and yield? Moreover, what is the relationship between high-quality yield and cleanliness?
Regardless of the quality qualification rate, 67% of finishing staff believe that part cleaning helps optimize quality, productivity and profitability. Moreover, most of the remaining stores are also close to this view. Similarly, nearly 67% of respondents, regardless of quality, claimed to have strict, standardized, and regular cleaning habits. Most of the remaining interviewees claimed that they have clear cleaning habits most of the time.
Therefore, there seems to be almost no difference in the general location of parts cleaning based on quality pass rate. Therefore, it is important to note that inferior parts are not the result of personal belief or even more claims that cleanliness is not important.
However, when the first pass rate of the finished product is greater than 90% and less than 90%, there is a significant difference in the location of the parts to be cleaned.
Although it may not have a linear relationship with the quality yield rate, it is obvious that the cleaning methods are quite different for the finished product with the highest quality yield rate and the product with the lowest quality yield rate.
The survey results also show that nearly 85% of finishers are quite satisfied with their cleaning process. Stores with a quality pass rate higher than 90% are very satisfied with their cleaning process. At the same time, shops with a pass rate of less than 90% are neither satisfied nor satisfied with their cleaning process.
Although the store’s views and opinions on the cleaning process are fairly uniform, there are some important differences in the reasons for the poor quality stated.
Before finding the difference, our research shows that labor is the most cited reason for inferior products, regardless of whether the quality is qualified or not. Fundamentally speaking, labor is a scapegoat for poor quality. In addition, there is no obvious trend due to non-compliance with quality standards, process, equipment or related factors. These considerations maintain a relatively constant percentage of problems throughout the quality pass rate.
Studies have indeed shown that there is a fairly obvious linear relationship between poor part quality and poor pretreatment/cleaning and good yield. With the increase in the qualification rate, the poor quality of originals that do not meet the quality standards will be more criticized. With the decline in quality and yield, poor pretreatment/cleaning should be attributed to non-compliance with quality standards.
Therefore, despite similar statements and beliefs about how clean regardless of the quality pass rate, shops with lower quality pass rates do realize that poor pretreatment/cleanliness is a bigger problem for them. Essentially, with the decline in yield, the real culprit is poor pretreatment/cleanliness.
Based on more than 1,300 feedbacks from plating and plating benchmark tests, Gardner Intelligence determined that there is a correlation between quality gains and profit margins. With the increase in high-quality output, the profit margin also increases. For every 2% increase in the output of high-quality products, the profit margin will increase by about 1%. Because this is an increase in net income, the additional costs for achieving higher quality returns have been included in the calculation formula.
Since studies have shown that in the finishing workshop, the controllable variable for the yield is the cleaning and pretreatment process. Although it is claimed that most finishers have at least a clear definition, the finishing workers can use better pretreatment/cleaning processes. Improve quality output and additional profits.
Process control and improvement
So, what does a better pretreatment/cleaning process look like?
First, the finishers need to ensure that they spend enough money on pretreatment chemicals as a percentage of income. The survey results show that to achieve a quality pass rate of 93% or higher, processors will spend 1% of their revenue on pretreatment chemicals. Therefore, for every US$1 million in revenue, US$10,000 is spent on pretreatment chemicals. Depending on the quality standards required and the type of pollutants that need to be removed, certain finishing jobs will cost a higher or lower revenue percentage.
However, there is evidence that spending more on pretreatment chemicals per dollar of revenue does not automatically lead to higher quality gains. The top quarter finisher has a high yield rate of 93-95% and uses at least 2.5% of its revenue for pretreatment chemicals. However, with the quality yield rate higher than 95%, the top quarter of expenditures dropped. In other words, a store with a yield between 93% and 95% may spend more than a store with a yield above 95%. This shows that as the quality qualification rate increases to more than 95%, process control is as important as increasing expenditure. In addition, this means that even if the finishers have similar beliefs and practices for cleaning and pretreatment, there are still differences in actual practice.
Improvement methods are the most extensive practice (they are suitable for cleaning/pretreatment, but not exclusively for this) to improve quality yield. Compared to finishers with lower quality yields, finishers with 99-100% quality yields are generally more likely to use any available improvement methods. The improvement methods that are most directly related to cleaning and pretreatment and may have the greatest impact on quality yield and profitability are continuous improvement plans, quality certification, total quality management, 5S workplace organization and benchmarking. These improved methodologies are an important part of a rigorous, standardized, and regular cleaning process, and support the idea that cleaning/pretreatment helps optimize quality, productivity, and profitability.
Automation can also help implement improvement methods and track compliance with written plans. Workshops with a quality pass rate higher than 96% are more likely to use process monitoring and process tank sensors.
Finally, this brings us to another important aspect of part cleaning-testing. Stores with a quality pass rate higher than 99% spend 30 hours a week for analysis and testing (admittedly, not all of this is spent on the cleaning process).
Of course, the ultimate goal of the finisher is to increase the cost of cleaning and pretreatment. Finding the focus of your spending on chemicals and describing the writing process in detail and keeping it up to date is the key way to achieve this goal. Based on the results of this study, it is recommended that the finisher spend 1% of his income on pretreatment chemicals. This will vary depending on the process and the contaminants to be removed.
It is also recommended that the finisher adopt an improvement method that includes taking note of and continuously monitoring the cleaning process. Software and automation can assist this approach, and it is recommended that the pretreatment tank be tested regularly.
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