The project was led by the University of Portsmouth assisted by CAP SESA Industrie in France and developed a new knowledge-based quality control system for manufacturing.
It consisted of an intelligent system for interaction with a user, linked to offline and online quality control process subsystems, and incorporating a database which contained documentation relevant to quality control.
The new system was a stand-alone system with the facility to be integrated with other company systems.
Pilot demonstrations were provided in the electronics and heavy engineering industries. Results were applicable to industry in general including SMEs and they were incorporated in products marketed by vendor members of the consortium.
Quality assurance (QA) is essential for future survival and competitiveness. A major part of QA is quality control (QC) and many companies are facing mounting pressure to increase or improve their QC procedures. The systems created as part of this project provided comprehensive tools to help solve quality control problems throughout the manufacturing process.
The new software package enables companies to:
- define their quality control planning strategy (what to check, how, who, when);
control their processes, based on the QC planning strategy;
- assure the quality of products, through effective inspections and fast trouble shooting;
- commit to traceability requirements and/or standards;
- control non-conformances and effectively manage their processing and associated quality actions (preventive, corrective);
- monitor the quality improvement process, with the support of appropriate statistical and summary tools.
The new software created during the project offered a comprehensive set of QC planning and management services with on-line guidance. It was composed of ten modules which run on personal computers.
- A quality control planning and support system.
- Monitoring facilities for manufacturing processes.
- An on-line help system to reduce the need for operator training.
- Facilities for off-line analysis and diagnosis.
- Support for supplier evaluation and product history trackability.
- Report writing facilities that produced documents to Office Document standards.