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  • The importance of traceability for quality management in manufacturing industry - Part II

The importance of traceability for quality management in manufacturing industry - Part II


In recent years, "traceability" has become widely recognized. In Part I, we talked about the concept. In this article, which will be Part II, we will introduce on more details such as traceability information transmission using identification symbols, direct methods such as direct parts marking and the introduction of "traceback" and "trace forward".

In the previous article, we talked about the concept of traceability that the product is trached to find out " when, where, who (by whom) produced it," and the reasons for traceability’s spread in Japan.
This time we will explain the operation of traceability in further detail.

The Communication information holds the key to traceability.

The definition of traceability is "information" about products and their parts. It is the "manufacturing key" used to track the course of the product. It is important that appropriate information, such as arrival destination, manufacturing date, production line, shipping destination is recorded and saved.
The necessary information is transmitted using identification symbols such as a barcode or two-dimensional code (QR code, DataMatrix, MaxiCode, PDF 417, etc.). A barcode is limited to recordable information about several details, and currently the two-dimensional code is a mainstream symbol which can record a maximum information of 3,000 characters in a small required code area.

(From left) Barcode, QR code, PDF417

"Direct parts marking" which develops traceability

What if you do not have space to paste labels such as serial numbers and barcodes on parts or products? Direct Parts Marking (DPM) can be utilized at that time. Direct parts marking is a method that prints and marks information directly on parts and products using laser markers and dot pins and is now an indispensable method for traceability.

Traceback and trace forward

Traceability includes "traceback (retroactivity)" and "trace forward (pursuit)". Traceback refers to tracing the log of the distribution history of products back in time. On the other hand, trace forward refers to tracking along the passage of time.

◆Traceback (retroactive)

Even if problems occur with products manufactured or shipped. If you have an environment where you can properly trace back, you can identify affected lots and processes and can quickly locate the cause. If lot and process can be specified, it will be possible to review and improve the process and quality immediately. The method will improve quality and lead to stability. Also, disclosing this information to consumers and users will provide security and will contribute to improvement of distribution reliability.

◆Trace forward (chase)

When a part is found to be defective, trace forward can identify the product in which the corresponding part is used, and it is possible to collect products at a certain point. It shows great effect in terms of recall and physical cost by identifying defective items and time cost by accelerating the collection of events.

Flow of traceability system

Let's explain how traceability is introduced and operated at the manufacturing site, taking a standard manufacturing process as an example.

Traceability will be introduced and operated as above. Also, if you operate traceability correctly, it will contribute not only to quality control but also parts management, especially for independent parts manufacturers.

Current status of traceability in Thailand

Regarding the present situation in Thailand, unfortunately there are few people who understand the concepts of traceability, introduction and operation methods, and so on. To introduce traceability, it takes a lot of time to investigate and explain to individuals the entire concept / design to equipment selection and individual personnel. Also, since each equipment maker is responsible only for its own products, it is difficult to integrate the "marking device", "leader" and "engineers", and it is difficult to construct a system that operates stably at an appropriate cost. Furthermore, concerns about the delay will still remain in response to troubles after implementation of the method.

Yamada Machine Tool’s Traceability Proposal in Thailand

Our company, a specialized manufacturer and trading company of stamping machines, deals with all kinds of marking equipment. And through alliances with leading makers and software developers, we can respond with a one-stop service from marking and reading devices manufacturing to an information management system. We propose a "secure" "simple" "reasonable" system according to the customer's environment, such as work material and cycle time. Of course, we will respond smoothly to correspondence such as specification addition and trouble after implementation.

I am sincerely waiting for your inquiries.

Yamada Machine Tool Thailand
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