When to Measure?





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When Should I Measure?

"Anything that you can measure, you have a better chance of controlling.
Things that you do not measure become the cause of mysterious problems"

Larry Goldberg-Beta Industries

The best time to establish process control is when the process is first developed-either during the R&D or pre-production testing phase. During this time, prior to actual production, a thorough understanding of the process, formulation, equipment and needed UV conditions and would be documented.

The process conditions that produce good quality products need to be measured and documented in the lab and then communicated to the production team in a clear and concise manner. Maintaining consistent good quality 'curing' is essential for long-term success and profitability. Consistency and profitability is achieved when both your staff members and suppliers understand the variables associated with the process and communicate in the same language.

In an ideal world, the UV system would be one of the last items purchased and it would match or exceed the documented requirements of the process.

In the real world, most often an existing UV system is adapted to a new process or purchased on price alone. You need to determine if the UV system that you want to use can deliver what is needed for the process? Or will so many changes be needed to the formulation, the process and/or the equipment that the UV system will not be well suited for the particular process?

Do you have a way to document the existing production equipment? You need to know what the UV system is capable of to decide if the equipment will work. Do you need to test proposed process changes in the lab to allow you to accommodate the existing UV equipment on the production floor? Will the existing UV equipment allow the process to operate fast enough and consistently enough to remain at a profitable level?

Establishing and understanding the variables in your process that should be measured and controlled before you start production can help you avoid 'mysterious problems'.

The second best time to establish process control is when things are working. This scenario may take place on an established production line that you are trying to understand or improve the yield/reduce the scrap. Establishing and documenting process control in these conditions takes work and it takes time. Consider it an investment that will pay you back down the road.

The worst time to establish process control is when things are not working-and a big order is due. Calling to purchase a radiometer for overnight delivery when your line is down will only tell you the current irradiance and radiant energy density on your system, not the conditions when things were curing.