Home » Spirol Fine-Tunes its Processes With SPC Software
Back in 1948, Spirol International Corp. introduced its first product: the coil pin. This fastener is made of carbon steel and designed to dampen shock and vibration, eliminating hole damage during assembly and extending product life.
Today, Spirol manufactures more than 2 billion fastening components annually. Customers all over the world use Spirol’s metal fasteners, shims, disc springs, compression limiters, machined nuts, pin and insert installation equipment, and vibrating parts feeders.
In 2009, Spirol began looking for new statistical process control (SPC) software. The company had been using a handheld cpk calculator called Genesis. However, it did not provide immediate graphical display of SPC and historical data. Spirol switched to Synergy 2000 software made by Zontec.
“We use 110 pieces of equipment that monitor more than 22,000 items,” says Mike Woznicki, quality manager for Spirol. “We needed software that could capture
data instantly, enabling our operators to monitor a manufacturing process from start to finish and, if appropriate, take corrective action. The processes can use up to six machines and involve up to 1 million pieces.”
Because Spirol operates production rates up to 500 pieces a minute, the company needed to ensure in advance that any changes they made in the manufacturing process would enhance overall quality.
“With Synergy, we have the ability to test slight modifications [to parts and equipment] before we implement them on the shop floor,” says Woznicki. “For example, we can experiment with what belt speed works best for our heat-treating process based on the hardness readings related to temperature, time and belt speed. We learned from that process which speed gave us the optimal hardness that allowed us to increase productivity without sacrificing any characteristics of the part.”
Spirol was also able to make changes in their phosphating rust-prevention process. Based on the coating, they were statistically able to compare time and temperature with their salt spray results.
“Since implementing Synergy, we have increased productivity and concurrently reduced the variation in our end product,” says Woznicki. “Now operators have a graphical display that allows them to see if they are trending towards the up-per or lower tolerances. They can immediately make adjustments. Also, we are now able to take more measurements in a shift with just the click of a button. We can see more of the process than we did in the past.”
Besides enabling Spirol to capture more characteristics data without adding personnel, Synergy has helped the manufac-turer increase customer confidence.
“We are able to show our customers in real-time that their product is ‘in control,’” says Woznicki. “We bring every customer to an SPC station where they can view the data live. Without Synergy, we wouldn’t be able to do that.”