Certification and Customer Satisfaction

FARO products help Composiflex deliver industry-leading service

Ryan E. Day

August 21, 2019

Although certification to major standards is often the threshold to winning next-level contracts, it is when your organization synthesizes the standard’s values that real payoff is realized. Chief among those values is customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is paramount to attracting new customers, garnering new contracts, and transforming customers into lifetime clients.

Certified to AS9100D with ISO:2015, Composiflex has been designing and manufacturing high-performance advanced composites for more than 30 years. Composiflex’s World-Class Initiative includes two key values of the standards they are certified to: customer satisfaction and continuous improvement. FARO inspection technology is integral to Composiflex’s efforts.

“Investments in FARO products are helping us support our World-Class Initiative,” says Marty Matthews, sales and marketing executive at Composiflex. “For the past few years, weve carefully identified the proper investments to satisfy our customers and grow our business.”

Customer satisfaction

Composiflex committed itself to the spirit of the standards and purchased specific equipment with specific goals in mind.

“Some of our largest customers are multibillion-dollar enterprises. These companies come back to us again and again for new projects. Were proud of the support that were providing them.”
—Marty Matthews, sales and marketing executive at Composiflex

“An important part of our buying decisions had to do with the reporting capabilities of FARO solutions,” says Matthews. “The pictorial graphics, color maps, and other types of reporting capabilities were far superior to the other options out there.

“Our customers have different quality plans with different inspection requirements, continues Matthews. We typically perform first-article inspection at the beginning of a project, plus additional detailed inspection during production, when a new tool is introduced, or when a process is changed. Oftentimes multiple parts have to be inspected, and the report has to be approved before we can move on to volume production.”

“3D models provides much more detail about the quality of each product. We use this valuable data to assist in continuous improvement of our processes and products.
—Rhonda Sutter, quality assurance manager at Composiflex

3D inspection capability has become indispensable for Composiflex’s client/provider relationship.

“3D Inspection is really valuable to us and our customers,” says Matthews. “Some of our customers require comprehensive GD&T information on the reports. Before we had 3D inspection equipment, like the FARO QuantumS ScanArm, those fields would often include entries like ‘unable to obtain.’ As our customer inspection requirements have continued to increase, our FARO equipment has been instrumental in supporting those requirements.”

Using FARO solutions also greatly improved how Composiflex communicates with its customers.

“I’ve been in quality for over 30 years in several different industries. Communicating exactly how inspections are performed to our customers is not always easy,” explains Rhonda Sutter, quality assurance manager at Composiflex. “Since implementation of the FARO equipment, that is no longer an issue for us.”

Continuous improvement

Like many manufacturers, Composiflex’s history includes inspection tools such as calipers, rulers, radius gauges, angle gauges, and micrometers.

“Prior to implementing FARO solutions, inspection bottlenecks slowed production considerably,” admits Sutter. “Previous solutions were unable to consistently meet tolerance specifications and precision requirements. They were not able to inspect large parts or complex geometries. Measurement repeatability was also an issue.

“We are now actually seeing new business opportunities through higher productivity and being able to meet tighter tolerances. This is a direct result of improved customer satisfaction.”

One of the things that sets Composiflex apart is its commitment to reinvesting in tools that enable improvement.

“Several years ago, we wanted to make investments to improve our capabilities and automation of processes like inspection,” explains Matthews. “We originally purchased a non-FARO brand 3D scanner. We liked the technology, but we chose to invest in FARO products because we found they had more capabilities and were easier to use. First, we purchased an Edge ScanArm with an SD scanner. Our team valued that piece of equipment so much, we decided to further expand our capabilities with a Quantum ScanArm probe fitted with the HD scanner.”

“Utilizing the Quantum ScanArm has resolved many of our resource issues and eliminated days’ worth of measurements, calculations, and reinspection to confirm results.”
—Rhonda Sutter, quality assurance manager at Composiflex

This commitment is leading the organization into expanding fields of opportunity.

“We have an important initiative to achieve NADCAP accreditation, which is a very deep dive in aerospace manufacturing processes” reveals Matthews. “Because there is an increased level of sophistication required to support that market, we purchased one of FARO’s Tracer Laser Projectors.”

Some inspection requirements in the aerospace industry that are particularly difficult have to do with surfaces profiles.

“We now have applications where the surface properties, or RMS [root mean square], are quite important,” says Matthews. “For example, in a parabolic dish antenna, we really had no way to measure RMS on the surface of a product before we invested in laser scanning technology.”

The healthcare industry is also growing more complex, and manufacturers that want to capitalize on the situation to gain market share must invest in inspection solutions that are up to the task.

“We’re starting to use the Laser Projector to manufacture some of our medical products,” says Matthews. “It’s really helpful in reducing variation from operator to operator doing hand layup.”

Variation in manufacturing has a huge impact on capability and profitability. In verticals like healthcare, it can be critical.

“In an X-ray patient positioning application, it might not be possible to rework a critical area of a composite tabletop,” explains Matthews. “A nonuniform area may cause anomalous results, making it look like there’s something wrong with the patient rather than the table. Obviously, that’s not acceptable. Rework in non-imageable areas might not be a problem, but if it’s in the wrong place, we might be looking at thousands of dollars in scrap.”

Return on investment

“Using the Quantum arm has improved our accuracy and efficiency, reduced inspection time, improved reporting, and cut our rework by approximately 50 percent.”
—Rhonda Sutter, quality assurance manager at Composiflex

Composiflex was able to realize a significant return on its investments rather quickly. According to its internal analysis, overall quality improved a whopping 80 percent, and rework was slashed by approximately 50 percent. Add to that reduced manpower requirements due to the reduction in inspection time.

These and other factors resulted in the equipment paying for itself within nine months.

Summary

In summary, when Matthews and Sutter were asked to rate the FARO equipment on various criteria, this was their assessment:

Criteria

Rating

Accuracy and repeatability

Game changer

Measurement speed

Game changer

Ease of use

Game changer

Portability

Game changer

About The Author

Ryan E. Day’s picture

Ryan E. Day

Ryan E. Day is Quality Digest’s senior editor for solution-based reporting, which brings together those seeking business improvement solutions and solution providers. Day has spent the last decade researching and interviewing top business leaders and continuous improvement experts at companies like Sakor, Ford, Merchandize Liquidators, Olympus, 3D Systems, Hexagon, Intertek, InfinityQS, Johnson Controls, FARO, and Eckel Industries. Most of his reporting is done with the help of his 20-lb tabby cat at his side.