Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

“Lean” has come to mean an integrated, end-to-end process viewpoint that combines the concepts of waste elimination, just-in-time inventory management, built-in quality, and worker involvement supported by a cultural focus on problem solving. Can such practical principles be applied to innovation, or would lean’s structure and discipline snuff out the creative spark that underlies the birth and development of great ideas? Can lean co-exist with innovation?

According to experts at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the faculty of Wharton University of Pennsylvania, lean and innovation can indeed complement each other, and it’s about time they came together. Lean brings structure and predictability to innovation, and sharpens the distinction between idea generation and the development process, they say. Both share a common goal: to meet customer needs in a cost-effective manner. And lean can help empower researchers and reduce uncertainty in the innovation process itself.

David Rideout’s picture

By: David Rideout

The field of surface metrology is one of the fastest growing areas of engineering and quality management. Because what happens at the interaction between two surfaces can affect the functionality and life span of a product, understanding the places where contact and interactions occur is vital for creating and producing effective product designs and manufacturing protocols.

In the medical field, equipment makers study how an artificial hip meets bone, or how to evenly coat a stent with medicine before implanting it. In the alternative energy arena, we evaluate the ability of photovoltaic panel surfaces to absorb sunlight. Auto manufacturers test the way paint adheres to the vehicle’s exterior. Pharmaceutical companies strive to manufacture pills that can be swallowed easily with coatings that reach the stomach before dissolving. The success of these products and many others is greatly determined by features of their surfaces and how they behave when in contact with other surfaces.

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By: Minitab LLC

Kaj Ahlmann (right), owner of the Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards, and Winery, and vineyard manager, David Weiss, create great wines by applying old-world techniques and the rigor of proven quality improvement.

Some people take it easy when they retire. But Kaj Ahlmann, retired chairman, president, and CEO of General Electric’s Employers Reinsurance division, is just getting started. In 1999, he united two of his passions—wine and statistics—in a new venture: the Six Sigma Ranch, Vineyards, and Winery. This pairing may seem unlikely.

Winemaking conjures images of pastoral fields of lush grapes, grown by experts who divine the ideal time to pick and ferment them. Six Sigma, on the other hand, is frequently associated with mass production, and massaging reams of data to wring maximum efficiency from the factory.

Matrox Imaging’s picture

By: Matrox Imaging

What about parking? It’s a question drivers must consider every time they turn the key in the ignition. Cities have struggled with parking issues since the preautomobile era, however, in those days the question was more likely to be: What about my horse?

Parking automobiles proved to be a very difficult challenge for cities, particularly by the 1910 when the number of cars in the United States reached 9 million. Although horses still outnumbered these modern machines, equestrian transport was eventually banned in cities. The curbside locales for horses and buggies were quickly designated for automobiles, and they were quickly filled. In fact, city workers began parking in those spots all day, leaving few parking spaces for shoppers or other patrons of the business district.

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By: GKS Global Services

GKS Inspection Services has been a leading provider of dimensional inspection, 3-D laser scanning, terrestrial scanning, and CT scanning services for more than 25 years. The company’s metrologists and engineers are experienced in the automotive, defense, electronics, and many other manufacturing industries. One issue that has been common in reverse engineering scanning projects for all industries over the years is making sure that customers know exactly what type of computer-aided design (CAD) file deliverable they want from GKS based on what they will be doing with the data and their budget.

Hubert Lettenbauer, Ph. D.; Daniel Weiss, Ph. D.; and Bernd Georgi ’s default image

By: Hubert Lettenbauer, Ph. D.; Daniel Weiss, Ph. D.; and Bernd Georgi


Figure 1: Measuring 3D CT METROTOM 1500 from Carl Zeiss

There are still no generally applicable standards for industrial computed tomography (CT). Manufacturers and users still must agree on de facto standards for the specification and certification of CT measuring systems. With comprehensive inspections, Carl Zeiss Industrial Metrology (Carl Zeiss IMT) provides customers with reliable data on the performance of CT measuring processes.

If cone-beam CT is to become a qualified measuring procedure, it must be qualified in the same manner as coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) that use contact and optical probing. Test piece

John David Kendrick’s picture

By: John David Kendrick

A common error of many Six Sigma and operations research professionals is not properly selecting the correct subgroup sampling technique when constructing a statistical process control (SPC) chart. Incorrect subgroup sampling technique selection has become worse in the modern computing age, perhaps because most practitioners try to “fit” their data into the graphical user interface template of the major statistical software packages. Consequently, many practitioners produce aesthetically appealing charts that are simply not effective at identifying out-of-control (OOC) conditions. This article will discuss proper SPC subgroup sampling techniques and illustrate the principles of proper subgroup sampling selection from a practitioner’s perspective.

The proper selection of an SPC sampling technique should be based on an analysis of historical data that is representative of the current process and the question that needs to be addressed. The importance of selecting the proper SPC subgroup sampling technique cannot be stressed enough—however, it is overlooked by most practitioners.

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By: David Roberts

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By: Sam Turner

“The consumer’s concept of quality will no longer be measured by only the physical attributes of the product—it will extend to the process of how the product is made, including product safety, environmental compliance, and social responsibility compliance.”
—Victor Fang, chairman of Li and Fang

In the past, the utility industry could consider itself exempt from market drivers such as social responsibility and environmental and safety concerns. However, today’s utilities companies are immersed in a sea of change. Customers demand reliable power in unlimited supply, generated in environmentally friendly ways. and without increased cost. All the while regulators are telling consumers to “change the way they are using energy or be ready to pay more,” and the Department of Energy is calling for utilities to make significant reductions in usage by 20201.

Matrox Imaging’s default image

By: Matrox Imaging

Turbines that are housed in aircraft engines are subjected to pretty tough conditions. They must perform at speeds of 30,000 rpm in temperatures greater than 800ºC for hours at a time.

The engine manufacturers fully understand that even small surface defects can reduce performance, increase maintenance costs, and reduce the useful life of an aircraft engine. They need to inspect turbine blades very carefully to maintain the efficiency and reliability that the air transport industry requires.

One particular North American manufacturer inspected its blades by hand and human eye. The highly-trained inspectors measured hundreds of features and checked for surface defects that measured in thousandths of an inch. Manual inspection was not only costly in terms of time and labor, but subjective as well. Results were variable and even differed between inspectors. Because manual inspection was so time consuming, there was no systematic inspection of every blade, only samplings of blades were inspected. Clearly, the manufacturer required an approach that would allow systematic inspections of the blades, save time, and yield consistent and repeatable results.

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