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Alleviate Perfectionism with the Closed-loop Approach

by Benjamin Reese, on Jul 1, 2014 12:51:00 PM

Alleviate Perfectionism with the Closed-loop Approach


Working with nominal builds, perfect builds, of products denies the truth: no product will be built without variation.




If you are a perfectionist working in engineering or manufacturing, you may have found the wrong field. There’s all this talk about creating the perfect product –one that boasts exactness in the ability to meet its design. But when it comes to creating a product, realistically, the only thing perfect is the design. This is enough to drive a perfectionist crazy. On the bright side, if that perfectionist implements solutions like the closed-loop approach, which allows for adaptability, at least they can keep working toward perfection.



A normal distribution curve, showing the normal range of variance. 



The closed-loop approach is not a product or some sort of step-by-step process that segues into a sales pitch. It’s a way of doing things. It’s a method of organization that interlinks resources to manage quality. It overlaps with a product’s entire lifecycle, from pre-design through production. Then, at any point in that lifecycle, engineers or manufacturers can stop and loop back to previous steps to optimize any aspect of a product’s quality.


There are many cases in which looping back serves as especially advantageous. For example, in a scenario where end products are not achieving visual quality goals, engineers can loop back to find out where problems originated. Or, if components produced do not fit together, data obtained through manufacturing can be back-fed to identify causes of variation. In each case, issues can be corrected in the earliest stages of design and production, when corrections cost less since they are unlikely to result in tooling changes, scrap or other wasted costs. Additionally, the closed-loop approach can be used after a successful production, to update GD&T requirements and create build objectives for new assemblies.

Closed Loop Approach - Quality Feedback Loop
Closed loop approach to quality dcs

This approach can be used in part or in full to better quality management. As long as design and manufacturing teams are creating an adaptable process, that’s the point. An adaptable system increases the likelihood that parts will achieve target dimensions – thereby improving fit, function and visual quality requirements – and do so within budget and time goals.

As a whole, when a closed-loop approach is used to achieve adaptability, it allows engineers and manufacturers to apply world-class standards to their products from start to finish. Although at this point in time, even world-class standards won’t get you a perfect product, it will get you close. And although “close” will not satisfy any true perfectionist, one can still take comfort in knowing that using the closed-loop approach means implementing a perfect solution.

By: Kristy Erdodi 



Engineering Talk - DCS's Blog on Quality and Engineering

Engineering Talk's focus is on discussing topics in dimensional and manufacturing quality to help inform professionals about current trends and technologies that are quickly becoming adopted in industry to combat common causes of manufacturing costs - scrap, rework. In addition, you'll find details about all of DCS's activities from webinars, events, articles, and software releases. 

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