Using IIot to Root Cause Production Problems

Guest post from LiveWorx Sponsor Dimensional Control Systems

When Problems Happen, Time Matters Most

PTC Creo users can combine CAD simulation and SPC Systems to quickly root cause and solve production issues as they happen.

Anyone familiar with manufacturing will tell you that time is money. In a manufacturing plant, every second that the plant is idle and not producing can be thousands, and lead to millions, of dollars in lost revenue. When production issues happen (and they will), defects aren’t often discovered until later, leaving the manufacturer with two major issues:

  1. What do I do with these non-conforming parts?
  2. How do I fix my process quickly to stop producing them?
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Every second a production line remains shut down can be millions of dollars lost

The first issue is usually resolved by simply disposing of the parts. Scrap can add up in cost, and definitely doesn’t make anyone’s day better. Sometimes the parts can be salvaged, but they have to be reworked, which costs time and money, and usually requires specialized processing. The second issue is the hardest one. How do you find the problems fast? If you have to shut down your production line until it is resolved, every second the line is shut down is money being wasted.

The sooner the problem and can be found and resolved, the less it will cost.

SPC Systems, using Statistical Process Control (SPC), are the standardization of measuring and controlling quality during production. It uses measurement results from the production line to monitor quality in real-time and alert staff before many bad parts are made. This, when applied correctly, should give manufacturers the time they need to find and resolve the issue without ever having to shut down production.

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SPC Systems monitor production quality in real-time

The problem with SPC Systems is that they usually alert quality engineers to the problem conditions: the out-of-specification parts, non-conformance, part trends, etc. They do not highlight the source of the problem, and more so, do not provide solutions.

Model Based Design provides an answer to this issue, utilizing the IIot environment. IIot combines technology, machines and software together into an integrated solution, allowing for seamless collaboration and connectivity. Using Creo CAD software to develop a design model, a single CAD model can become the central hub of the product life cycle, containing the information needed to manufacture the product. Using integrated analysis apps, this model can then be repurposed during production to act as a root causing and problem solving tool. Here is the general process:

Product Design à Measurement Plan à Production and Measurement à CAD Based Root Cause Analysis

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Using CAD Design with SPC Systems creates a powerful problem solving process

The key to this process working smoothly is the integration of CAD and SPC Software to communicate seamlessly. By being able to utilize production and measurement data in the CAD model, engineers can simulate and recreate their production issues virtually. They then test and validate design and process changes to solve the problem. This eliminates the need for costly trial and error in production, as well as speeding up the resolution process. 

Dimensional Control System (DCS), a PTC Software Partner, provides a simulation app integrated in PTC Creo called 3DCS Variation Analyst. This tool can simulate using statistical Monte Carlo Analysis to predict issues before production, and can also be used with production measurement data to find the sources of production issues identified by an SPC System, and then use iterative design changes to validate the solution.

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3DCS integrated in Creo gives statistical metrics and contributors to non-conformances

DCS customers combine a QDM System, which is a SPC software platform, with Creo integrated simulation software 3DCS, to create a Closed Loop solution for production issues. Many large OEM’s have successfully implemented this kind of process reducing production issues, scrap and rework across their global enterprise, as well as at their suppliers.

The IIot aspect of the process is the connection between measurement devices, the SPC System, Windchill PLM and the Creo CAD Platform. By automating this connection, information flows freely between these systems, giving visibility to the manufacturing process and the tools to improve and maintain quality.

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Closed Loop is the process of combining systems through PLM to predict and resolve production issues

Other systems can be used in the place of DCS solutions, but the process itself, powered by the Model Based Design philosophy, is quickly becoming the future of manufacturing, replacing manual, disconnected processes that take too much time, energy and money to be effective.

Learn more about how DCS is helping PTC Creo and Windchill users control their quality costs at

For more information on cutting edge technology in Product Design & Business Process, register for LiveWorx 2018, June 17-20 in Boston!