Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present the application of a procedure for the quality control of stainless steel tubes produced for automotive exhaust systems from a leading company in the steel sector, based on the Delphi method in accordance with the ISO/TS 16949:2009 and the ISO 9000:2008. Using Delphi methodology, it was possible to identify the main problems in the production lines object of the study, the main defects and their causes. Statistical methods were used to monitor process compliance and capacity. The panel of experts involved in Delphi method was able to identify causes of non‐compliance and suggest corrective actions. Design/methodology/approach – The quality procedure implemented involves the application of the Delphi method and the ISO/TS 16949:2009 standard in conjunction with ISO 9000:2008 to the production line of welded tubes for exhaust systems. The statistical methods used to monitor the process were mainly control charts. Capability index, Cp and Cpk, were used to measure the process attitude to produce compliant outputs. Dimensional data were acquired by non‐destructive testing on diameters and X‐R charts were used to graphically represent the process state of control. Destructive tests were performed to monitor the welding quality and P‐chart were used to assess the proportion of nonconforming units. Findings – In this work, a procedure was developed in order to characterize the production process of TXM tubes realized in the line 31 of the leader company plant. The use of Delphi methodology, in order to incorporate experts opinions in the quality control of stainless steel tubes, was one of the main points of this work. The panel of experts worked together to identify process issues, define their causes and propose corrective actions. The paper provides an overview about the quality approach of one of the world's largest companies in the production of steel and shows also how the statistical tools are used in order to manage process behavior. Originality/value – The value of this paper is to illustrate an innovative approach to a real life quality problem; it demonstrates how the application of qualitative and quantitative quality instruments in accordance with technical specification can help in increasing and maintaining product compliance and in optimizing the management of resources.
International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 6, 2011
Keywords: ISO/TS 16949; Quality management system; Process control; Delphi method; Control charts; Capability index; Exhaust tubes; Stainless steel
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