Why Risk Poor Precision Metal Stamping Quality? Automotive Industry Averts Risk With APQP

Precision metal stampings are a critical component of so many products. Automotive components, medical devices, electronic parts – all contain metal stampings. For the part or the device to function properly, the stamping needs to be free of defects and of perfect quality.

We continue our metal stamping quality article series with a discussion on APQP.

Automotive industry refuses to take chances with precision metal stamping quality.

Poor quality is not an option with the automotive industry. That’s why the ‘Big Three’ (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) created Advanced Product Quality Planning, better known as APQP.

So what is APQP? Technically, “it’s a guide in the development process and also a standard way to share results between suppliers and automotive companies.” More simply put, it’s a way of making sure the automotive companies are involved in every step of the development and launch process with their suppliers – to ensure nothing goes wrong. Why? Ultimately, to ensure the ‘Big Three’s’ customers are satisfied with their automobiles.

APQP is typically deployed in 5 concurrent and collaborative phases:

  • Plan and Define Program
  • Product Design and Development
  • Process Design and Development
  • Product and Process Validation
  • Launch, Feedback, Assessment, and Corrective Action

Some of the questions that can be addressed through the APQP process are:

  • Can the product/process be error proofed?
  • Can the product/process achieve a higher level of capability through tolerance design and/or process variation reduction?
  • What controls must be developed to ensure that defects cannot reach a customer?

The APQP process actually monitors 23 topics before production is even started. Topics like design robustness, design testing, quality inspection standards, product packaging, and more.

Metal stamping companies need to be prepared.

There are a lot of suppliers wanting automotive business. Automotive manufacturers and the companies that represent them can demand that their suppliers abide by APQP processes.

And that requirement certainly applies to metal stamping companies as well. Automotive suppliers need to ensure the metal stamping companies they do business with are committed to APQP and should insist they:

  • Establish and continually monitor company-wide APQP processes
  • Utilize APQP tools such as Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) to ensure quality
  • Utilize advanced technology to verify stamping quality, thicknesses, and dimensions (sensors and gauges)
  • Implement sophisticated quality control plans and tools to ensure consistency and zero defect parts (i.e. Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Adhere to the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP)

With these controls in place, metal stamping companies can do their part to ensure the automotive manufacturers achieve their ultimate goal of customer satisfaction.

Want to know more about APQP?

For comprehensive details on the APQP process, refer to the AIAG APQP Manual available through AIAG (Automotive Industry Action Group).

Automotive Transport – A Guide for Choosing an Auto Shipper

Transporting your car is not something you would just entrust to anybody other than the pros. The safety of your priced possession is in the hands of the auto shippers once you sign that contract and hand them the key to it. With that being said, I’m sure you want to make sure that your car will reach your destination without a scratch. Now choosing an auto shipper you can trust is not easy, after all trust is difficult to come by. You would definitely want to make sure that they know what they are doing and that they would take responsibilities in case something happens to your car. Considering that the automotive transport business is very competitive and that so many auto shippers are sprouting in the scene, your job is becoming a daunting one. In the midst of too many choices, you’d seem lost and unable to make a choice at all. That is exactly the reason why I wrote this guide; I want to help you make that wisest choice in picking an auto shipper by following the tips that I will lay down here.

1. Preparation is the key
As with everything, preparation is the key to a successful automotive transport. The first step is to have your car thoroughly cleaned so that you can account for its present condition. Once the car is cleaned, you can now see clearly all its scratches, dents and dings. It is wise to take pictures of your car rather than just trusting our fickle memories to account for its present condition. Remove everything that can possibly be lost inside your car because you cannot hold auto shippers accountable for it because they are not allowed to transport any personal or household goods.

2. Search for auto shippers online
The good thing about the present technological development is that you can find almost anything online now. You can use Google to find auto shippers and you can even search further on blogs and forums to see if a certain company name has attained the notoriety of a cult in this business. After you have gathered a few names, call each one of them and ask questions about the things that I will lay down below.

3. Ask about payment policies
Ask the auto shippers about payment policies. These can vary between different companies but usually they will ask for a 25% upfront payment and the rest will be payable upon the delivery of your car. Cash is very much welcome so is a cashier’s check. There are companies that will accept credit cards but they will usually charge an extra 2-3% as processing fee with your credit card company.

4. Read the fine prints before signing
Reading the shipping contract is very important because just like when you buy a house or a car, the contract that you will sign is legally binding and if something happens to your car within the course of the trip, the company will always refer to their terms and conditions before they will pay for damages. It pays to know what you are signing up for, so read and understand the contract and if you are not satisfied, ask a lawyer to explain it to you.

5. Ask for delivery dates
Ask for delivery dates but bear in mind that these are but estimates. Don’t expect the auto shipper to be on the dot when they give a date of delivery. To avoid frustrations, it is important to understand that the automotive transport business is dependent on a lot contingencies; like how fast they can fill the truck with cars, how bad is the traffic and the route that they will take in the course of the delivery. A lot things can go wrong along the way so it is very difficult to give a definite date of delivery. However, there is a window of time wherein an auto shipper can still be considered on time when shipping your car. Ask for this window of time and use it as the basis of your waiting period.

6. Inquire about license and insurance certificate
In order to know that you are dealing with a legitimate company and not some fly-by-night business, ask for a license to operate. You want to make sure that you have the protection of pertinent government agencies when something goes wrong with shipping process. In addition to that, you would want to be reimbursed when some damages are incurred in your car. This is not to say that things can really go wrong, but when they do, you would want to be protected.

These are some things that you need to know when you need the services of an automotive transport company. To get a free car shipping quote, visit the website: http://www.a1autotransport.com.

The 4.3″ Automotive GPS B683

Are you a long distance driver who loves the winding roads that take you further into obscurity or you are a fearless city driver who just loves his daily ride from home to work and back? Either ways you might get lost in the wilderness or the city traffic. What next? You would require an alternative route – road that will lead you closer to your destination. Where will you find it? You will find it if you have a 4.3″ Automotive GPS B683 installed on your vehicle. All you have to do is click for an alternative route and the TFT screen will show you where to go. It will show you roads through wilderness or back country and in places you never thought roads would exist. It will show you a clear path away from the blazing horns, the traffic and the mad rush and take you to office. You would be surprised how much of your city roads the Automotive GPS B683 knows.

The 4.3″ Automotive GPS B683 is a powerful GPS system that is guided by the Global navigation Satellite System or the GNSS. Also known as the NAVSTAR GPS, it is managed and controlled by the United States Air Force 50th Space Wing. The B683 is GPS system that works in-sync with the GPS satellite in space. This is an advanced GPS system that is preloaded with maps and it can even guide you through traffic and dirt roads with the help of a voice guided system.

Yes! This is a smart, neat, and compact package that will ensure that you make all the right turns whenever you are on the driver’s seat. Thanks to the B683, you don’t have to carry the large paper maps, which are at times dangerous to work with especially when you are driving. The 4.3″ Automotive GPS B683 will neatly settle on your dashboard and one look at it will tell you which turn to make or what is the immediate intersection? It has an easy-to-use touch screen interface and the highlight of the 4.3″ Automotive GPS B683 system is the text-to-speech voice commands. You will be able to see a high resolution display with 2D or 3D animations. The B683 has some amazing features and guess what? It is water resistant too!

Features of the 4.3″ Automotive GPS B683 system include:

Display: 4.3” touch screen Digital TFT LCD
Resolution: 480*272 pixels
Brightness: 200
CPU: Centrality Atlas(TM)-III 372MHZ
O/S: WinCE.Net 5.0 Core
Memory: 64M (Can be expanded)
Audio Player: supports WMA, MP3, and WAV file format
Video Player: supports WMV, MPEG, AVI, ASF, and 3GP file format
Photo Viewer: supports JPG, GIF, BMP, and PNG file format
E-book Reader: supports TXT file format
Bluetooth function (Optional): Hands-free calling with most Bluetooth-enabled phones
Dimensions: (L) 125mm X (H) 80mm X (W) 20mm
Weight: 220g
Language setting: More than 10 different languages can be set on the 4.3″ Automotive GPS B683 system and they include English, French, Chinese, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Romanian, Polish, Czech, Slovakia, Hungarian, Russian, Israeli, Brazilian, Italian, Turkish, Greek, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, and Slovenian among others.