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 Attorney to Repair Your Problems

Automotive industry has a great effect on the world economy. There are many production and service industries which support this industry. There has been a major increase in the number of automobiles in the past decade. Therefore, the repair shops have also increased. Many issues can arise during repair and thus there is a need for an automotive attorney.

Issues

Some of the major issues can include protection of intellectual property and safety concerns. The clients for an automotive defense attorney can include suppliers of component parts, domestic and foreign companies, original equipment manufacturers, automotive trade associations, and consulting firms. Whether the clients are facing regulation, litigation, prevention and counseling, or legislation there is a lawyer to help them.

These lawyers are well-versed with different case scenarios and have vast experience in representing clients who are dealers, suppliers, or trade groups. A defense lawyer will be able to serve the interests of all the repair facilities and technicians. Clients prefer attorneys who have a familiarity and understanding of the common issues that repair shops and technicians usually have to deal with.

What Does the Law Say?

According to the Automotive Repair Act, there are certain rights for the consumers. It is advisable that the repair shops and technicians should know and understand these laws first before they approach a Bureau of Automotive Repair attorney. The Required Disclosures law says that the repair shops must furnish the client with a written estimate. The estimate should include price charged for parts, diagnostic test, and labor. It should also include details like date, duration, and odometer reading. The price should be charged according to used or new parts used. A statement should be there to show if the repair is actually needed or whether it is only recommended.

The repair shops and technicians should know that the consumers have a right to a written estimate. It can either be an itemized or a non-itemized estimate. However, an automotive attorney can tell the client that sometimes the consumers may not want an estimate. They can just ask the shop to do the repairs but the total cost should not exceed the amount set by them. In that case, the technician can get this written and signed from the consumer in case of any issues that may arise later. A customer also has a right to a copy of invoice. The invoice is an itemized list of the price of parts and labor, total price, warranties, and the odometer reading.

The technicians should know that they are prohibited from asserting lien charges for any unauthorized repairs. Consumers have the right to pick up a vehicle from the facility if they pay according to the charges disclosed to them before repairs. Auto repair shops have to, by law, post consumer rights at a place where they are easily visible. The post should tell the consumers that they are liable to a face-to-face contact, a written estimate for repairs costing over $100.

There are many other laws which prohibit the repair shops to perform unlawful practices. An automotive attorney can guide the technicians and repair shops about other laws. These include guiding them about laws relating to non-business hours and unforeseen repairs.

Snake Oil Vs Oil Additive – Engine Automotive Friction Problem – Part I

1. Engine Automotive Oil Additives or “Snake Oil”? Oil additives have failed to deliver for years.

In August 1992, a brilliantly written article exposed the repeated failures in the claims of the oil additive (engine automotive and trucking) industry. The article was entitled Snake Oil – Is That Additive Really A Negative? It was written by Fred Rau and was originally printed in Road Rider magazine, now Motorcycle Consumer News. That expose provided the basis for what we in the industry knew: oil additives are a means of lifting money from the wallets of uninformed consumers.

Many in the engine automotive industry were already skeptics. We’ve heard all the promises of friction reduction, longer lasting engines, and fuel savings. Repeatedly, such want to be solutions failed to live up to the hype. With over thirty years in the field, I was a full blown skeptic with dozens of oil additives’ experience under my belt.

However, an experienced entrepreneur in the field of “toll blending” for heavy duty industrial solutions drew on his expertise to create an environmentally safe, friction reducing, motor oil additive, solving the one problem oil additives failed to overcome.

Now, if the problem is truly solved, the benefits are obvious:

– less friction means engine automotive protection

– less heat means engine automotive friction is reduced

– longer engine life means a surge in engine automotive performance

– less friction/heat produces a drop in engine automotive related expense

– less friction, heat also leads directly to increased engine automotive fuel economy

Motor oil, as a lubricant, works but is not always sufficient. When it gets hot, motor oil breaks down, vaporizes and burns. The oil industry has been quite innovative, using different additives to combat this process. Motor oil additives consisting of zinc compounds, molybdenum (“moly”), chlorinated paraffins, and others. The problem with all these additives (apart from plugging oil passages and toxicity) is they are only suspended in the oil.

But, you say, that’s the way to get the additives to the hot spots needing friction protection. You must suspend the oil additive in the oil so it is carried to the engine parts needing protection. That’s standard theory.

Yes.

And that’s been the guiding assumption for the oil additive industry all along. Suspend the oil additive in motor oil and let it be carried to the friction hot spots.

2. The “necessary assumption” also provides the problem with engine automotive “theory”.

Repeat: Suspend the oil additive in motor oil and let be carried to the friction hot spots.

So, what’s the problem?

The problem is, the oil additives do not permanently adhere to internal engine stress points. It’s presumed in all oil additive engineering approaches that the motor oil is going to carry its oil additive to the high stress points of the engine. This is where the extra lubricating properties are needed.

In that necessary assumption also lies the problem.

As an engine works under heavy load conditions, pressure and friction build up at some of those metal points. The result? The oil is suddenly “missing in action”. It burns up from excessive heat or is “squeezed out” (exceeds its load bearing capacity) due to excessive pressure.

Either way you end up with “metal on metal”. The additives themselves can’t work because there isn’t enough oil present to suspend them. It’s been squeezed out or burned up. Put bluntly, an additive can only be where the motor oil is present.

Remember, if oil additive engineering is relying on an additive’s suspension in motor oil to do its job, then engineering is also stuck with the limitations of the oil’s properties to withstand heat and pressure.

Note. The additive must be able to withstand heat and pressure to a greater degree than oil or “Why bother adding it?”.

3. Solution: What if an oil additive actually starts to perform at the temperatures and stress where oil normally fails?

The solution was an additive already meeting industrial needs concerning friction and heat build up.

Carried by the motor oil, it comes to friction points…

– engine rings against the cylinder wall

-bearings

-camshafts

-lifters

-valve guides

-turbo charger

-oil pump

Here it does something that no other additive has ever been able to accomplish. This oil additive disassociates (molecularly) from the oil and literally adheres to the metal at the point of friction, leaving a soft metal carboxylate film that can out perform motor oil as a lubricant in a high friction/heat application (as can be seen in the pictures/test results referenced at the site below).

So this lubricant, unlike oil, whether it be synthetic or petroleum, actually starts to perform at the temperatures and stress where oil normally fails. Remember what happens inside the engine, when fuel ignites at the top of the compression stroke and the piston is moving down the cylinder. There, most of the oil on the cylinder wall gets burned up.

But this additive doesn’t burn up like the motor oil carrying it. It molecularly embeds itself into the pores of the cylinder wall. So, when the piston is traveling back up the cylinder, the additive acts as a lubricating agent and is always there.

So, in summation: since you’re getting rid of the friction, then you’re getting rid of the heat generated from it. That means your oil lasts longer. It doesn’t get contaminated as quickly because those high friction points are being adequately lubricated. Adequately lubricated, they will cease to be high friction points, running cooler, the oil will pass through those points without burning which creates harmful acids and sludge.

Most importantly your engine can last longer, run more efficiently, and the fuel that was being used to overcome the friction can now be used to move you down the road to where you need to go.

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