How Constellation PowerLabs’ Parts Quality Initiative (PQI) Can Work for You
October 11, 2019
Throughout the years, Constellation PowerLabs has continued to support the Constellation fleet in all aspects of metrology, from calibration to failure analysis. In 2006, a new program was developed by PowerLabs when they saw the need to challenge both manufactures and suppliers. The large number of failed components being received in the Constellation fleet pointed to lost capacity, production and money. This led PowerLabs to make an investigation of their own in which they traced back to the cause of these failed parts. Many of the reasons they found were due to manufacturing issues or defects.
From there, the Parts Quality Initiative program was developed to become a way to protect the fleet from receiving failed parts while also giving reasonable assurance that those critical components were going to work. Constellation PowerLabs has not only made a success in identifying failed parts before they reach their customers but has also allowed them to be reimbursed for their products while they are still under their warranty. This program is rapidly expanding and PowerLabs has made it a mission to reach a wide array of industries both inside and outside of nuclear including aerospace, pharmaceutical, automotive, and electrical power.
How Does PQI Work?
For many companies, failed critical components can be detrimental to the success of their operational performance. It is important that these parts work properly so that they continue to be productive. Instead of having these critical components go straight into inventory, Constellation PowerLabs’ Parts Quality Initiative program has the parts shipped directly from suppliers or manufacturers to the labs where testing will be performed. The purpose of testing is to make sure these parts are not only made to quality standards, but that they are reliable. PowerLabs can test the products onsite at one of their labs, or the customer can test.
What Sets Apart Constellation PowerLabs’ PQI Program from Others?
PowerLabs’ Parts Quality Initiative Program has proven its value, empowering facilities to focus on core competencies instead of facing downtime and loss in production. PowerLabs has tested over 50,000 parts and has identified over 3,300 deficient parts that never made it to inventory.
While there are other critical parts testing programs out there, they are no match for the capabilities and extensive knowledge PowerLabs has amassed. This program contains a vast amount of data and metrics that have been collected over the years. This data can be found on OneLab, a software subscription that is included in the program. This subscription provides an extensive list of data comprised of test plans and historical findings. Customers can freely go into the database and find thousands of data revealing trends in failure variables specific to each part type, manufacturer, and model number.
How Does This Program Save You Money?
Under the Parts Quality Initiative program, the manufacturer or supplier will send the parts directly to the labs during the pre-receipt inspection process to make sure they are working properly. If a critical component fails, Constellation PowerLabs will ship it back to the manufacturer or supplier for replacement. It’s important to catch these failed parts right away since they are often under a time-sensitive warranty.
Apart from the beneficial savings from the component’s warranty, PQI can also help reduce downtime when identifying a failed part before entering inventory. This can result in significant savings depending on the system impacted. Having a part inspected and tested before entering the facility not only helps ensure that it is working properly, but also saves on time.
How Has This Program Evolved Over Time?
Scott Danehower, Technical Service Manager from Constellation PowerLabs states that Parts Quality Initiative is truly a “living program.” PowerLabs continually assesses the component types being tested annually to make sure they are working and have improved in quality. Over time, PowerLabs found that there were reoccurring issues with certain parts such as relays. Since these relays had a high failure rate in the past, PowerLabs reached out to the manufacturer to help them make improvements. Once these improvements were implemented, the high failure rates went down for those specific relays.
How Has Parts Quality Changed Because of PowerLabs’ Program?
Throughout the years, PowerLabs has successfully identified equipment reliability issues through PQI and has stepped in when necessary to ensure that the equipment is truly reliable. If a facility is having problems with critical components failing, PowerLabs’ supply organization will go directly to the manufacturer or supplier. While the testing is done in the labs, the supply team will work with the supplier or manufacturer and perform an investigation of their own by observing the manufacturing line. Based on the data, testing and observations, the supply team will bring their findings to light on what could be causing these failure parts to occur. From there, the manufacturer or supplier will work to correct these issues so that they do not occur again.
After the supply team has met with manufacturer, PowerLabs will continue to monitor and test the parts coming in from the manufacturer or supplier to make sure that they are making improvements. When the manufacturer’s failure rate goes down, their parts are no longer considered a risk and will be taken off the highly suspect equipment reliability issues list.
How Can Parts Quality Initiative Program be Used Across Industries?
The Parts Quality Initiative is a program that can be used across all industries. Any manufacturing facility, from a refinery to aerospace, all have critical parts that are necessary for them to succeed in their operation. These critical components can be found in their assembly lines, production lines or any place that is essential to their production. If these parts fail, it will cause more than just downtime, it will cost them money. That is why this program is important in helping ensure that these critical components will function properly.
Why Parts Quality Initiative Is the Answer?
The Parts Quality Initiative program was founded to safeguard against the high rates of downtime due to equipment reliability issues. PowerLabs is committed to working with manufacturers with high-failure rate parts to provide data and recommendations to solve the root cause of failure in manufacturing.