Quality assurance checks happen at every stage of the manufacturing process, and then boards are run through a battery of tests after they're completed.
"We have quality assurance checkpoints for every step," Rinehart said. "So, for example, after a board is run through the surface mount machine, the worker follows a check sheet and makes sure there's no cold solder or misplaced parts. For every point, whether it's surface mounting, machine insertion, or hand building, it's QA'd before it goes into the solder room, and after it's soldered, it's checked again. There's a final QA on the finished unit, of course, but there's an initial
QA point for every manufacturing process."
DPS never does statistical testing - each and every board is individually tested, not once but twice. The first bench test exercises each aspect of the hardware.
Afterwards, the unit is fully assembled. The circuit boards are mounted in the chassis, connectors are attached, and everything is secured together. The unit burns in overnight to detect any infant part mortality.
Finally, the finished product goes through a second battery of tests, run by a different technician, for an added layer of quality. Test results are logged into the DPS Production knowledge system.
For Rinehart, increasing the quality, speed, and efficiency of the Production Department is a matter of meeting her responsibility to DPS clients.
"The client sets the schedule by telling us when he wants the delivery. When an order comes in the first thing I do is look at the due date and figure out what I need to do to meet or beat that delivery date. One of my main goals is to ship before the due date."
Rinehart added that DPS's Production Department has a history of continuous improvement. "We've definitely gotten faster over the years. We've learned how to use our machines better, we've learned how to schedule our time, and we've learned from our mistakes. Compared to where we were several years ago, we've improved by at least 50%." Rinehart said.
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