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3. Production Process Characterization
3.1. Introduction to Production Process Characterization


PPC Steps

Follow these 4  steps to ensure efficient use of resources The primary activity of a PPC is to collect and analyze data so that we may draw conclusions about and ultimately improve our production processes. In many industrial applications, access to production facilities for the purposes of conducting experiments is very limited.  Thus we must be very careful in how we go about these activities so that we can be sure of doing them in a cost-effective manner.
Step 1: Plan The most important step by far is the planning step. By faithfully executing this step, we will ensure that we only collect data in the most efficient manner possible and still support the goals of the PPC. Planning should generate the following:
  • a statement of the goals
  • a descriptive process model (a list of process inputs and outputs)
  • a description of the sampling plan (including a description of the procedure and settings to be used to run the process during the study with clear assignments for each person involved)
  • a description of the method of data collection, tasks and responsibilities, formatting, and storage
  • an outline of the data analysis
All decisions that affect how the characterization will be conducted should be made during the planning phase. The process characterization should be conducted according to this plan, with all exceptions noted.
Step 2: Collect Data collection is essentially just the execution of the sampling plan part of the previous step. If a good job were done in the planning step, then this step should be pretty straightforward. It is important to execute to the plan as closely as possible and to note any exceptions.
Step 3: Analyze and interpret This is the combination of quantitative (regression, ANOVA, correlation, etc.) and graphical (histograms, scatter plots, box plots, etc.) analysis techniques that are applied to the collected data in order to accomplish the goals of the PPC.
Step 4: Report Reporting is an important step that should not be overlooked.  By creating an informative report and archiving it in an accessible place, we can ensure that others have access to the information generated by the PPC. Often, the work involved in a PPC can be minimized by using the results of other, similar studies. Examples of PPC reports can be found in the Case Studies section.
Further information The planning and data collection steps are described in detail in the data collection section. The analysis and interpretation steps are covered in detail in the analysis section. Examples of the reporting step can be seen in the Case Studies.
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