Although the Quality Management Software (QMS) module of a Manufacturing Enterprise System (MES) is nothing new, quality data from finished products are still rudimentary for most industries other than the heavily regulated pharmaceutical/biotech industry. Quality control of the data that assess damage from transportation of equipment, or incorrect or out of spec installation is almost non-existent. 

We will explain this via the lifecycle of a vacuum pump for specificity. MachineSense™ implemented such a process to monitor quality of the transportation and installation for Novatec Inc.’s vacuum pump product line. In the plastic processing industry, vacuum pumps used in the conveying process of plastic pellets consist of 4 major sub-assemblies, the motor, belt, blower, and PLC/controller, each of which comes from different vendors.

Product Line Quality Control

The blower can be a source of poor pump quality for two main reasons. Bad quality blowers leak easily, and blowers produced with mechanical defects are not easy to detect without being in use for continuous operation. To ensure consistent blower and motor quality, the MachineSense™ Machine QC application looks at the vibration signature of the blower and motor after assembling the pump. The pump is made to operate with a specified vacuum level and pattern – each of which is known to generate a consistent vibration pattern. If the pattern is not repeated, the QC software can identify the issue whether it is the process or vendor parts.

Transportation Damage

When the pump is installed in the factory, its vibration/vacuum signature will be studied during first 24 hours. If there was any damage to the pump during transportation, then the analysis of the pump’s signatures will show there is a significant deviation.

Fitting Issues/ Sub-optimal Operation

These pumps are fitted on a vacuum line. If either the lines are not cleaned regularly (including filter cleaning) or the pump is fitted in the wrong position, the pump will have to create a vacuum higher than its recommended level which will cause the blower to quickly deteriorate. These abnormal vibrations and vacuums are detected and reported to the users of the pumps automatically via email and SMS and customer service is able to receive these notifications as well.

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