How to Improve First Pass Yield

by Jason Bullard, on May 9, 2023 3:12:33 PM

Accelerate error-proofing goals in your assembly process. 



First pass yield is a metric that measures the percentage of quality units produced at the end of a manufacturing or assembly process, relative to the number that should have been produced. While there are plenty of important KPIs that all successful manufacturers monitor, first pass yield is perhaps the best for evaluating the efficacy and efficiency of a production process. First pass yield is related to first time quality (FTQ), which measures the percentage of correctly assembled/completed products at the start of a new production run.

Anytime a manufacturer moves beyond prototype into production, the stakes are raised. Quality issues, reworks, and process changes can be costly, and manufacturers risk losing their margin on the product—which is why improving first pass yield is so critically important. Improvements in first pass yield lead to less wasted labor and material, as well as potentially significant savings in time, cost, and quality.

The question is how to make these improvements—and the answer, for growing numbers of manufacturers, is with connected process control. Leaders in this space offer a suite of connected process control solutions that are deployable in a virtually unlimited range of production environments. The best solutions are flexible, scalable, and comprehensive, capable of generating remarkable improvements in efficiency, quality, and consistency. Connected process control solutions do exactly what the name promises: give manufacturers greater control over production processes.

With precise control over production processes, including guidance that enables the correct digital instructions and manufacturing tolerances, you can help ensure that each production step is followed—and completed—appropriately. Without that control, first pass yield and FTQ can suffer, as operators have more room for error. With more options comes more opportunities for error, and without a mechanism to provide operators with real-time guidance, scanning, and verification, there are going to be inevitable and unavoidable potential quality issues in the production process.

But connected process control is more than just guidance and verification; it’s a holistic approach that begins even before the first production run. The best of these connected process control solutions allows the engineers to create the production process during the prototyping phase—all within a no-code platform and intuitive user interface. Because engineers can create each production process within their ecosystem from the start, it’s possible to conduct virtual test runs for new processes and products. By leveraging existing processes, engineers can quickly modify and deploy similar products or processes in a new production environment.

This level of design verification rigor is especially valuable—one of the most common causes of first pass yield errors is an oversight on the part of the engineer(s) defining the process with potential missed steps. By eliminating those avoidable errors up front, and by making dry runs throughout the system, engineers can validate processes before actual production begins. To verify that all critical-to-quality elements are satisfied, connected process control solutions can make a tremendously positive impact well before any material resources are committed to actual production.

In addition to greater control over the process, such solutions also enable more visibility into when, what, and why adjustments are needed. Because everything is precisely tracked, operators can use this technology to conduct a detailed root-cause analysis when issues arise. When operators and engineers can see exactly where and when a faulty part was installed or a misstep was made, they are usually able to make those adjustments or refinements quickly and address them effectively.

The prevalence of first pass yield issues varies considerably, based in part on the complexity of the product and the corresponding complexity of the manufacturing or assembly process required to complete that product. But in cases where connected process control solutions are introduced, there has been a significant and sometimes dramatic improvement in first pass yield and FTQ metrics. This exciting frontier in manufacturing technology is bringing industry professionals one step closer to the elusive goal of error-free production—the first time, and every time.

Topics:OpinionLean ManufacturingQuality ManagementConnected Process Control

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