Poka-Yoke, Revolutionary Manufacturing Process Helps Ensure Highest Quality and Safety for MOOG Customers
Poka-yoke. It’s an unusual, almost playful, name for a lean manufacturing process that has revolutionized the automotive industry.
During the 1960s, Japanese automakers had dreams of becoming serious competitors to leading European and North American brands. What was holding them back, however, was a perception among consumers that Japanese cars were riddled with quality problems. This perception gradually changed in late 1960s and early to mid-1970s thanks to Japanese OEMs’ use of lean manufacturing processes that enabled them to dramatically improve quality while keeping car prices low.
Poka-yoke was one of the cornerstone processes of this new manufacturing approach. It describes any system that prevents, corrects or draws attention to a human error. A commonly cited example of a poka-yoke is the system that requires drivers of manual transmission vehicles to depress the clutch in order to start the car.
MOOG is using poka-yokes and other proven processes within its highly automated assembly and quality control systems to ensure that every MOOG part meets the most stringent quality and performance standards.
As one example, MOOG assembly operations in Europe utilize programmable logic controllers equipped with electronic sensors to immediately halt the processing of subcomponents and assemblies that do not conform with pre-established specifications.
Conventional manufacturing processes commonly rely on human intervention to ensure that each product falls within required tolerances. But even the most diligent employees cannot consistently achieve zero defects – a manufacturing or assembly process could be skipped, a machine set up incorrectly or a wrong subcomponent used.
With poka-yokes and other advanced quality checks, these risks are eliminated and zero-defect production becomes a genuine opportunity.
“All of us at MOOG are justifiably proud of the brand’s 102-year heritage of developing high quality steering and suspension parts that help keep consumers safe and satisfied behind the wheel,” said Gultekin Hazer, Executive Director of Quality EMEA Aftermarket. “With this history comes the responsibility to meet the highest standards of workshop professionals and consumers. That’s why we have invested in leading-edge automated production technologies within our European assembly facility.”
All of us at MOOG are justifiably proud of the brand’s 102-year heritage of developing high quality steering and suspension parts that help keep consumers safe and satisfied behind the wheel
Getting Smarter Every Day
Poka-yokes and other lean manufacturing processes do much more than identify defects and other potential problems. They also shape future engineering and manufacturing decisions through machine learning and other continuous improvement strategies. If a particular component has a high incidence of non-conforming characteristics, this intelligence can ultimately lead to design changes or even the use of new materials and/or machining processes. This continuous loop of measurement, analysis, improvement and control opens the door to even tighter manufacturing tolerances and longer lasting, better performing parts.
“Customers – installers and vehicle owners – depend on MOOG for superior quality parts that meet the unique performance requirements of each corresponding vehicle,” Gultekin Hazer said. “The MOOG brand is a mark of excellence for workshop professionals around the world and we continue to invest in the latest and best technologies to build on this hard-earned reputation.”