Statistical Process Control

1147 words 5 pages
Statistical process control (SPC) is the application of statistical methods to the monitoring and control of a process to ensure that it operates at its full potential to produce conforming product. Under SPC, a process behaves predictably to produce as much conforming product as possible with the least possible waste. While SPC has been applied most frequently to controlling manufacturing lines, it applies equally well to any process with a measurable output. Key tools in SPC are control charts, a focus on continuous improvement and designed experiments.
Much of the power of SPC lies in the ability to examine a process and the sources of variation in that process using tools that give weight to objective analysis over subjective opinions
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Most often used for manufacturing processes, the intent of SPC is to monitor product quality and maintain processes to fixed targets. Statistical quality control refers to using statistical techniques for measuring and improving the quality of processes and includes SPC in addition to other techniques, such as sampling plans, experimental design, variation reduction, process capability analysis, and process improvement plans.
SPC is used to monitor the consistency of processes used to manufacture a product as designed. It aims to get and keep processes under control. No matter how good or bad the design, SPC can ensure that the product is being manufactured as designed and intended. Thus, SPC will not improve a poorly designed product's reliability, but can be used to maintain the consistency of how the product is made and, therefore, of the manufactured product itself and its as-designed reliability.
A primary tool used for SPC is the control chart, a graphical representation of certain descriptive statistics for specific quantitative measurements of the manufacturing process. These descriptive statistics are displayed in the control chart in comparison to their "in-control" sampling distributions. The comparison detects any unusual variation in the manufacturing process, which could indicate a problem with the process. Several different descriptive statistics can be used in control charts and there are several different types of control charts that can test for

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