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Benefits and Success Stories

"Some describe [robust engineering] as just plain good engineering and not all that joltingly new. Others view it as merely another fad. Using robust methods saved time and money in developing Saturn's manual and automatic transmissions, and also produced about 30 new patents."
- Robert C. Downs,
Chief Engineer-transmissions at GM's Saturn subsidiary

"...the early, methodical application of Quality Engineering [robust design]`best practices' within a disciplined product development process will yield improved reliability along with many other economic and quality related benefits."
- Skip Creveling,
Eastman Kodak Company

"The auto industry isn't alone in using robust engineering procedures. The philosophy has its converts in diverse industries such as aerospace, appliance manufacturing, and electronics. Proponents have developed mathematical formulas for measuring the "robustness" of individual designs and report cases of dramatic improvements when robust engineering guidelines have been applied to specific problems."
- (WARD'S Auto World - March 1994)

Sucess Stories

Allergan Medical Optics
(Accelerating Non-Linear Finite Elements Analysis Using Taguchi Techniques)

The objective was to improve the speed of computer solutions for Finite Element Analysis through proper settings of parameters in the computer program. After using Taguchi Methods to determine the optimum settings, a fivefold reduction of run-time was achieved.

Ann Arbor Assembly Corporation
(Parameter Design for a Heat Staking Process)

An experiment was conducted to find a combination of levels for the controllable factors that would produce good adhesion during the assembly of rubber gaskets to the body portion of automobile hood hinges, in the presence of a specified production. Good adhesions are now achieved more consistently, and an annual cost savings of $18,000 was realized in the reduction of scrap and rework, and an overall total of more than $50,000 in annual savings.

AT&T Bell Laboratories
(Computer Response-Time Optimization Using Orthogonal Array Experiments)

The objective was to reduce a computer system's response time under a specified range of load and environmental conditions. This was achieved by simultaneously studying a large number of system parameters, as opposed to studying one parameter at a time. The resulting optimum system configuration gave a 60% reduction in mean response time.

CDI/3M Healthcare
(Oxygen Sensor Variability Reduction)

The variability of measured value from an oxygen sensor used for open heart surgery was reduced by 70%. In addition (using a double-signal approach), a robust function was developed to compensate for changes in blood temperature.

Chrysler Motors Engineering
(Sheet-Molded Compound Process Improvement)

The objective was to identify controllable and significant material and process variables that could minimize the effect of Sheet-Molded Compound (SMC) formulation. First-time-through capability of the finished product improved from 77% to 96%. Supplier scrap was reduced from 16% to 1.7%. Reduced inspection cost repair and costs due to optimization are estimated at $900,000 per year.

Eastman Kodak Company
(Pinch Roller System of Optimization: A Comparison Between Traditional DOE and Taguchi Methods)

"The time required to perform the data analysis for both the Taguchi and traditional analysis is comparable, and is insignificant compared to the time required for data gathering. For this study, the time required to gather data was approximately one hour per experiment. Twenty-seven experiments were required to generate the Taguchi data, and 60 experiments were required to perform the traditional analysis. The time required for the Taguchi experiments was only 45% of the time required for traditional experimentation.

Flex Technologies, Inc.
(Factors Affecting Solvent-Bonded Connector Durability: Optimization of the Strength of an Emission Control Harness Assembly)

This study investigated the improvement of automotive emission control harnesses. This product must conduct vacuum signals to various devices that alter the combustion engine's performance to minimize emissions. A low but noticeable number of solvent-bonded harnesses were found separated in finished assemblies. Application of Taguchi's methods resulted in a reduction in parts failure from 17% to 1.1%. As a result, an inspection cost savings of $200 per 1,000 pieces was realized on monthly production of 500,000. ($1.2 million annually).

Ford Motor Company
(Fuel Pump Flow)

The variability range in fuel pump flow was reduced by 65%. Development of a new fuel pump with severe requirements was completed eight months prior to plan as a result of this study.

Hy-Lift Division, SPX Corporation
(Cold-Start Noise Reduction for Hydraulic Roller Tappets)

The objective was to reduce cold-start noise in a 5.2 litre V-8 gasoline engine. As a result of this study, tappet noise was reduced by 75%, and an estimated annual savings of $4,900,000 was achieved.

ITT Suprenant
(High Voltage, High Temperature Wire Strip Force Optimization)

This study examined strip-force problems associated with one type of high-voltage, high-temperature wire used in the electronic OEM marketplace. Variability of strip-force was the primary cause of rejection. The objective was to minimize strip-force variation around a target value. As a result of bringing the process under control, an annual savings in material and production cost of $100,000 was achieved.

Lucas Girling Ltd.
(Optimization of the Strength of Diesel Injection)

The objective was to reduce the rework rate of a diesel injector on the assembly and test operation. After the first stage of Taguchi Methods implementation, a 17% reduction in rework was realized and another 4% after a second stage of implementation. This equates to an annual cost savings of 14,880 pounds sterling.

North American Reiss, Kenkor Division
(Optimization of a Hot-Stamping Process)

Taguchi Methods, specifically Parameter Design, was used to assist design engineers in developing a product that both meets their needs and is manufacturable. In less than one month, a hot-stamping process was both established and optimized. The results not only yielded 100% conformance, but enabled the design engineers to develop realistic product requirements in less than half the normal time.

Nissan Motor
(Brake Pad Study)

Using dynamic characteristics, Nissan improved the efficiency of the energy transformation to the brake pad. Overall weight of the brake system was reduced and squeal rate was reduced to 4% of the original condition. Nissan Technical Center conducts 70 projects annually, all using dynamic characteristics.

Rockwell International
(Space Shuttle Main Engine Nozzle Brazing Improvement)

Improvement of the furnace brazing process resulted in a reduction in variation of 82%. Cycle time was reduced to 1/3 of the original process.

Sanpo Chemical
(Bean Sprout growing process)

This company broke the traditional bean sprout growing paradigm "Beans that grow fast do not have a good shelf life, and beans that grow slowly do not become large enough." The time to grow a bean sprout was reduced from 7 days to 4 days without affecting taste or shelf life, a 40% improvement in productivity.

(Copy machine paper arrival time)

Xerox reduced the variability in arrival time and paper orientation by 66%. Xerox is probably the most advanced user of Taguchi Methods in the U.S. They started implementation of Robust Design in 1982, and today the Robust Design approach is fully integrated into their product development process.

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