Quality early warning system use cases

The quality early warning system (QEWS) in IBM® Predictive Maintenance and Quality detects emerging quality problems sooner and with fewer false alarms than is typically achieved by traditional statistical process control. To achieve earlier detection, QEWS is sensitive to subtle changes in data values, such as shifts that are small in magnitude or trends that grow slowly over time. For a given level of statistical confidence, QEWS typically needs fewer data points than traditional statistical process control.

Early detection of quality problems is essential where delayed detection can have significant negative consequences, such as in the following scenarios:
  • Building a large inventory of defective products results in high scrap costs.
  • Shipping a large quantity of defective products to distribution channels or customers causes high warranty expenses.
  • Having widespread quality or reliability problems in the field results in damage to brand value.
  • Compromised production of supply-constrained materials or components prevents on-time shipment.
  • Compromised production of products with long manufacturing times results in shipment delays.

Products are the subjects of QEWS analyses. A product is typically a part or a part assembly, but it can also be a process or a material. Products might be used in larger finished assemblies, which QEWS calls resources.

QEWS offers three use cases. Quality inspection detects unfavorable changes in the quality of components. Warranty detects warranty issues sooner than they might otherwise be detected, which results in fewer warranty claims and lower costs. Parametric detects unfavorable changes in variable-type data, and provides information that facilitates diagnostics and alarm prioritization.