Belinda Jones’s picture

By: Belinda Jones

Robert James had what it takes to start a manufacturing company focused on oil-free air and gas compressors—history, expertise, and the willingness to take a second chance on a business he knows well. Nearly 40 years ago, his father William James, began producing oil-free air compressors under the trade name Aeroflow Industries. Aeroflow compressors quickly gained a reputation for longevity and dependability, and soon oil-free gas compressors were introduced to their product line. The company was sold by the James family in 1990 and the name changed to Hycomp.

In 1997, Robert James purchased Hycomp back. As a young boy, he worked on the shop floor of the family business and had a “feel” for the business. James began to reassess the marketplace, and moved to expand the business to include the production of air boosters. The company teamed up with key manufacturers of onsite nitrogen generation systems, and began a hard push to develop and add nitrogen boosters to their product line. Today, Hycomp has a global clientele, and serves a wide range of industries such as pharmaceuticals, oil and natural gas production, laser cutting, and food and beverage

Miriam Boudreaux’s picture

By: Miriam Boudreaux

Story update 8/21/2009: We corrected an error regarding the function of the accreditation body.


I’ve worked with several companies over the years and dealt with different individuals, different processes, and different levels of ISO 9001 understanding. However, when an organization is getting ready to apply for ISO 9001 certification, the question most often asked is: “Are we going to pass the audit?" Similar questions I've been asked are:

"How many of your clients have passed the audit?"

"How many of your clients failed the audit?"

And after I have conducted an internal audit, the usual question is, of course, “Did we pass?”

Those seem to be very simple questions and a yes or no should suffice, however the truth of the matter is that ISO 9001 audits don't have a grade, there is no pass or fail status or there is no pass or fail grade. 

Please visit our blog on the ISO Audit Results and Nonconformities for a detail explanation on what constitute an audit finding, or nonconformity.

David C. Crosby’s picture

By: David C. Crosby

If you are not actively selling quality, you’re missing the boat. Quality (both goodness and conformance), should be sold inside and outside of your company. A song from an old Broadway musical says, “How are you going to conquer the world if nobody knows you’re there?” Good question.

Selling quality outside

I have two definitions of quality and it’s important to understand the difference.

If you’re making a product or providing a service, the first definition is “free of defects” or “conformance to the requirement.” That means the product is exactly what you promised your customer. There are several highfalutin’ definitions of quality, but they are all nonsense. Don’t bother with them.

The second definition of quality is “Goodness.” It’s how good your product is in the marketplace. Lincoln is “gooder” than Mercury. Mercury is “gooder” than Ford, a Rolls Royce is “gooder” than all of them. How do I know Rolls is “gooder?” Rolls told me so.

IBS America’s picture

By: IBS America

Madico, the world’s preeminent manufacturer of metalized, coated, and laminated films, has been producing high quality manufactured film systems since 1903. Located in Woburn, Massachusetts, the hi-tech ISO 9001-certified firm has more than 170 employees.

A quality and compliance management system was hardly a priority for Madico in its first 96 years of existence. Company documentation had been handled in much the same way as it  had in the past—in paper systems stored in a selection of binders distributed to multiple departments at its various locations. With hundreds of different products, each with its own specification, the inherent problem with this particular system was ensuring that all employees were using the most current revision of each specification, a situation that was not always the case.

Currently, with three distribution sites, sales offices in California, Florida, and Arizona, as well as their main manufacturing and corporate offices in Massachusetts, there was a need for everyone to have access to the most up-to-date documentation. As the system was setup, that was almost impossible, as paper documentation was stored in 34 locations within the Woburn plant in up to five three-inch binders at each location.

Stewart Anderson’s picture

By: Stewart Anderson

Today, more than ever, the quest for productivity, quality, and speed has spawned a significant number of techniques and tools: lean manufacturing or service, business process improvement; Six Sigma, total quality management, and so forth. Although the operational improvements resulting from these practices have often been dramatic and impressive, many companies remain frustrated by their inability to translate those gains into superior profitability and growth.

“Determine value from the perspective of the customer,” is the oft-heard mantra from adherents of lean, Six Sigma, and other quality improvement programs. Yet, how often do we really do this? Many times, when we start drawing our value stream or process maps, after we place that customer box in the top right corner of the map, we then go right to the process flow, begin mapping the system, and then start applying tools to it. But, the system serves the customer—indeed it must include the customer—and is the reason why the system exists in the first place.

Geoff Bilau’s picture

By: Geoff Bilau

Mario Angeles was stuck. His family-operated machine shop, Angeles Precision Engineering LLC, was busy enough with work farmed out to it by larger shops, but Angeles had been repeatedly rebuffed in his attempts to secure a long-term contract on his own; especially one from the “Big Four” aerospace firms.

“We used to meet people from the four big ones—Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon—and ask them what we could do to earn their business,” Angeles says. “The first question they would ask is ‘Are you ISO 9001 certified?’ ” When Angeles told them he was not, he understood the uphill battle he was fighting.

“They would say, ‘If I have 100 shops I give work to and they’re all certified, why should I take work from them to give you?” he says. “ ‘What assurance can you give me that you’ll deliver higher quality work than the others?’ ” Angeles quickly discovered his word alone wasn’t worth much to the “Big Four.”

Barry Johnson’s picture

By: Barry Johnson

You see it all the time. After an initial flurry of excitement and support, an organization’s operational excellence effort bogs down. Regardless of the tools or methodologies used, passion dies down and focus gets diverted to other issues. It doesn’t matter if a company utilizes lean, Six Sigma, theory of constraints, or other tool sets; after a period of time, project velocity decreases and cycle times grow. How can an organization kick-start and reenergize its efforts? This article walks us through this question by looking at fictional company Weaver Industries to see how they pumped new life into their lean Six Sigma effort.

Change management

A critical aspect of any operational excellence philosophy is change management. Change is a scary word for most people, and it seems like the stars have to align in order for change to happen. In effect, the stars do have to align; at least all of the elements of change must be present. Figure 1 shows the elements of change, and the consequences of not having all elements in place.


Figure 1. Elements needed for change to occur

Li Zongming’s default image

By: Li Zongming

Design of experiments (DOE) is a crucial tool in Six Sigma quality management and its application is widespread in Japan; nevertheless, many manufacturing companies in other countries have not formally adopted it because of its complex concepts and costs. As a matter of fact, the essence of the DOE method lies in optimizing the parameters of engineering design and mass production. This article features a case study of reducing tire leakage rate with DOE method.


DOE is a statistically organized method that is implemented by altering (changing the levels) inputs (factors) and then observing the output (the interaction effects among various factors and the response of specific quality characteristics); that is, y=f(x) where x stands for input and y stands for output. The philosophy of the DOE approach originates from British mathematician R.A. Fisher in the early 20th century.

Full factorial design (FFD), also called a fully-crossed design, measures the effect of each factor on a response variable. That is to say, all possible combinations of levels and factors are treated.

Andreas Eberhard’s picture

By: Andreas Eberhard

Modern equipment can be sensitive to brief disturbances on utility power mains. Electrical systems are subject to a wide variety of power quality problems that can interrupt production processes, affect sensitive equipment, and cause downtime, scrap, and capacity losses. The most common disturbance, by far, is a sag: a brief reduction in voltage lasting a few hundred milliseconds.

Sags are commonly caused by fuse or breaker operation, motor starting, or capacitor switching, but they are also triggered by short circuits on the power distribution system caused by events such as snakes slithering across insulators, trenching machines hitting underground cables, and lightning ionizing the air around high-voltage lines. Many utilities report that 80 percent of electrical disturbances originate within the user’s facility.

A decade ago, the solution to voltage sags was to try to fix them by somehow storing enough energy and releasing it onto the AC mains when voltage dropped. Some of the old solutions included an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), flywheels, and ferroresonant transformers.

William Tandler’s picture

By: William Tandler

Formatting constraints prevent us from formatting this article in a way that might make it easier for the reader to understand. If you have problems understanding the web version of this article, download a pdf by clicking here.

1. Introduction

In March 2009 the ASME released a new Y14.5 standard, the first since 1994, and there is much in it of great interest and benefit. In order to help potential users decide whether or not to adopt it, we attempt to cast some light on its most important novelties. To set the stage, we start with a definition of GD&T as a whole, in order to be sure we are all on the same page. Next we ask why a new standard might be interesting. Finally, we provide a brief overview of the contents of this evaluation before we go into detail.

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