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Editor’s choice


Ensuring quality audits go up a gear


R


imstock is Britain’s leading alloy wheel manufacturer, it designs, manufacturers and supplies to some of the world’s most


prestigious auto marques including Lotus, Alpina, BMW and McLaren. Based in West Bromwich its engineering plant specialises in the advanced manufacturing of forged and cast aluminium wheels for OEMs, motorsport, defence, concept and aftermarket sectors.


What Rimstock needed


The automotive market has been challenging recently for Rimstock, Brexit and the resulting economic uncertainty and increasing emissions targets meant the need to stay competitive through innovative design and unrivalled service was ever present. The manufacturer responded by beginning its digitalisation journey to help streamline quality inspection audits beginning with its state-of-the-art paint facility. Having recently joined Rimstock as its new


operations manager, Mike Wise knew that the manual paper-based approach to inspection audits and compliance that the manufacturer relied on was in need of urgent review. Returns and the associated costs had been


escalating, creating added pressure since each returned alloy wheel had to either be reworked or manufactured incurring further costs. This was all a major concern for a manufacturer whose reputation depends on delivering the very highest quality. Having spearheaded digitalisation projects in a


previous role where he introduced WorkfloPlus from Intoware to enable the business to go paperless. Mike Wise aimed to use this digital ’tool’ once again to improve Rimstock’s inspection and compliance audits and prove beyond doubt its products are always defect free when they leave the plant. WorkfloPlus would also provide the


quantifiable data needed for Rimstock’s failure mode effects analysis (FMEA), where paint line characteristics for example, are measured to help improve its production processes by looking at where any failures occur to ensure the highest quality standards. Previously, inspection and compliance audits


were completed manually using check sheets that were then filed by its quality control technicians. The problem with this was that these lists could be easily misplaced or damaged as they would often be filed the next day. This meant that when it came to large external audits, it would take a couple of weeks for staff to manually check for these types of errors or the manufacturer would risk not being able to supply at all.


14 March 2021 Instrumentation Monthly hoW digitalisation deliveRs


By introducing WorkfloPlus integrated with tablets its quality control technicians can easily follow digital instructions to complete quality audits and compliance tasks. The technicians are required to log when the process has been completed, by whom and upload supporting photos taken with their tablets, so the data is accurate for compliance purposes and is easily shared with key customers. Rimstock’s technicians quickly found


WorkfloPlus easy to operate for routine quality audits, simply following the instructions on the tablet to complete the audits step-by-step, it is currently used for 15-20 workflows a week and can be easily updated as new parts come online. Mike Wise comments: “Our largest customers


are European based, so the ability to share images of the finished product is of huge importance to us. We had been experiencing problems with one of our key customers, but once WorkfloPlus was introduced any issues dropped right off as our new automated system is so robust. “WorkfloPlus allows us to show the engravings


on individual parts and of course you can enlarge the photo for even finer detail. It also means that lots of the many smaller checks are never missed, like checking the paint film build next to the cap, it’s easy to forget unless you have digital instructions to follow.


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