Standards Forum

in Vol. 5 - January Issue - Year 2004
Controlling Quality Through Training
Author: Paul Huyton, Managing Director of Surface Dynamics uk Ltd

Author: Paul Huyton, Managing Director of Surface Dynamics uk Ltd

This column is a regular feature and will be authored by one of our MFN trainers. Readers are invited to send comments or questions to info@mfn.li. For more information about the trainers, see www.mfn.li link workshops. by Shlomo D. Ramati of IAI, Israel Aircraft Industries

by Paul Huyton

How do we control the quality of the shot peening process? Is it by monitoring the compressed air pressure, coverage or shot condition? These issues are very important, but nothing is more important than the capability of the people undertaking the peening operation. This is a requirement of quality standards and peening specifications throughout the industry.

Consider ISO 9000:2000. This standard has moved beyond rigid documentary control to give greater emphasis on operator capability and training. An accredited organization must “ensure that its personnel are aware of the relevance and importance of their activities and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives”. So just teaching our operator to “push the buttons” is not sufficient; deeper knowledge of the process is also required.
All peening specifications expect operator competence and some also lay-down particular requirements for training. Airbus peening specification ABP 1-2028 demands that personnel have documented training and can demonstrate knowledge and competence. Even with sophisticated equipment and best quality shot a supplier would be non-conforming if the relevant personnel do not have certified training.
Staff development and training will impress a modern quality auditor more than heaps of quality control documents. In some cases evidence of appropriate training can reduce control documentation, providing savings in administration and reductions in process cycle times; another good return on the investment in training.
Continuous improvement is another great driver in industry; not only a quality standard requirement but a necessity in an increasingly competitive environment. For continuous improvement we must monitor and review process performance so we need a clear comprehension of the subject. We may monitor peening intensity and coverage so we need staff who fully understand these two concepts and who can accurately measure these parameters every time. We also need sufficient knowledge to set deviation limits and reduce the “scatter” from the target values. Clearly, training is essential for continuous improvement.
An engineer once visited my office and commented on my Peening Workshop certificates, proudly displayed on the wall. He said that as he had worked for a notable peening contractor, he had no need to attend a workshop. Now, I mean no disrespect to this well-known organization, but the best technology recognizes input from a range of sources and continually up-dates. In-house training is fine, but a workshop is a chance to verify that we are using and teaching the best standards of technology. Several years ago I was at a workshop, sitting behind three engineers from a very large aviation company. The session was about intensity measurement, the very foundation of the peening process. After a while, one of the engineers leaned over and whispered to the other two “We’ve been doing it wrong!” Well, let’s hope that they are now doing it right. It was an example that even in large, reputable organizations bad-practice can creep into established procedures.
It is also important to recognize the importance of informal training and market intelligence. ISO 9000:2000 now requires that this type of input is used in the business process. A workshop brings together many different aspects of the industry, so there is great potential for sharing knowledge. Broader understanding in the correct application of peening increases confidence in the process and helps the industry to grow and develop.
I am looking forward to the workshop in Coventry in May 2004. Although I am on the training staff, I expect to learn a lot. I hope to meet many of you there.

Author: Paul Huyton