In order to deliver the highest quality products to our customers, we have implemented several quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement systems. Our primary goal is to maintain a robust quality system that emphasizes defect prevention and reduction of waste in the supply chain. Some of the salient features of our Continuous Improvement systems are as follows:
- ISO 9002 certified in1995.
- QS 9000 certified in 1998.
- Automotive high reliability certified in 2001
- TS 16949 certified in 2003.
- ISO 9000:2000 in 2003
- ISO 14001 certified in 2005
- AS 9100 certified in 2007
Quality & Reliability Testing
To ensure our customers receive product that is of world-class quality, we utilize inside and outside testing capabilities. On a daily basis we manufacture a test panel that includes all of our capabilities. Once it is complete, we steam age the panel for 8 hours, test for solderability, cross section all the hole sizes to verify plating quality, and then test for Ionic Contamination. This is done on a daily basis, but every year we fabricate a daisy chain test panel and send it out for High Temperature Storage (125°C), Temperature Cycling (-45 C - 125 C, 1000hrs.), and High Humidity (100%, 1000 hrs.). These samples must maintain less than 10% resistance and then they are micro sectioned to verify the visual characteristics. In addition to these tests, we perform extensive Ionic Contamination tests, solderability tests, resistance to chemical tests, and Autoclave.
Saturn uses quality circles to find ways to improve each production process within the plant. A team of people assembles in each area of production (not necessarily their own) and they look for areas for improvement. Brainstorming meetings are held and all feasible changes are implemented. This program allows operators to contribute towards continuous improvement programs, while gaining knowledge about other processes other than their own.
Production Part Approval Process
PPAP is used in the automotive supply chain to establish confidence in component suppliers
and their production processes by demonstrating that all customer engineering design record and specification requirements are
properly understood by the supplier and that the process has the potential to produce product consistently meeting these
requirements during an actual production run at the quoted production rate.
Internal Quality Audits
Saturn has an Internal Audit system in place, which audits all key elements of our business quality management system every three months. The system verifies whether quality activities comply with planned arrangements, and it also determines the effectiveness of the quality system. A group of trained personnel are assigned to conduct these audits.
Continuous Employee Certification Program
Saturn employees are not authorized to work on their own until they pass a certification program for each process in which they are involved. All employees undergo retraining and recertification every six months.
Zero Defect Areas
Drilling, Routing, Scoring, Image, Electro-plating, Etching, and First Article Inspection are declared as zero defect areas. A zero-defect area is a process in which a single non-conformance must be investigated to find the source of the problem and a permanent action will be taken to prevent it from reoccurring.
Calibration and Preventive Maintenance Program
All equipment at Saturn has its own Calibration and Preventive Maintenance schedule. A well-developed system is established and monitored on a regular basis.
Currently, we have 5 process engineers in charge of 3 geographic departments within Saturn (Drilling, Imaging, & Plating). They also have the responsibility of maintaining our Quality Control System. We recently acquired and implemented a software package to automate and streamline the arduously manual task of managing our quality initiatives.
We chose CEBOS's MQ1 Quality Management System (Brighton, Michigan) as our vendor of choice. CEBOS provides an integrated suite of enterprise-class software modules built to help businesses, like ours, operate more efficiently. MQ1 will automate and improve key business processes enabling us to more effectively comply with ISO and customer-specific requirements.