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Crown Takes Quality to Next Level
Crown International has ensured its on-going reputation for high quality products by establishing a Strategic Quality Team and upgrading its factory in Elkhart, Indiana, to incorporate a Reliability Test Lab equipped with the industry’s most sophisticated and rigorous testing equipment.
Crown has always operated its own test equipment but in recent years its own testing criteria has become more stringent, which meant that some items had to be sent to outside laboratories for evaluation. By establishing its own comprehensive lab in-house, the company can now accelerate testing during the early phases of product development and conduct quality audits on lines already in production.
Heading up the Strategic Quality Team is Crown Senior Director of Engineering Bob Chadderdon, who says: “This initiative has replaced older equipment and supplemented our existing tools with state-of-the-art, higher-performance equipment offering much better data collection capabilities. Simply put, this new lab lets us do more, faster. We have also integrated our own Harman HiQnet products into the lab as signal sources so we can monitor and control long-term operational testing remotely.”
The equipment in the test lab does not only runs units through simulated environmental stress but also rakes them through some of the most extreme conditions imaginable. The machinery in the test lab provides the physical testing, but this is reinforced by the new Strategic Quality Team, which was developed to provide a more cognitive approach to testing.
“This is a cross-functional team dedicated to taking Crown’s quality to the next level: delivered quality, internal quality and, through development of best-practices, assuring that future products meet the highest expectations,” Chadderdon adds.
Among the members of this powerhouse team are an electrical design engineer, a mechanical design engineer, an industrial engineer and a more traditional quality engineer. One goal of this group is to identify opportunities and lead improvement projects that often involve several different functional departments and help guide internal process optimisation.
2nd January 2007
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