Stekelenburg, D.T.; Z. Lukszo and J. Lowe: Improvement of the production process of leached optical fibers in a technological and organizational context, pp. 1-6. In: Proceedings of the 18th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering – ESCAPE 18, June 1-4 (2008). At: Lyon, France. [s.l.]: Elsevier, 2008. Eds.: Bertrand Braunschweig and Xavier Joulia. ISBN: 978-0-444-53228-2. Also published in Computer-Aided Chemical Engineering 25 (2008). International Proceedings (refereed)
Many contemporary products are relatively small-volume high-value added items which are generally produced in batch production processes. These types of processes are becoming more and more important as markets change quickly and require markets to adapt. Batch-wise production provides the necessary flexibility to respond to these changes. This research project focuses upon complex batch processes with high quality demands which are hard to meet. The production of leached optical fibers at SCHOTT North America Inc (SCHOTT) is examined to identify, apply and test a method which is generally applicable for improving and stabilizing the yield of complex batch processes. The fibers produced at SCHOTT are used in health care and must satisfy strict quality requirements. The yield of fibers meeting the quality standards varies greatly and it is unknown which factors determine the yield and the extent of their influence. The company-dedicated goal of this research was to assist the plant of SCHOTT in implementing and executing a quality improvement process. Existing literature offers little support to the organizational aspect of quality improvement trajectories. Therefore specific attention is paid to the organizational consequences of implementing an improvement process In this research, response surface methodology is successfully applied to identify causal relationships between factors that impact production process performance and the yield The optimal settings of these factors are then defined through the use of a regression model. The regression model that is used incorporates the factors of influence on product quality and their relative importance to the production of leached optical fibers at SCHOTT. The same technique can be applied to other production processes. Lastly, an implementation plan is defined to guide organizations towards successful implementation of improvement measures. In order to successfully execute this quality improvement trajectory, a guideline for managing such processes is proposed and applied.