quality control

Quality control is an essential part of any metal fabrication process. Without defined and established standards and predetermined quality control procedures, it would be very difficult for any metal fabricator to continuously produce high quality products and satisfy their customers’ needs. There are many procedures involved in metal fabrication, including: drawing and specifications, welding procedures and inspections, welder qualifications, materials, handling, storage, and shipping. Every procedure needs to have an established standard as well as an inspection policy. This is why we have a quality control program and why we are ISO certified.

What Is the ISO 9001:2015 Standard?

 

ISO 9001 is the international standard. It was first published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO is an international agency composed of the national standards bodies of more than 160 countries. ISO 9001 specifies requirements for a quality management system that organizations can use to demonstrate their ability to provide quality products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

The 2015 standard provides a framework for a systematic approach to managing our processes and procedures. Prior to the adoption of the 2015 standard, the underlying approach to quality control could be summed up as “Say what you do, and do what you say.”

With the 2015 standard, the ISO chose to emphasize risk management, changing clauses within the standard and adding more value from a practical standpoint. The new standard’s approach is: “What are the risks? What could go wrong that would cause a quality issue?” From a customer standpoint, this is extremely valuable.

D+M Metal Products is ISO 9001:2015 certified. Our auditor is ASR, American Systems Register. Their regular auditing is part of our checks-and-balances system. It provides evidence that we follow our processes and procedures. We have an internal auditing system in place as well.

Why Is Quality Control Important?

 

The certification is valuable for a number of reasons. First, our compliance with the ISO 9001:2015 standard ensures that D+M Metal Products’ customers receive products that satisfy their expectations for quality manufacture as well as safety. We rigorously test the components and parts fabricated at our facility for quality and durability. They meet predetermined specifications that are agreed upon by both customer and manufacturer.

The ISO certificate is also valuable as it assures our suppliers and all businesses that we deal with that we have processes in place to guarantee quality. This means they do not have to spend their time researching us. The ISO certification provides the information to them already. We are, essentially, vetted as a result of the auditing process and the proof it provides of ISO standard compliance.

If you have questions about D+M Metal’s quality control program, please feel free to contact us. We desire to be transparent with our customers about our policies and procedures, and we are committed to providing our customers with superior quality products that are fabricated to their specifications.







Back in October, we highlighted the FIRST Robotics organization and the team that D+M Metal Products sponsors, That One Team. The team completed their season and sent us some information about the FIRST Robotics competition process and how they finished. They had a very successful 6th season learning, building, and demonstrating their robot.

The First Robotics Competition

 

The FIRST Robotics competition works like this: In January FIRST gives teams around the world a challenge. These teams then have six weeks to build a robot that can accomplish this challenge. When they are finished building, they compete against each other in tournaments to discover which team’s robotic invention accomplishes its goals best. Teams receive awards for design, performance, interaction with other teams, and team spirit.

The FIRST organization describes it this way:

“Under strict rules, limited resources, and an intense six-week time limit, teams of students are challenged to raise funds, design a team "brand," hone teamwork skills, and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship.”

That One Team qualified for the state championships and from there went all the way to the FIRST World Championship which was held in Detroit. They earned the Autonomous Award for their efforts. Here’s what That One Team had to say:

20 students, a practice bot, a robot in a bag, 3 district competitions, a district championship, and a World Championship equals a FIRST class adventure and one amazing season.

 

“It was an amazing year for our team. We had a few rough times but we still made it through all the way to the World Championships! Our season is now over and we are all very happy with how far we have come.”

D+M Metal Products is proud to have sponsored That One Team and to have fabricated parts used in their robot. The robot achieved these goals:

  • Pivot intake
  • 3 stage cascading lift
  • 8 second climber

As we all know, robotics already plays a part in many sectors of the economy and will be a big part of manufacturing in the future. It’s important for kids to learn about robotics and their applications to everyday life and work. That’s why FIRST Robotics and the encouragement and opportunities they give to kids is so vital as a part of our education system.







legalized marijuana

Last November Michigan legalized marijuana for recreational use. This decision by the state’s voters has already had a number of ramifications for employers. Most people do not understand how legalized marijuana can affect their employment, so here we will talk about that and also how the legalization of marijuana affects the manufacturing sector.

What Legalized Marijuana Does Not Mean

Some in the workforce are under the false impression that because marijuana is now legal for both medical and recreational use that means employers must hire them or continue employing them when they use or consume marijuana products. That is not the case.

Michigan’s adult-use recreational marijuana law, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, states:

“This act does not require an employer to permit or accommodate conduct otherwise allowed by this act in any workplace or on the employer’s property.  This act does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for a violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while under the influence of marijuana.  This act does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marijuana.”

Michigan may have legalized marijuana, but the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is still federal law, and cannabis is still prohibited under the CSA as a Schedule 1 drug. Federal employers and companies in industries regulated by the federal government or that hold contracts with the federal government are expected to administer random drug tests to their employees and test them for drug use when they are hired. If those employees test positive for marijuana, they will take action against them even if employees consumed the marijuana during their off hours or for medical reasons.

Private employers in Michigan have more leeway in their drug testing policies now because of the MRTMA, however. They can continue to enforce drug-free workplace policies that follow CSA guidelines, or they can choose to be more lenient with their workers.

Legalized Marijuana and Manufacturing

Legalized marijuana is a particularly important issue for workers in the manufacturing industry because so many of them operate heavy machinery. It can be very dangerous to drive a forklift when impaired, for example, and not just for the worker but for other workers, anyone else in the vicinity, and the company itself. The company bears the liability when an accident happens, and it’s the company that must pay for workmens compensation. Higher premiums, lost time, property damage, and downtime in the facility are additional costs the business bears if management does not establish and strictly maintain safety protocols.

No one wants to see workers hurt - not workers and not management. Unlike with alcohol, the majority of people cannot easily determine how impaired people who consume marijuana are or how long that impairment lasts. It’s a hard call for a manager to determine if a worker is sober enough to do his job if he is a regular user, and there is no breathalyzer test for weed - yet.

Workers may believe they are entitled to do what they like on their own time and that they should be able to relax and enjoy marijuana especially now that it’s legal. This is true only as far as it does not affect other people negatively. It is now on employers to make hard calls to determine if marijuana use poses a safety or productivity problem for their companies. They should not be blamed if they decide employing workers who use marijuana is too much of a risk to take.

The bottom line on legalized marijuana is that employers have the authority to fire or not to hire workers who use it. If you are looking for a job or want to keep the one you have, check to see what your company’s policy on marijuana use is and follow it to the letter. While its short term impairment effects pass fairly quickly, marijuana stays in bodily fluids for 1 to 30 days after you consume it. That means it can be detected weeks after you used, again unlike alcohol.

There are many wonderful opportunities in manufacturing right now in Michigan. If you want to be a part of this great industry, be aware of how your marijuana use could impact that.




Mobility Worldwide

Do you know about the good work Mobility Worldwide does on behalf of people who are unable to walk in the developing world? This is a wonderful organization focused on providing practical tools that allow disabled people to resume their lives, interact with the world around them, and become more independent.

What Is Mobility Worldwide?

Mobility Worldwide is a faith-based, volunteer-powered, humanitarian, and worldwide organization. Originally known as Personal Energy Transportation, Mobility Worldwide began in 1994 when Reverend Larry Hills, a missionary in what is now Congo shared with Reverend Mel West that there was a great need for wheelchairs for victims of polio and landmines. Mel discussed specifications for a three-wheeled, hand-cranked wheelchair with Earl Miner, a product designer and mission partner, and Earl began work on a prototype.

When Earl had developed that prototype, he sent four mobility carts to Larry for testing under the harshest conditions Larry could find. Larry had asked for a cart that could be used in rural areas without roads or sidewalks. The prototypes passed this test, so Mobility Worldwide shipped more mobility cart frames to Zaire where they were attached to wooden beds and distributed to those in need.

D+M Metal Products has been working with Mobility Worldwide since the design process of these carts began. We fabricate a front fork for their adult-sized cart and a child-sized cart. There is also a third style of cart that is designed for people who can’t maneuver the carts themselves and must be pushed by others. Currently they are developing a new style of cart that they hope will reduce the cost of shipping it worldwide.

mobility cart

Where Does Mobility Worldwide Help?

They help people who have lost the use of their legs through either disease or disaster in over 100 countries. An estimated 70 million people worldwide cannot walk. Mobility Worldwide has provided more than 73,000 of them with a mobility cart. They also collect canes, foldable walkers, crutches and wheelchairs to be refurbished and distributed to those in need.

The goal of this organization is to give the gift of mobility to all God’s people. They work with both religious and secular organizations to fundraise, create the components of the carts, assemble them, and distribute them to people who would otherwise have no way to move around.

We at D+M Metal think Mobility Worldwide has a great mission that should be supported. If you would like to provide any of your resources so they can gift mobility carts to people who cannot walk, they offer a number of ways to donate. Please check out the different types of carts they produce and the many, many success stories they share on their website.







Professional Metal Finishers

In an earlier blog we talked about how fabricated products make the world go round. While we at D+M Metal Products are proud of the work that we do, we realize that our work is often an early step in the process of making the finished products that people see on the shelves in stores. They may be further modified or attached as pieces of larger items. Often our products leave our shop and are powder coated. The company that we send them to is Professional Metal Finishers in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is a dry finishing process used on a wide variety of products due to its high quality, durable finish. Powder coating is not only decorative, it also protects the underlying material from the elements. It’s available in an huge range of textures and colors. How does it work? As the Powder Coating Institute describes it:

“Powder coatings are based on polymer resin systems, combined with curatives, pigments, leveling agents, flow modifiers, and other additives.  These ingredients are melt mixed, cooled, and ground into a uniform powder similar to baking flour. A process called electrostatic spray deposition (ESD) is typically used to achieve the application of the powder coating to a metal substrate.  This application method uses a spray gun, which applies an electrostatic charge to the powder particles, which are then attracted to the grounded part. After application of the powder coating, the parts enter a curing oven where, with the addition of heat, the coating chemically reacts to produce long molecular chains, resulting in high cross-link density. These molecular chains are very resistant to breakdown.  This type of application is the most common method of applying powders. Powder coatings can also be applied to non-metallic substrates such as plastics and medium density fiberboard (MDF).”

What Kinds of Items Are Powder Coated?

Professional Metal Finishers does a wide variety of work, some of which you might recognize. Their projects include medical cabinets, car parts, and high-end accessory displays. They do work on automated forklifts that are used by Amazon, Coors, and L’Oreal. Their brake-line display racks are in AutoZone stores. They powder coat Samsung appliance signs that can be seen in stores like Home Depot. They powder coat outdoor utility boxes. They also work locally with Roeda Studio doing memo boards of projects, and they powder coated the signs displayed in the above image. 

Since 1986 Professional Metal Finishers has done work across many industries. Much of what they produce are components for larger items, including automotive components for semi-truck engines. They have a very diverse customer base and their goal is “to produce the highest quality finish possible while keeping our prices competitive.”

If you are looking for a company to do powder coating, D+M Metal Products gives Professional Metal Finishers our enthusiastic recommendation for work well done!