Optical coating is a high-tech process that requires an incredible commitment to quality, particularly due to the sophistication of the customers’ applications. Mistakes in optical coating are expensive and can have tremendous supply chain consequences. For VisiMax and other coaters, the quality of our coating process is the single most important measure of our success.
Though most coaters can source materials for customers, many of the materials being coated are owned by the customers themselves. In some cases, we coat high value lenses that have taken our customers months to make. Our stringent quality management ensures careful protection of these important assets.
Quality management starts with ISO compliance, but it doesn’t end with a signed stack of paperwork from an ISO auditor. For companies that fully utilize the ISO standards to their advantage, they serve as guidelines that can help further success. At VisiMax, our team of experienced physicists and technicians combine discipline with creativity and ruthless customer focus in order to deliver consistent value to our customers. Every member of our team has an important role to play within our quality management system. Our quality management consists of:
- Process monitoring, where we closely guard
- On-time delivery
- Reject rates
- Failure rates
- And metrics-driven production
- Root cause corrective action – if something does go wrong in production, we investigate it fully and implement corrective action rather than just fixing the end result.
- Documentation and record keeping – meticulous organization of inspection records, shipment, and robust documentation also contribute to the success of our optical coating.
Rigorous process documentation should encompass all policies, procedures and work instructions. This is crucial to consistently meeting customers’ optical coating specifications. In every aspect of the VisiMax process we consistently emphasize strong discipline in following work instructions, which has resulted in a corporate culture that is focused on quality.
As the industries and customers evolve, coaters must also find ways to stay relevant by changing their processes to meet demands. VisiMax is consistent in its use of the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) model, a tool which we use to ensure Continuous Improvement. This is essentially the Scientific Method at work within our Operations plan at VisiMax. For us, planning means documentation during manufacturing design and set-up. After the execution phase of optical coating, we evaluate and, if necessary, revise our process.
In 2016, we implemented Statistical Process Control – improving and expanding our data monitoring capabilities as related to machine pressures, manufacturing runtimes, coating thicknesses, gas mixtures, environmental conditions, and other relevant manufacturing parameters. We identify meaningful trends and draw conclusions that lead to a plan for iterative process improvement. Continuous Improvement and Statistical Process Control have driven measurable improvements in product quality, while bringing down lead times.
This culture of quality spans from the top to the bottom of our company. Most Tuesdays you will find us eating pizza together at a weekly celebration when there has been a week with zero coating failures. Our CEO, senior leadership, and all of our associates join in as we share in each other’s successes. The enthusiasm and motivation is palpable when you enter our facility. We operate as a team.
The longevity of our employees is a testament to the team mentality and contributes greatly to our continuous process improvement and adherence to the robust VisiMax documentation practices. Low turnover means greater discipline in our LEAN lab and in our commitment to the implementation of Six Sigma practices as part of our process improvement and process control planning.