FT holds APQP4Wind Supplier Quality Conference
FT Technologies, manufacturer of ultrasonic wind sensors, has implemented a company-wide policy to introduce APQP4Wind quality standards throughout their entire management system, product design processes and component supply chain. The policy is aimed at increasing product reliability for the end customer and removing costs of poor quality, through the product life.
Implementation of the APQP4Wind Policy will see the company transition towards full adoption of the APQP4Wind framework by 2020 for all new and existing product development.
To engage suppliers in the adoption of the policy, FT held a Supplier Quality Conference at their factory in Sunbury-on-Thames, UK. 20 key component suppliers gathered to learn about the increased quality standards now required by FT. Speaking at the conference, David Walch, Director of Operations, emphasised the importance of APQP4Wind to both FT and the global wind industry.
“FT is committed to applying the APQP4Wind framework to the FT management system, adopting a new industry standard. APQP4Wind will change the way that we work at FT and we anticipate that it will influence every aspect of our culture. APQP4Wind is a great opportunity for suppliers to improve quality and reduce risk, which is vital for maturing the global wind industry.”
He went on to point out the benefits to the wind turbine manufacturers, suppliers and sub-suppliers.
“The vision behind APQP4Wind is to strengthen the entire supply chain as the standardisation increases efficiency. Everyone benefits from improved standards, tools, and processes. Working together as an industry, we can produce better components, become more competitive and speed up time to market. Ultimately, this will result in reduction of the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE) and achieve a larger scale of production.”
FT’s implementation of APQP4Wind began in early 2019 when a large group of employees attended a bespoke APQP4Wind Management Awareness Training run by DNV GL. Following on from this, two further employees have attended Specialist Training in Denmark, and now head up the Steering Group that meets monthly to review project progress. As Brian Monaghan, Quality Manager explains:
“Getting our employees trained in the APQP4Wind methodology is an investment in knowledge to get it right first time round. We intend to focus on quality assurance, rather than quality control. By taking this proactive approach we will see more effective validation of products and processes, before progressing to the next lifecycle stage. More testing will be introduced earlier, and that will decrease issues faced later in the lifecycle. This will close current gaps in process control and ad-hoc change control that needed tightening up.”
Brian Pedersen, Account Director – Wind Energy, commented:
“We are working closely with our largest wind turbine customers such as GE Renewable Energy, Vestas and Goldwind to ensure that their demands for the APQP4Wind standards are applied to all current and future projects. APQP4Wind gives us a standardised product quality planning process and language. This helps us to clearly interpret and fulfil our customers’ unique requirements.”
APQP4Wind is a non-profit association founded by world-leading wind turbine manufacturers and suppliers. It’s aim is to achieve continuous quality improvement within the wind industry in order to decrease the Levelized Cost of Energy making wind more competitive with other forms of energy. Advanced Product Quality Planning (APQP) is a well-known concept within the automotive industry. APQP4Wind has adapted the concept of APQP to formulate quality standards that are intended to be the quality assurance methodology used by the entire global wind industry supply chain from design to end-user.