Quality Engineering and the Technology Explosion


Tyson, William K.   (1987, ASQC)   McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., Huntington Beach, CA

41st Annual Quality Congress, May 1987, Minneapolis, MN    Vol. 41    No. 0
QICID: 3331    May 1987    pp. 436-440
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Article Abstract

This paper presents a description of the impact of new technology and information systems explosion on quality engineers associated with space and aircraft systems. The new, modern electrical and electronics manufacturing and test facility at McDonnell Douglas in Huntington Beach, California, is used as a model for the quality engineer's new roles in support of this operation.McDonnell Douglas has long played a major role in America's space and defense programs. This role has seen as increasing complexity of products in the recent years. To support these efforts has caused a review of the role and practices of the Quality Engineer (QE) involved in these projects. These high technology programs require quality engineers with technical degrees in related fields ... with the ability and drive to interface with design and development engineers on an equal footing. As in all industries, these QE's must have varied experience, a mix of skills, and to support these new tasks -- the enthusiasm of youth.The new roles of the QE's are many and varied as they become a part of not only the manufacturing team, but the design effort and test operation. Receiving Inspection and Test is now involved with our own manufactured hi-tech hybrids, microcircuits, and ceramic chip carriers as well as vendor hardware. Process QE's now support ever increasingly complex products such as multilayer printed wiring boards, thick film assemblies, substrates, solder operations and electrostatic discharge protection.Simultaneously, other QE's provide fast and continual support of development hardware and its associated test equipment. This support requires capturing design during the critical development phase where all too often this valued information is lost.Test QE's now support automatic test of wire harnesses, bare printed wiring boards, circuit card assemblies, and assemblies. This test effort also includes support of environmental test simulating space launch conditions as well as aircraft flight.A new set of QE's now explore the future needs of Product Assurance in supporting high technology projects. These QE's are evaluating and installing voice data collections systems, statistical quality control systems in the electronics factory, and integrated manufacturing teams.These new high technology projects present the QE with new exciting challenges. With this new age comes a different QE with desires for recognition, rewards, self fulfillment, career goals, flexibility of work habits and high job mobility. To obtain and retain these new QE's will require our company to continue with its excellent training and human resource programs to motivate these key individuals of this new age.


Aerospace industry,Department of Defense (DOD)

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