You are on page 1of 28

Certification Course on

Quality Assurance and Statistical Quality Techniques

Course Level A Statistical Process Control concepts Code 1.07a: SPC & Control Charts
& Control Charts Issue No.: 01
Effective Date: 15-04-2014

The philosophy of Process control

“Statistical Thinking” philosophy is amongst the most common features for quality monitoring
and improvement. The key elements of statistical thinking are process, variation, and data.
Through using statistical methods, companies aim at identifying and eliminating variation in
their processes by measuring the performance of their processes.
The whole idea behind process control is to move from the traditional approach of detection by
inspections to prevention by applying checks and controls upstream for example in process
setting, in process design. The gradual elimination of wastes as well as reducing the effort of
unnecessary inspection is the essence of process control.
A process transforms inputs into outputs by using resources such as people, equipment,
materials and methods. The Process control system requires actions on process resources and
methods, action on the process information and action on the output.
 Action on people resources is by enhancing their knowledge and skills.
 Action on equipment means selecting the correct equipment design, range, precision
class, and its maintenance.
 Action on materials require ensuring the quality and consistency of the input materials
as well as consumables.
 Action on process information is analyzing the process control information as well as
process results data to monitor and improve the process.
 Action on process output is taking the decision regarding product conformance and
taking steps in case it is found non conforming. This includes not only correction such as
rework, but also long term corrective actions to reduce the chances of non-
Statistical process control is about obtaining numerical data relating to the process, analyzing it
and using it to improve process behavior.
The data that we get is in the form of figures – variable measures of product characteristics for
example dimensions of a machined product, or number of products found good or defective,
or number of defects observed in each product. We need to convert this continuous stream of
data into meaningful information, based on which we can take decisions whether the process is
behaving in the desired manner, or whether there is a need for correction. Eventually we want
to achieve a state of stastical control, where we can make the process behave the way we want
Statistical Process Control (SPC) and its two basic functions, control charts and process
capability analysis (PCA), constitute the central pillar of statistical methods which are utilized in

Control Charts
Statistical process control uses statistical methods to monitor process output through Control
Charts. Samples are tested at regular intervals and the results are plotted as sample means and
range on a time-control chart. The control chart is a statistical quality control tool that
monitors the variation in the characteristics of a product or service over time.
Control Charts constitute an easy and visual method of monitoring process information by
mapping the process data against what are called process control limits. The process control
limits are determined in turn through analysis of process data variation. Generally each control
chart examines a key product characteristic or a key process parameter.
The Data collected from a control chart may form the basis for process improvement, specially
when it displays assignable causes.
Control charts can be used to study past performance as well as to evaluate present conditions.
Past data stored in QC records or in computers can be plotted to examine how the process has
behaved on a historical basis. But most often the control charts are used for continuous
monitoring of present process performance.

Applications of control charts

A control chart is both a diagnostic and a control tool applicable to a variety of situations. Some
of the important uses are given below.
 Control Chart helps in prevention of defects by highlighting assignable causes It is an
ongoing tool for control of processes and for achieving and maintaining consistency in
quality. It aids improvement of processes.
 It is an effective visual aid for production workers and supervors for gaining and maintaining
confidence in the process
 It is an aid to quality planning, for example deciding control limits, setting gaging frequency
 It sets up the basis for reviewing design tolerances for manufacturability, specially when the
tolerances are unreasonably stringent, or too relaxed
 Control charts present good evidence of process control and can be used as evidence of
process quality during quality audits and third party inspections.
Control charts are plotted as line graphs on a time axis. The individual values are plotted on the
chart in sequence as you can see in the Figures 1 and 2.
A centerline and two Control Limits, are placed on the graph to analyze patterns in the data.
The Centerline is either the process average or a target value. The control chart is completed
with the setting of control limits or process boundaries that define the zone in which the
process should operate.

Fig 1

Fig 2

The X axis indicates occurrence over time, which could be hours, or shifts, or days, or in sub
groups as they are produced in a time sequence again over hours, shifts or days. The Y axis is
the actual process result on each time unit.
The control limits are generally set at three times the standard deviation or plus minus three
sigma (figure 3) . The Upper Control Limit is generally referred in the abbreviated form UCL.
Likewise the lower control limit is referred as LCL. In some cases, such as in one sided
specifications, we may have only one control limit.

Fig 3
In a control chart, we examine the occurrence of process results with respect to the shift from
the centre line and the zone defined by the control limits.

Special or assignable causes

A control chart helps us identify the presence or absence of special or assignable causes of
variation in a process (Fig 4). When assignable causes exist, most often the process will be out
of control. The behaviour of special causes is random and does not follow any pattern, hence
we cannot predict the level of process rejections or ppm levels.

Fig 4

A statistically controlled process will have all points within 3 Sigma limits and will be free from
any adverse pattern.
Fig 5 Fig 6 Fig 7
A process no in control will display some unusual pattern, that marks the presence of a special
or assignable cause.
Figure 5 on demonstrates all values to be within the control limits. We can safely assume, there
are no special causes influencing this process.
In Figure 6 , 2 points are outside the UCL. This is a strong indication of a special cause and also
very large variation.
In Figure 7, all the points are within the control limits. However there is a continuous downward
trend. This also indicates the presence of special causes.
Figure 8 displays some more patterns that are indicative of a process being out of control or
heading towards it.
Figure 8 also indicates three Zones A, B and C. These are areas between successive sigma limits.
Zone C lies between the centre line and plus minus one standard deviation or plus minus one
sigma. Zone B lies between 1 and 2 sigma limits, while Zone C lies between 2 sigma and 3 sigma
or upper and lower control limits. We use these zones together with trend points to decide
whether or not the process in under control.

Fig 8
Pattern 1 represents 1 point beyond zone A. Pattern 2 has 2 out of 3 successive points in zone
A. Pattern 3 has 4 out of 5 successive points in zone B or beyond. Pattern 4 has eight or more
successive points on one side of the centre line
Patterns are a signal that something has changed. A Process is considred out of control when a
plotted point falls outside the control limits as in Pattern 1.
Pattern 1 therefore requires corrective action. Patterns 2, 3, & 4 indicate warning conditions.
Once these signals appear, we must investigate the possible causes of such behavior.
2 Sigma limits are generally used as warning limits. Many organizations decide to operate the
process within zone B, or plus minus 2 sigma limit. This is because 95 % of the population lies
within these (2 Sigma) limits. Any point outside this zone will prompt investigation and
corrective action.
1 Sigma limits always signify safe area for working.
Relationship with specification limits
We can add specification limits on a control chart to see how the process is positioned with
respect to them.

Fig 9 Fig 10
Out of control values do not necessarily indicate defectives as the specification limits may be
wider than the control limits as we see in Fig 9. It is still advisable to run the process as
consistent as possible as it helps in reducing inspection costs in the long run and also ensures
better ppm performance both in-house as well as at the customer end. Generally an out of
control process produces defectives.
In Figure 10, the process appears to be actually under a state of statistical control because all
values are within the UCL and LCL. However, two values are observed outside the specification
limits, which means they represent non-conforming products. As the Control limits are beyond
specification limits, chances are more failures will occur in future. In such cases, the first and
most important step will be to identify possible special or assignable causes and eliminate them
so that the UCL and LCL can be brought inside the specification limits. If the UCL and LCL still
remain beyond the specification limits, you may have to investigate into each source of natural
causes of variation and attempt to improve them by technology improvements or by improving
operator skills, or by automated process corrections, or by changing the source of raw
material etc.
The process dominance approach

When attempting to investigate the process for eliminating assignable causes, it is important to
understand what are the major influencing factors in the process. Each process is dominated by
one or more influencing factors such as machine set up, time, the operator or the input raw
materials. Understanding dominance pattern helps to decide the source of assignable variation
and the most appropriate control measure.

The 4 types of Dominance patterns are

1. Set-up dominance

In Set-up Dominant processes, the process has been engineered to such a high degree of
reproducibility that it provides an essentially uniform product during initial length of
production. These processes must be set up to ensure precise machine and parameters set-up
and their validation before operations proceed, because no or little control may be possible
during the cycles of operation. Operations involving hydraulic pressing, auto-welding, CNC
machines, are example of set up dominance. We use first off inspections, or pre-control
methods before starting such operations.

2. Time dominance or machine dominance

In Time Dominant processes, the process, though reproducible, undergoes continuing changes
during production . The setting changes after some time as production goes on due to drifts.
This is typical of many machining processes with wear out of tools over a period of time such as
boring, reaming. The process design must take into consideration the periodic evaluation and
adjustment of the process. Process Control charts are most commonly used for time dominant
processes. Time dominant processes are also known as machine dominant processes. Quality
tools such as control charts, and narrow limit gaging (gages set up narrower than specification
limits) are used to monitor and control such operations.

3. Operator-dominance

In Operator Dominant processes, the operation is not fully engineered, and the skill and
attention of operators become decisive factors. Welding, soldering, painting are example of
such processes. For these processes the candidates employed must be qualified for the
required skill sets. The design for control of these processes must emphasize aptitude testing,
training, certification and quality rating of workers. Besides monitoring such process through
attribute charts, we often have to conduct acceptance inspection of the finished lots to gauge
overall lot quality.

4. Component-dominance

In Component Dominant processes, the quality of the input materials or parts, are the main
factors influencing quality of the finished product. This is typical in many chemical processes as
well as assembly processes such as assembly of electronic equipment. While the normal
approach is to control incoming quality through inspection, in the long run, it is important to
develop reliable supplies of raw materials to provide quality parts. Acceptance sampling for
incoming products are applied. Alternately we can rate vendor performance through rating
systems and select input monitoring methods and frequencies accordingly.

Variable control charts

Variable control charts are used when the process data is available in the form of a measured value for
the characteristic under study e.g dimensions, volume, concentration, hardness, tensile strength.

Commonly used Variable charts are:

 ̅ and R chart

 Target ̅ and R chart

 Individual X and moving range (R ) Chart

The X Bar and R Charts are used for Monitoring behavior of a single measurable characteristic produced
in high volumes. Figures 1 and 2 are typical examples of X bar and R charts.

X bar chart means a control chart plotted for average or mean values of the study characteristic taken
from a pre-decided sample size, generally referred as a subgroup. The Bar over the letter x, (̅ denotes
that the value plotted on the chart is the mean or average of values taken.

R chart means a control chart plotted for the range of values within each subgroup.

X Bar and R charts are generally plotted together, one below the other on 2 separate charts for the same

X double bar (̿ )is the overall average of sample or subgroup averages, and is represented by the
Center line on the X bar chart. It is also the process average.
R bar R is the average of ranges of values observed in each sample or subgroup, and is represented by
the Center line on the R chart

Conditions for variable charts

The following are the conditions in which variable control charts are constructed:

• The Sample or subgroup size must be constant

• Each study is conducted for only one characteristic per chart

• A Minimum of 20 subgroups are required forexample 20 days production

Symbols used:

The following symbols are used in the calculations

Symbol Spoken as What is it

X X Any single observation

̅ X Bar Average of sample group

̿ X Double Bar Average of average of all sample groups

R Range (Max – Min) of sample group

̅ R Bar Average of Range of all sample groups

∑ Sigma of ‘a’ Sum of all values of the variable (example a)

n Number of items in a sample group

k Number of groups used for calculating CLs

UCL Upper Control Limit

LCL Lower Control Limit

CL Center Line = X double bar

Constants used

The following are the constants used, based on the sample size n, in the calculations for UCL , LCL for X
bar and R charts and Standard Deviation for X bar chart

n A2 d2 D3 D4
Constant used for Constant used for Constant used for Constant used for
calculating LCL & UCL calculating SD for X calculating LCL in R calculating UCL in
in X bar chart bar chart and chart R chart
UCL / LCL in the R
2 1.880 1.128 - 3.267
3 1.023 1.693 - 2.574
4 0.729 2.059 - 2.282
5 0.577 2.326 - 2.114
6 0.483 2.534 - 2.004
7 0.419 2.704 0.076 1.924
8 0.373 2.847 0.136 1.864
9 0.337 2.970 0.184 1.816
10 0.308 3.078 0.223 1.777

Formulae for UCL & LCL

The following formulae are used for calculating the Control limits and Center line for X bar and
R charts. The chart also indicates the values that are plotted in the fourth column.

The preferred subgroup size is 3 to 5 but we can have more than 5 also.

Chart Control Limits Centerline Plot Point Subgroup size


 _
3 to 5
UCL = X A 2 R 
_ _ x
X X X
_ preferred
X n
 _ k
LCL = X A 2 R

_ _ R -do-
R UCLR = D 4 R R R
_ k
LCLR = D 3 R
A typical data sheet for noting the values for X bar and R chart is as given in the Table below

Computation Steps for X bar and R charts

1. Compute the mean and range for each subgroup:

X 1 X 2  ....  X n
2. Compute Range for each subgroup : Range R1 = X (highest) – X (lowest)

3. Plot the ̅ and R values for each subgroup on the control chart .

4. Compute the overall mean X and the average range R for the k samples:

X 1 X 2  ....  X k R1 R2  ....  Rk

X R
k k
_ _
5. Compute CL’s for R chart as D 3 R and D 4 R using D3 and D4 constants corresponding
to the subgroup size n.
6. Compare ranges against the Control Limits. If any range is outside the upper or lower control
limits, the entire subgroup is excluded . This needs to be done because when we are fixing the
Control limits for the first time, it is important that the control limit themselves do not get
influenced by assignable causes. Hence we eliminate values that are considered outliers. We do
this by estimating the control limits for range chart using all the data in the first instance and
then comparing each sample range with the Range chart control limits. In case any range is
found beyond the control limits in the range chart, the related subgroup is completely
eliminated from the study.

7. Re-compute R bar after omitting the out of control subgroups. Control limits both for the X
bar chart as well as the R chart are re-computed.

8. Repeat Steps 6 & 7 for eliminating another similar subgroup, if any R value is found out of the
revised control limits. The process of elimination is called homogenization of range and
repeated till all ranges are within the latest revised Control Limits.

9. Ensure that the number of samples or subgroups will always be identical for x bar and r charts
after each elimination.

10. The final Control limits for ̅ chart are computed using the final revised R bar and x double bar
calculated from remaining subgroups.

11. Construct the charts by drawing lines for UCLX, LCLX , UCLR and LCLR and central lines at final
revised R bar and X double bar

12. Examine, X bar and R charts, to see if the process is in statistical control.

13. If process is judged stable, compute an estimate of process SD and Mean:


ˆ  
ˆ X

14. Draw one sigma and two sigma zones on the X bar Chart:

X 1 

X 2 

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Sample 4

Sample 5
Mean Range
Sub _
Group X R
1 1.3 1.49 1.45 1.35 1.42 1.402 0.2
n 5

2 1.38 1.42 1.34 1.33 1.35 1.364 0.1 No of Sub k 20


3 1.46 1.4 1.58 1.53 1.36 1.466 0.2 Population ̿ 1.415

Average ̅
4 1.38 1.57 1.35 1.5 1.3 1.42 0.3 Range 0.254
 _
5 1.42 1.37 1.41 1.27 1.37 1.368 0.2 UCL(Mean) X A 2 R 1.561
 _
6 1.41 1.39 1.55 1.32 1.46 1.426 0.2 X A 2 R 1.269
LCL (Mean)
7 1.43 1.41 1.45 1.5 1.4 1.438 0.1
D4 R 0.536
8 1.46 1.4 1.53 1.48 1.25 1.424 0.3
D3 R 0.000

9 1.27 1.42 1.37 1.34 1.44 1.368 0.2 Subgroup 0.109

Std Dev
10 1.61 1.59 1.53 1.6 1.36 1.538 0.3 Mean +1 σ'

11 1.52 1.55 1.62 1.5 1.34 1.506 0.3 ̅⁄ 1.513

Mean +2 σ'

12 1.65 1.5 1.39 1.27 1.33 1.428 0.4 1.366

Mean -1 σ'

13 1.41 1.28 1.37 1.44 1.46 1.392 0.2

Mean -2 σ' 1.318
14 1.34 1.58 1.36 1.19 1.45 1.384 0.4
15 1.51 1.52 1.24 1.39 1.19 1.37 0.3
16 1.2 1.33 1.44 1.31 1.42 1.34 0.2
17 1.27 1.45 1.53 1.56 1.57 1.476 0.3
18 1.51 1.6 1.43 1.2 1.46 1.44 0.4
19 1.39 1.28 1.48 1.38 1.41 1.388 0.2
20 1.26 1.21 1.32 1.63 1.4 1.364 0.4
. Fig 11

UCL(Range), 0.536
Sample mean


Mean, 0.254


0.000 LCL(Range), 0.000

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Sub Group No

. Fig 12
Interpreting Control Charts

The presence of one or more points beyond either control limit in the X Bar chart, implies that the
average for the subgroup has shifted significantly from the process average. This is primary evidence of
special cause variation at that point.

When points lie outside the control limits in the range chart, it is indicative that the piece-to-piece
variability has worsened in the respective subgroup.
The presence of unusual patterns or trends, even when all ranges are within the control limits, can be
evidence of the influence of a special cause during the period of the pattern or trend. This could give the
first warning of an unfavorable condition which should be corrected.

Following are signs that a process shift or trend comes from a special cause

• 7 points in a row on one side of the x double bar or Range bar

• 4 out of 5 points > 1 standard deviation from centerline (same side) – Fig 13

• 2 out of 3 points > 2 standard deviations from centerline (same side)

• 8 points in a row > 1 standard deviation from centerline (either side) – Fig 14

CV Fig
Fig 13

. Fig 13 Fig 14
These signals help us understand the process and also initiate actions.

The goal of the process control charts is not perfection, but a reasonable and economical state of
control. If a chart never went out of control we would seriously question whether that operation should
be charted at all. For practical purposes a controlled process is considered to be one where only a small
percentage of the points go out of control and where out-of-control points are followed by proper
action for process correction.

Target X Bar and R charts

The Target X bar and R charts are a variant of the normal X bar and R chart.

In the normal X bar charts, our data came from measurements taken on a ‘specific type and size’ of
part. Target X and R charts monitor behavior of a process running different part types or sizes bur from
the same family, where everything else is common except the base or nominal value of the product
Target X bar charts are constructed by coding measured readings as a deviation from a target value.
Target value becomes 0 point on the X bar control chart, and the deviations from the target become the

For example two sizes of bushes with bore sizes of 20 mm and 30 mm in which the bore diameter 20
mm and 30 mm, the target values, will be taken as zero. The values recorded will be the difference from
the target values. See Tables below

Sample 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Target 20.0 20,0 25.0 30.0 30.0 30.0 25.0 25.0 20.0 20.0

1 20.13 19.95 25.12 30.0 29.98 29.94 25.04 25.0 20.05 19.95

2 20.03 19.99 25.04 29.99 30.04 29.92 25.0 25.03 19.97 19.99

3 19.98 20.10 25.03 30.02 29.96 29.95 25.06 24.98 19.95 19.93

4 20.01 20.0 25.09 29,96 29.97 29.97 25.02 25.07 20,02 20.03

5 19.94 20.11 25.01 29.98 29.95 29.92 25.09 25.0 20,01 19.99

Table with actual measurements

Sample 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Target 20.0 20,0 25.0 30.0 30.0 30.0 25.0 25.0 20.0 20.0

1 0.13 -0.05 0.12 0.00 -0.02 -0.06 0.04 0.00 0.05 -0.05

2 0.03 -0.01 0.04 -0.01 0.04 -0.08 0.00 0.03 -0.03 -0.01

3 -0.02 0.10 0.03 0.02 -0.04 -0.05 0.06 -0.02 -0.05 -0.07

4 0.01 0.00 0.09 -0.04 -0.03 -0.03 0.02 0.07 0.02 0.03

5 -0.06 0.11 0.01 -0.02 -0.05 -0.08 0.09 0.00 0.01 -0.01

Mean 0.018 0.030 0.058 -0.010 -0.020 -0.060 0.042 0.016 0.000 -0.022

Range 0.19 0.16 0.11 0.06 0.09 0.05 0.09 0.09 0.10 0.10

Table with coded measurements

The formulae for Target X Bar and Range Charts are as given in Table below

Chart Control Limits Centerline Plot Point Subgroup size

 _
 _ Coded X Coded X  3 to 5
_ UCL = Coded X A 2 R _ preferred
X  Coded X Σ ( X -Target value)
 _
LCL = Coded X A 2 R k /n

_ _ R -do-
R UCLR = D 4 R R R
_ k
LCLR = D 3 R

The value to be plotted on the graph is Coded X bar. The grand mean x double bar is the average of all
coded x bar values. See Fig 15 for the Target Control Chart for the values in the tables.

There is no change in the R chart, because the R values will be the same whether we use actual
dimensions or the deviations from nominal values as range is essentially the difference between the
largest and the smallest value.

The conditions for constructing Target control chart are

 All parts on the chart are measured in the same units and have similar average ranges (s).
 The sample size is Constant across sub groups
 The study should have minimum 20 samples for calculating the control limits

Fig 15
Individual X & Moving Range Chart

These charts are used when opportunities to get data are limited and production volume is low . In
such situations, we are unable to have more than one sample for a subgroup.

In Individual X and MR Charts, each item as a subgroup, hence there is no requirement to calculate X
bar. The Subgroup size is 1

The overall process average in individual X chart is X bar.

The Range chart is called the moving range chart, as we chart the difference between successive sub
groups or X values. It plots the difference between two consecutive data points as they come from the
process in sequential order. Because of this there will be one less data point in the Moving Range chart
than the Individual chart.

In order for the charts to give useful information, certain conditions must be adhered. For example on
the moving range chart, there should be more than five distinct values plotted, and no single value
should appear more than 25% of the time. If values repeat too often, it results in inadequate resolution
which will adversely affect the control limit calculations. The resolution of measurement is therefore

Chart Control Limits Centerline Plot Point Subgroup size

_ _
UCL = X (2.66  MR) One
_ X Individual X
_ X
_ _
X (2.66  MR) k

_ -
Moving Range
MR 
_ k -1
LCLR = D 3 R

The control limits for the Coded X bar are calculated using a fixed constant of 2.66.

In a moving range chart, there is no lower control limit. The upper control limit is calculated using the
formula D4 MR bar. As the n = 2, the d4 value is always 3.27 in a moving range chart.
Sample IX MR
1 4.25 -
2 4.78 0.53
3 3.95 0.83
4 3.86 0.09
5 3.72 0.14
6 5.17 1.45
7 5.07 0.1
8 4.65 0.42
9 4.7 0.05
10 4.35 0.35

Fig 16
The moving range chart has sufficient discrimination as all the 9 points were distinct values. The moving
range between 5th and 6th sample is beyond the UCL and indicates that the process is out of control,
which should trigger investigation and corrective action.
Attribute Control Charts

Attribute control charts are used when the process data is available in the form of good or bad,
conforming or not conforming. Examples of attributes are visual defects such as surface cracks, cut
marks, blow holes, underfill, or sensory characteristics such as taste, smell, etc for food or cosmetic
products. Defects detected through NDT tests such as MPI, radiography are also attributes. Sometimes
we choose to convert measurable characteristics such as by using go no go gauges, where the result is
recorded as pass or fail. The products non conformances are counted, but not measured.

Often attribute control charts are used for quick process estimation, before setting up the more
elaborate variable charts.

Attribute control charts are essentialy of two types. The first type are the proportion charts (p and c
Charts) where we count the number of defective items in a sample or lot as a proportion or fraction or
percentage. The second type are the count charts (np and u Charts) where we count the number of
defects in each item or a unit.

In the count of defect attribute charts we can take more than one characteristic when counting defects
such as colour and distortion in a ceramic ware product and count them together, or segregate the
defects to set up different control charts.

Distinction between defect and defective

Examples of defects : a blow hole in a casting, discoloration in garment, surface crack in welding

Examples of defectives : Item that contains one of more of above defects – one casting, one garment,
one length of weld

Defects are counted to get an estimate if the process is stable and predictable, as well as to monitor the
effects of process improvement.

Sometimes specifications permit the presence of minor defects in limited numbers under which the
product item may be acceptable.

Types of Attribute Charts

• p Chart p = fraction defective

• np Chart np = number defective

• C Chart C = No. of Defects per unit

• U Chart U = Average no. of Defects per unit (C/n)

A p chart is used for evaluating the process in terms of fraction or percent defectives it is producing.
Control limits are drawn on the same unit, that is fraction or percent defectives

A np chart is used for evaluating the process in terms of discrete defective items a process is producing
per lot or batch. Np chart is easier for operators to understand and relate as the inspection results are
recorded in actual numbers of defectives and are directly marked on the chart – no calculation of
fractions or percent is required. The control limits are drawn on number of defectives (n x p), for a fixed
sample or subgroup size.

The C chart is drawn when we are interested to study the actual number of defects in each item and
then seeing what is the process average and variability. In the C chart we use the count of actual
number defects per item. Control limits are drawn on number of defects for a fixed sample or subgroup

The U chart is drawn when e use the value of average defects per unit as our base value for drawing the
charts. In this the control limits are drawn on the fraction defects as a process average.

P and np charts

An important condition for p and np charts is, some rejects must be present in each sample

Where a process is having a low defects average say less than 5 %, we have to enlarge the sample size
sufficiently to get one or more defectives in a sample. This is necessary to be able to draw correct
control limits.

Examples :

– If 20% of product is defective a sample of 5 is needed.

– If 0.1%. of product is defective a sample of 1000 is needed.

In p and u charts we can select entire lots or batches as the sample size

For np charts, the subgroup size used should be such that ̅̅̅̅ >= 5

P Charts

P chart can be drawn under three conditions:

A: With constant sample size. When we draw P Chart with constant sample size, the following formulas

The Center line is drawn at p

 np
Where p is the process average in fraction defectives, and n is the sample size
The Control limits are drawn at:

p(1  p) p(1  p)
UCL  p  3 LCL p  3
n n

B. With non constant sample size, but the difference between the sample sizes is not very large, i.e the
smallest sample is 75 % or more of the largest sample.

The formulas for these conditions are similar to constant sample size, except we replace the value of n
with ̅, the average sub group size:


p(1  p) p(1  p)
UCL  p  3 LCL  p  3
n n

C. With non-constant sample sizes that vary significantly from one another. We get non-constant sizes
when we take for example entire daily production as sample, or when we take fixed percent of sample
from a daily production lot.

When we have this situation, we cannot draw constant control limits for the process and have to draw
individual UCL and LCL for each sub group.

The formulae for non-constant sample sizes are similar to constant sample size, except now we replace
the value of n with ni which is the sample size of individual subgroup


p(1  p) p(1  p)
UCL  p  3 LCL  p  3
ni ni

NP Charts

The formulae for np charts are:

n ( Sample size) x p ( Fraction defectives) = np Number defectives in the sample

The Center line CL is drawn at

̅̅̅̅ = = number of defectives /No. of subgroups

UCL = ̅̅̅̅ √̅̅̅̅ ̅ LCL= ̅̅̅̅ √̅̅̅̅ ̅

Example for p chart and np chart (with constant group size)

Sub Group No. Subgroup No of Sub groups

Sub Group size Defectives mean (k) 22
No n (np) p
Total defects ∑
1 200 12 0.060 304
2 200 12 0.060

Population 4400
3 200 11 0.055
4 200 6 0.030 Population mean ̅
5 200 18 0.090
UCL (fraction) 0.12
6 200 22 0.110
7 200 14 0.070 LCL (fraction)
8 200 9 0.045 Population mean ̅ 13.818
9 200 13 0.065
UCL (np) 24.6
10 200 26 0.130
LCL (np) 3.1
11 200 13 0.065
12 200 5 0.025
13 200 17 0.085
14 200 14 0.070
15 200 7 0.035
16 200 12 0.060
17 200 20 0.100
18 200 11 0.055
19 200 14 0.070
20 200 9 0.045
21 200 13 0.065
22 200 26 0.130

Fig 17 Fig 18

In the np chart (Fig 18), the plot points is number of defectives found in each sub group. The Centerline
is average number of defectives per subgroup np bar (13.818, rounded off to 14). In np chart UCL and
LCL are also usually rounded off to integers. The shape of the graph is identical in both cases, as they
depict relative performance for each subgroup, which is similar.

Example for P Chart with Non constant Group size:

Subgroup No of Sub groups

Sub Group Sub Group Defectives mean (k)
No size (np) p
1 1126 25 0.022 Total defects ∑ 161
2 1518 18 0.012
3 1114 2 0.002 Population ∑ 19570
4 1114 11 0.010
Population mean ̅ 0.008
5 939 10 0.011
6 1339 6 0.004 Average Group
̅ 1305
7 1300 9 0.007
8 1628 10 0.006
9 1613 12 0.007
10 1535 6 0.004
11 1535 17 0.011
12 1749 12 0.007
13 1539 8 0.005
14 245 1 0.004
15 1276 14 0.011

Fig 19

In a P chart, with non-constant sample size, the UCL and LCL vary for each subgroup. Control limits vary
inversely with sample size.

Sub - Group 1 is out of control limits.

Rules relating to attribute charts

Zones rules applicable to variable charts do not apply to attribute charts. I sigma and 2 sigma limits are
not used.

When points lie below the lower control limit, it indicates that the process has improved.

Rules for trends and shifts with respect to the centerline apply to attribute charts too such as continuous
downward or upward trend and consecutive points on one side of the center line

C Chart

A chart is used when Screening multiple characteristics in a defective piece. The purpose of plotting C
chart is to monitor and gradually reduce the incidence of defects

In the c chart, we count the Number of defects found in a sub group and this value is plotted.

The Sub group size is chosen in a way so that at least 2 defects are found in each unit

A unit is different from subgroup. A unit can be a single part, an assembly of several parts, an area of
material, or any rational grouping. A unit can be a discrete item such as a ceramic glazed product, a
casting or a welded fabricated item, or a specified size of continuous production such as running meter
of pipes, or square meter of textile products.

There could be more than one unit per subgroup.

A c chart can be constructed for counts per subgroup or counts per unit. In the second case, one unit is
equal to one subgroup. We can plot c chart for all the defects counted together or each category of
defect counted by type.

The condition for C chart is some defects must be observed in each unit in the c chart.

Formulae for C Chart:

CL = ̅ Where c1, c2 are number of counted defects per sub group or unit and k is the
total number of sub groups or units

UCL = ̅ √̅

LCL= ̅ √̅

U Chart

The U chart caters to situations where number of units in a subgroup is not constant
It is also called the c/n chart where c is the count of defects and n is the number of units within each
Instead of counting defects, in the u chart, the average defects per unit within a subgroup are counted
and plotted.
Formulae for U Chart, with constant group size or non-constant group size (with maximum difference <
75 %)

The Plot point is I=

̅ ̅
UCL ̅ √ LCL ̅ √

Where ̅ is average group size

These control limits can be drawn as long as the minimum sub-group size is not less than 75 % of
maximum sub-group size

Example for C Chart:

Defect 1

Defect 2

Defect 3

Defect 4

Sub Sub Total

Group Group Defects / 'c / n'
No size subgroup
No of Sub
1 200 3 3 4 5 15 0.075 k
groups 15
2 200 2 3 1 5 11 0.055
Total defects 172
3 200 3 0 3 5 11 0.055 ̿̿̿̿̿̿ 3000
Population ∑
Population ̅ 11.4
4 200 2 3 5 5 15 0.075
mean 7
5 200 2 0 2 1 5 0.025 UCL UCL 22
6 200 2 2 3 3 10 0.050
7 200 2 3 4 5 14 0.070
8 200 2 2 3 3 10 0.050
9 200 3 4 5 2 14 0.070
10 200 3 3 9 0 15 0.075
11 200 2 3 2 3 10 0.050
12 200 2 3 5 5 15 0.075
13 200 2 0 2 1 5 0.025
14 200 2 3 4 5 14 0.070
15 200 2 3 0 3 8 0.040
Fig 20

The course material includes excel sheet templates for p, np and c charts. Try them by feeding different
data from your work areas, as well as from the practical exercises provided.