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Taguchi

Applications of Taguchi approach approach to

to statistical design of statistical design

experiments in Czech Republican

447

industries

Received December 2003

Jiju Antony, V. Somasundarum and Craig Fergusson Revised May 2004

Division of Management, Caledonian Business School, Accepted May 2004

Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK, and

Pavel Blecharz

VSB-TU The Faculty of Economics, University of Ostrava,

Sokolska, Czech Republic

Abstract Dr Genichi Taguchi is a Japanese engineer and quality consultant who has promoted

the use of statistical design of experiments for improving process/product quality at minimal costs.

Taguchi has developed a practical and strategic approach for designing quality into products and

processes at the product planning, design and development stages, which is often referred to as

off-line quality control. Although many companies in Europe and the USA have used the Taguchi

approach to statistical design of experiments with success, very few applications of this method are

realised in countries such as the Czech Republic. This paper reports the applications of

experimental design advocated by Taguchi in two manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic.

The results of the study are stimulating and will lead to wider applications of this methodology for

tackling process and quality-related problems in the Czech Republican industries in the near future.

Introduction

Statistical design of experiments (SDOE) plays a powerful role in many organisations

today in terms of improving process efficiency, product quality and process capability;

and reducing process variability, costs of poor quality such as scrap, rework and other

failure costs. This powerful technique has proven to be one of the most effective and

reliable weapons in the twenty-first century arsenal of globally competitive

organisations. It was initially developed by R.A. Fisher at Rothamsted Agricultural

Station, London, England (Fisher, 1935). However, the person who is seen to have most

influenced the development of SDOEs (SDOE) in the industrial world is Dr Genichi

Taguchi. Dr Taguchi has been very successful in integrating statistical methods into

the powerful engineering processes for achieving greater process stability, capability

and yield. Taguchi emphasised the importance of designing quality into products and

processes right from the design stage through to the entire product development cycle

(Taguchi, 1987). A number of successful applications of the Taguchi approach to

SDOEs have been reported by many American and European manufacturers (Phadke, International Journal of Productivity

1989; Quinlan, 1985; Taguchi and Yokohama, 1993; Rowlands et al., 2000; Antony et al., and Performance Management

Vol. 53 No. 5, 2004

1999). The SDOE methodology developed and promoted by Taguchi has accentuated pp. 447-457

the importance of making products’ functional performance or process performance q Emerald Group Publishing Limited

1741-0401

insensitive to various sources of noise conditions (e.g. ambient temperature changes, DOI 10.1108/17410400410545914

IJPPM relative humidity fluctuations, equipment or machine performance degradation, tool

53,5 wear, product-to-product variation, etc.). This is also known as robust parameter

design (RPD). RPD is essentially a part of Taguchi’s SDOE.

Despite the successful applications of the Taguchi approach to SDOE, a wider use of

the approach and its associated techniques is only possible by gaining a better

understanding of the method (i.e. where, when and how to use) and its analysis. The

448 successes and failings of the Taguchi approach to SDOE have been widely discussed

(Nair, 1992; Pignatiello and Ramberg, 1991; Bendell et al., 1989; Box et al., 1988; Kumar

et al., 2000). Taguchi’s main successes have been to demonstrate the importance of

designing quality into products and processes at early stages of the product

development process, making processes robust against undesirable nuisance factors

without actually eliminating them completely from the process, simplifying the use of

SDOE as a powerful tool for industrial engineers, and so on. On the other hand,

Taguchi’s main weaknesses have been the use of linear graphs for assigning factors

and interactions to various columns of the orthogonal array (OA), the use of

signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) as a performance indicator of robustness, lack of use of

sequential and adaptive approach to experimentation, lack of importance on

interactions among the process or design parameters, and so on.

This paper presents two case studies generated from two automotive manufacturers in

the Czech Republic. Although the Taguchi approach to SDOE has been successful in

many European manufacturers, research has shown that the application of this

powerful technique in the Czech Republican manufacturing industries is very limited.

Some noticeable reasons for this gap are:

.

lack of awareness of general quality management principles;

.

lack of awareness of the importance of industrial experimentation and the

benefits gained out of it;

.

inadequate education on applied industrial statistics at academic institutions;

.

managerial intransigence that home-grown solutions (generally

one-factor-at-a-time approach) are sufficient for process optimisation problems;

.

inadequate skills and expertise in advanced statistical methods for problem

solving;

.

poor attitude towards quality improvement and process optimisation strategies;

and

.

lack of resources to initiate pilot studies.

In order to assist with the application of the Taguchi approach to SDOE, the following

steps were employed. More information on the methodology can be obtained from

Antony and Kaye (1999).

(1) Define the objective of the experiment (or nature of the problem).

(2) Define the response or quality characteristic of interest.

(3) Identification of process or design parameters which influence the response or

quality characteristic.

(4) Define the levels of the process or design parameters and the feasible ranges.

(5) Selection of appropriate orthogonal array from standard orthogonal array Taguchi

designs. approach to

(6) Execute the experiment and record data on pre-prepared design matrix (or statistical design

experimental layout).

(7) Perform statistical analysis of data.

(8) Determination of optimum condition. 449

(9) Predict response at optimal settings and establish confidence interval.

(10) Confirmation and implementation of new settings.

The following two case studies were carried out by strictly following the above steps. The

first case study is about the application of Taguchi SDOE for the development of a new

ignition coil for an automotive vehicle. The performance of the ignition coil is measured

by “burn time” (i.e. time in which the electric arc lasts on ignition coil). Although extensive

tests were carried out using the traditional approach to experimentation

(one-factor-at-a-time), the current achieved performance (i.e. 1.7ms) fell far short of the

desired performance specified by customers (i.e. 1.9ms). In order to tackle the problem, the

company decided to employ Taguchi’s approach to SDOE due to the following reasons:

.

Few engineers within the company were already trained on Taguchi’s approach

to SDOE.

.

The purpose of the experiment was to obtain results in a short period of time

with minimum budget and resources.

.

The experiment involved a large number of design parameters (14) and it was

important to screen the most important design parameters which influence the

“burn time”.

The following objectives were set for the experiment by a team of people from quality,

design, production, maintenance, process and operators:

.

Which of the design parameters and their interactions have major influence on

“mean burn time”?

.

Which of the design parameters affect variability in “burn time”?

.

determine the best settings to achieve a target value of 1.9ms for “burn time”.

Through an extensive brainstorming session with the team, it was decided to study 14

design parameters at two levels. The experimentation team was interested to analyse

one interaction among the design parameters. The degrees of freedom required for

studying 14 main effects and one interaction effect is 15. The most appropriate OA

design to meet this requirement is a 16-trial experiment (L16 OA). Table I illustrates the

list of design parameters and their ranges chosen for the experiment.

The experiment was performed using the above uncoded design matrix. Each trial

condition was replicated three times to capture variation due to noise parameters,

which are hard or expensive to control during the experiment, but have significant

impact on the product’s functional performance variability (Schmidt and Launsby,

1992). The results of the experiment are shown in Table II.

The first step in the analysis was to compute the SNR corresponding to each trial

condition. SNR is a measure of the performance variability of products/processes in the

presence of noise factors (Antony et al., 1999). The idea is to maximise the SNR and

IJPPM Design parameter Label Level 1 Level 2

53,5

Length of core A 60 67

Core material B Material 1 Material 2

Magnet material C Current Better

Number of magnets D 1 2

450 Number of turns on secondary coil E 19,000 23,000

Type of secondary coil F Tree Section

Length of sheet covering (mm) G 74 92

Length of primary coil (mm) H 66 61

Thickness of sheet covering (mm) I 0.35 0.55

Core connection J Not welding Welding

Core temp. processing K Annealing Not annealing

Table I. Number of core sheets L 1 3

List of design parameters Core-magnet gap (mm) M 0 0.1

used for the experiment Material of sheet covering N Material X Material Y

2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1.47, 1.42, 1.41

3 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1.89, 1.98, 1.93

4 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 1.93, 1.84, 1.87

5 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1.58, 1.60, 1.60

6 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 1.53, 1.54, 1.60

7 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1.49, 1.51, 1.53

8 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1.55, 1.58, 1.56

9 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1.57, 1.61, 1.64

10 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 1.50, 1.51, 1.60

11 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 1.92, 1.94, 1.98

12 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 1.85, 1.89, 1.90

13 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1.92, 1.99, 1.99

Table II. 14 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1.94, 1.96, 1.97

Results of the Taguchi 15 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 1.53, 1.49, 1.53

experiment 16 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 1.59, 1.58, 1.60

thereby minimise the effect of random noise factors which have significant impact on

the process performance. SNR for nominal-the-best quality characteristic (here it is

burn time) is calculated using the following equations (Roy, 2001):

SNR ¼ 10 log MSD ð1Þ

where:

X

n

ðyi mÞ2

i

MSD ¼ : ð2Þ

n

Here, MSD (mean squared deviation) is a measure of deviation of a product’s

performance characteristic (y) from its desired target value (m). Based on the above

equations, SNR is calculated corresponding to each design point. Table III presents the Taguchi

SNR values for all 16 trial conditions. approach to

Having obtained the SNR values, the next step was to obtain the mean SNR at low

and high levels of each design parameter. The main effects plot for the SNR is shown in statistical design

Figure 1. The main effect plot clearly indicates that design parameters A, B, C, D and E

have the biggest influence on the SNR. In order to determine the statistical significance

of the effects, it was decided to perform ANOVA (analysis of variance) for the SNR. 451

Pooling strategy was employed (Roy, 2001) to create adequate degrees of freedom for

1 3.433

2 6.599

3 25.025

4 26.021

5 10.261

6 9.233

7 8.167

8 9.447

9 10.591

10 8.695

11 25.071

12 29.586

13 22.163

14 24.629

15 8.313 Table III.

16 10.168 SNR values

Figure 1.

Main effects plot for the

SNR

IJPPM the error term so that sound conclusions about the significance of effects of design

53,5 parameters can be drawn. ANOVA was performed with the idea of sub-dividing the

total variation of data into useful and meaningful components of variation due to main

effects (i.e. effects of design parameters). The pooled ANOVA table is shown in

Table IV. The table shows that the most influential design parameters are E, C and A,

which account for more than 80 per cent of total variation in data.

452 Table IV indicates that design parameters C and E are statistically significant at

both 5 per cent and 1 per cent significance levels, whereas design parameters A, B and

D are statistically significant at only 5 per cent significance level. This, in essence,

shows that design parameters A, B, C, D and E have significant effect on “burn time”.

The optimal settings are those which provide the best performance based on the data

obtained from the experiment. In this case, we need to select the settings of significant

design parameters which yield maximum SNR. Based on Figure 1, the optimal

condition is determined as:

Design parameter A ¼ Length of core – level 2 (67mm).

Design parameter B ¼ Core material – level 1 (Material 1).

Design parameter C ¼ Magnet material – level 2 (better).

Design parameter D ¼ Number of magnets – level 2 (2).

Design parameter E ¼ Number of turns in secondary coil – level 2 (23,000).

SNRpredicted ¼ T þ ðA2 TÞ

þ ðB1 TÞ

þ ðC 2 TÞ

þ ðD2 TÞ

þ ðE 2 TÞ

ð3Þ

¼ 14.838 + (17.569 – 14.838) + (17.381 – 14.838) + (18.223 – 14.838)

+ (17.223 – 14.838) + (22.060 – 14.838) ¼ 33.104dB

of Sum of Mean of contribution

Design parameter freedom squares square F-ratio squares (r)

B 1 81.61 81.61 11.976 74.691 5.984*

C 1 153.724 153.724 22.219 146.805 11.763**

D 1 70.534 70.534 10.195 63.616 5.097*

E 1 770.049 770.049 111.305 763.131 61.148**

Error 10 69.185 6.919 – – 8.318

Total 15 1247 – – – 100.00

Notes: F0.05, 1, 10 = 4.965, F0.01, 1, 10 = 10.044; * indicates that the design parameter is statistically

Table IV. significant at only 5 per cent significance level; ** indicates that the design parameter is statistically

Pooled ANOVA table significant at both 5 per cent and 1 per cent significance levels

Confidence interval for the predicted SNR Taguchi

The confidence interval is the variation of the estimated result at the optimum approach to

condition. The confidence interval for the predicted SNR at the optimum condition is

given by: statistical design

Fða; 1; n2 Þ*MSE

CI ¼ ^ ð4Þ

Ne 453

where: MSE ¼ error variance ¼ 6.919 (from ANOVA table).

F(a, 1, n2) ¼ tabled value of F with 1 degree of freedom for the numerator and n2

degrees of freedom for the error term:

N

Ne ¼ ð5Þ

1 þ ne

where N ¼ total number of SNR values and y e is the number of degrees of freedom

used in the estimate of the SNR:

N e ¼ 16=5 ¼ 3:33:

Substituting the values into equation (3), we get, CI¼ ^ 3.212.

Therefore, the predicted SNR at the optimal condition is 33.104 ^ 3.33 at the 95 per

cent confidence level (or 5 per cent significance level).

Having determined the CI for the SNR, it was then suggested that confirmatory runs

were performed. The results from the confirmatory runs were satisfactory. The mean

burn time from the confirmatory runs was very close to the target value (1.9ms). The

design capability (Ppk) was estimated to be well over 2.0. The company has managed to

meet the above specified target value for burn time with minimum variation around it.

This has resulted in increased customer satisfaction, improved market share and

increased awareness of the power of the Taguchi approach to SDOE in product design

and development process. The results of the study have encouraged the team members

of experimentation to deploy the applications of SDOE in other core processes where

low capability and poor yield were two major quality problems.

The second case study illustrates the application of Taguchi SDOE to the

development process of a new alternator model used widely in the automotive

industry. The objective of the experiment here was to reduce the noise developed by

the alternator under usage conditions. In other words, the purpose of an experiment in

this case was to determine the most important design parameters which influence noise

developed by the alternator. Previous studies have shown that no interactions were

important and hence the objective of the experiment was to study only the main effect

of design parameters. The customer requirement for the noise is defined by curve of

maximum sufferable noise (Figure 2).

Further to a thorough brainstorming exercise with a number of people from design

department, manufacturing, quality and technicians, 11 design parameters were

identified. As part of an initial investigation into the design process, it was decided to

study each design parameter at two levels. Table V illustrates the list of design

parameters and their levels for the experiment. As the team was only interested in

evaluating the main effect of these design parameters, the most appropriate OA design

to meet this requirement is a 12-trial experiment (L12 OA).

IJPPM

53,5

454

Figure 2.

Noise of alternator (before

experiment)

The experiment was carried out using the L12 OA. The results of the experiment along

with SNR are illustrated in Table VI. As the objective of the experiment was to

minimise the noise, SNR for smaller-the-better quality characteristic was selected. Each

trial condition was replicated three times to capture variability due to uncontrollable

Chamfer of bottom B Yes No

Thickness of plate (mm) C 1 0.5

Jointing of plates D Welding Riveting

Relief of cover E Current 4 points

Edge of pole (degrees) F 45 0

Perforated isolation G Yes No

Table V. Vacuum impregnation H Yes No

List of design parameters Rubberizing I Yes No

and their levels used for Collar above stator J Yes No

the experiment Thickness of cover (mm) K Standard +0.4

Run A B C D E F G H I J K Y1 Y2 Y3 SNR

2 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 167.69 14.25 45.01 2 40.05

3 1 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 2 2 98.11 43.54 68.60 2 37.33

4 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 76.10 252.84 75.27 2 43.99

5 1 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 84.21 87.05 188.68 2 42.24

6 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 1 1 58.48 93.25 62.20 2 37.27

7 2 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 2 1 439.27 367.24 331.28 2 51.64

8 2 1 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 173.07 405.87 154.73 2 48.63

9 2 1 1 2 2 2 1 2 2 1 1 95.08 156.68 201.26 2 43.93

Table VI. 10 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 2 192.58 393.68 490.85 2 51.59

Results of the experiment 11 2 2 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 2 2 337.32 204.55 500.54 2 51.32

with SNR values 12 2 2 1 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 226.37 102.45 530.46 2 50.58

parameters. SNR was calculated using equation (1). The MSD for smaller-the-better Taguchi

quality characteristic is given by: approach to

X

n statistical design

y2i

i¼1

MSD ¼ ; where i varies from 1 to 3: ð6Þ

n

455

Sample calculation

For trial 1, MSD ¼ {(485.17)2 + (127.25)2 + (79.33)2}/3 ¼ 85,958.58

SNR ¼ 2 10 log (MSD) ¼ 2 49.343dB

Figure 3 shows the main effects plot for the SNR. The main effects plot indicates that design

parameters A, D, F, and I have significant impact on noise. ANOVA was then performed to

determine the statistical significance of effects of parameters. The results of pooled NOVA

are shown in Table VII. The pooled ANOVA table shows that design parameters A, D, F

and I account for up to 90 per cent of variation. The contribution of error or noise is about 10

per cent, which was quite satisfactory to the experimentation team.

The optimal condition is determined by selecting the best levels of most influential

design parameters which have a significant impact on the output performance or

quality characteristic(s) which is/are critical in the eyes of the customer. Here, the

optimal condition for A, D, F and I are obtained as (equation 7):

Design parameter A ¼ Chamfer of star – level 1 (smaller).

Design parameter D ¼ Jointing of plates – level 2 (riveting).

Figure 3.

Main effects plot for the

SNR

IJPPM Design Degrees of Sum of Mean Pure sum of Percentage

53,5 parameter freedom squares square F-ratio squares contribution (r)

D 1 24.00 24.00 4.62 23.04 6.81

F 1 36.94 36.94 7.11* 35.97 10.63

456 I 1 58.10 58.10 11.18* 57.13 16.89

Pooled error 7 36.382 5.197 – – 10.47

Total 11 343.16 – – – 100.00

Note: F0.05,1,7 = 5.59, F0.01, 1,7 = 12.25; ** indicates that the design parameter is statistically significant

Table VII. at both 5 per cent and 1 per cent significance levels; * indicates that the design parameter is

Pooled ANOVA table statistically significant at only 5 per cent significance level

Design parameter I ¼ Rubberizing – level 2 (no).

SNRpredicted ¼ T þ ðA1 TÞ

þ ðD2 TÞ

þ ðF 2 TÞ

þ ðI 2 TÞ

¼ 245:66 þ ð241:704 þ 45:66Þ þ ð244:245 þ 45:66Þ

ð7Þ

þ ð243:905 þ 45:66Þ þ ð243:459 þ 45:66Þ

¼ 236:33

From the predicted SNR value, the noise (i.e. response or quality characteristic) was

generated. The predicted noise at the optimal condition was 65.53. In other words, at the

optimal condition, the total sum of squares of plus (positive) deviations from curve of

customer requirement is 65.53 in the speed range of 1,600-10,000 RPM. The noise before

experiment was estimated to be 205.84. A significant reduction in noise was observed

after the experiment (refer to Figure 4). The next phase of this study is to further analyse

the effect of factors such as angle of chamfer (different angles), tail of the star (cut or no

cut), type of chamfer (single or double) etc. on the performance of star.

Conclusion

The Taguchi approach to SDOE has intensive applications in the engineering design

and development environment. Although many companies in Europe and the USA

Figure 4.

Noise of alternator (after

experiment)

have used the Taguchi approach to SDOE with success, very few applications of this Taguchi

method are realised or reported in the Czech Republic. This paper presents two

applications of the Taguchi approach to SDOE in the Czech Republican industries.

approach to

Both case studies were primarily focused on the use of scientific experiments in the statistical design

new product development process. Both experiments were successful in terms of

meeting the objectives set out by the team from both organisations. The results of the

study have made an increased awareness of the application of SDOE to the engineering 457

fraternity in both organisations. For wider application of such powerful techniques, the

first step is to promote the Taguchi approach of experimental design through local

industry networking, seminars and workshops. The initial events should be primarily

targeted for executive leaders, senior managers and directors of various business units

from various organisations. This should be followed by more detailed training on such

methods from well experienced Taguchi practitioners or consultants who have a lot of

hands-on experience.

References

Antony, J. and Kaye, M. (1999), Experimental Quality: A Strategic Approach to Achieve and

Improve Quality, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwall, MA.

Antony, J., Hughes, M. and Kaye, M. (1999), “Reducing manufacturing process variability using

experimental design technique: a case study”, Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 10

No. 3, pp. 162-9.

Bendell, A. et al. (Eds) (1989), Taguchi Methods, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY.

Box, G., Bisgaard, S. and Fung, C. (1988), “An explanation and critique of Taguchi’s

contributions to quality engineering”, Quality and Reliability Engineering International,

Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 123-31.

Fisher, R.A. (1935), The Design of Experiments, Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh.

Kumar, S. et al. (2000), “Quality improvements through design of experiments: a case study”,

Quality Engineering, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 407-16.

Nair, V.N. (Ed.) (1992), “Taguchi’s parameter design: a panel discussion”, Technometrics, Vol. 34

No. 2, pp. 127-61.

Phadke, M.S. (1989), Quality Engineering Using Robust Design, Prentice-Hall International,

Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Pignatiello, J.J. and Ramberg, R.S. (1991), “Top ten triumphs and tragedies of Genichi Taguchi”,

Quality Engineering, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 211-25.

Quinlan, J. (1985), “Process improvement by the application of Taguchi methods”, paper

presented at the Transactions of the Third Symposium on Taguchi Methods, Dearborn, MI,

pp. 11-16.

Rowlands, H., Antony, J. and Knowles, G. (2000), “An application of experimental design for

process optimisation”, The TQM Magazine, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 78-83.

Roy, R. (2001), Design of Experiments Using the Taguchi Approach, Wiley, New York, NY.

Schmidt, S.R. and Launsby, R.G. (1992), Understanding Industrial Designed Experiments, Air

Academy Press, Colorado Springs, CO.

Taguchi, G. (1987), System of Experimental Design, Vols 1 and 2, ASI, Dearborn, MI.

Taguchi, G. and Yokohama, Y. (1993), Taguchi Methods – Design of Experiments, ASI Press,

Dearborn, MI.

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