Right First Time manufacturing practices for all applications

Any action that is done Right First Time must yield benefits – The same applies to manufacturing

In its simplest form, it means hitting the nail on the head each and every time and in the best way possible.


This simple concept has been elaborated upon by academics who seek to document all the required steps to hit the nail on the head, develop a new language to describe the process, and create bureaucratic structures to record and monitor the process.

At the same time, practical physical steps can be taken to ensure that the right tool for the job will result in the right outcome each and every time. This is especially important in a manufacturing environment where the production volumes are in the thousands and every single item needs to be the same.


What are Right First Time practices?

Initiated in the 1920s in the USA as Total Quality Management (TQM), and described as Right First Time or if something is done right first time, it is done perfectly every time, and NO time or money is wasted correcting errors caused by doing it too fast or without controlling quality effectively.

By the 2000s, TQM evolved into success stories like TPS, the Toyota Production System, and Six Sigma, a statistical method of ensuring quality, had evolved, allowing near-perfect manufacturing.

Today we use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict and calculate outcomes beyond the human ability using “Big Data” extracted from multiple databases, and we ensure the outcome is correct by programming robots accordingly. Embedded in the robotics, there will be a vast amount of sensors and computing power linked with AI so that robots can make adjustments based on the AI data.

Combined, AI and Sensors hope to emulate the human experience, rapidly, cheaply, autonomously, and without an opinion. The aim of having sensors integrated into a process is to collect and analyse the data so that it can be used to guide decision making.

As mentioned, this data is often fed automatically to the process allowing any adjustments to happen in real-time and sensing colour within the process is one way to determine the quality of that process.

How can colour and light sensing assist companies in achieving Right First Time production?

Since Sir Isaac Newton discovered that our human perception of colour can be discovered by passing it through a prism and splitting it into defined wavelengths. By doing this Sir Isaac Newton gave us the first chance to quantify our human senses of colour.

It was not until the late 1970’s that Sensing became an accepted mainstream science, despite that Spectroscopy began when Sir Isaac Newton first used the word spectrum, to describe the rainbow of colours making up white light. Up to then, human experiences were classified as “Anecdotal” and unreliable compared to Newtonian Science.

One of the reasons for this approach was that human senses could not be easily pinned down and reproduced or synthesised easily.
To this day, we can measure light mathematically, and manage sound via data from sound waves, but we still don’t have “Sniff Meters” to describe perfumes or aromas, or Taste Meters to evaluate how tasty a food or beverage is.

Since Sir Isaac Newton, we have developed Sensing on a much broader spectrum than was known in his time. From broadcasting waves at one extreme, to cosmic rays at the other, sensors can now identify properties of numerous minerals, chemicals and other natural phenomena with ease.

What this means to a manufacturing company is that they can precisely measure light, colour and other wavelengths and use this information to achieve Right First Time practices. By measuring the colour of an object during the production process, we can quickly and easily determine whether that product is the same as it should be and if it is not, what production controls can we implement to ensure it is right first time the next time.

As light or properties along the spectral wavelengths, are precise and reliable sensing tools to “Measure” or sense accurate properties encountered in our daily lives we can use this technology to assist in achieving Right First Time manufacturing.

How can you use colour or light sensing to achieve Right First Time production?

  • Track raw incoming raw materials and chemicals – If you don’t monitor and control the inputs, how can you expect to produce the right final product?
  • Grade flour, spices, fruits and vegetables using colour measurement
  • Manage at each stage of processing – Implement certain controls at each stage of production to achieve Right First Time production
  • Track sub-assemblies and incoming components
  • Confirm final quality – If the final colour of a product is within specification, not only will your customers be happy but you can be sure that most other quality parameters are within spec.
  • Validate measurements with appropriate certification
  • Compare, Manage, Predict and Formulate to a desired colour

We have assisted many companies in trying to achieve right first time production and if you would like to learn how colour measurement can be a crucial tool in achieving this at your company, contact us and request a practical example of your application today.