Making Vaccine Bottles
Combating the Covid-19 pandemic is at the top of the global agenda. Providing vaccines to populations worldwide means providing 8 billion doses—with only one for every person in the world. In addition to the availability of the vaccine, a decisive factor in the race against time is the accessibility of the glass vials. Producers of the vials are massively ramping up their production so as not to become the proverbial bottleneck in the supply chain, reports New Equipment Digest (April 6, 2021).
However, medical-grade vaccine vials are not standard glass tubes. They are all made of special glass borosilicate and require customized production lines. For example, the glass must be resistant to a wide range of chemicals and temperature changes and must not contaminate medicines. Any interaction between the container and the liquid inside must be prevented, as any chemical interference could affect the vaccine. Even the smallest scratch, crack, or fissure can render an entire batch unusable, contaminate the line during the filling process, or even lead to a machine standstill.
The demands on manufacturers are enormous: it is a matter of producing large quantities quickly and maintaining particularly high-quality standards. So what is needed is high-speed quality control with high reliability in defect detection. One solution is vision systems. Powerful cameras can capture 120 vials per minute to be inspected for dimensional accuracy or surface condition with very high precision. Defects such as cracks, scratches, chips, inclusions, or stains are detected with an accuracy of 0.1 square millimeters. Intelligent software enables accurate fault description analysis and classification. Testing occurs at various points in the manufacturing process, such as directly after the bottles have been formed or shortly before packaging.
For this discussion:
Address the following question(s) in your post:
1. Which of the quality control tools in this module could vial producers employ? Explain
Tesla Recalls Roughly 135,000 Vehicles Over Touch-Screen Failures
Tesla is about to recall 135,000 automobiles, reports The Wall Street Journal (Feb. 2, 2021). Recalls occur after the delivery of an item to a customer. As noted in Chapter 6’s “Cost of Quality” section in your textbook, their external failure costs can be costly. In particular, this recall means that the direct costs to Tesla will include the “cumbersome physical repair” (according to Tesla); the cost of the computer chip that needs to be replaced; the cost of reimbursement for the 23,000 owners who paid out of pocket for the repair before the recall; and the cost of informing Tesla’s service centers and owners about the recall. Your text also notes that there may also be a loss of goodwill or possibly liability costs.
The Tesla recall has to do with the touch screen control. Its failure can impact many different features, including backup cameras, defog and defrost controls, turn signals, heat, and air-conditioning. Tesla claims that the touch screen should last 5-6 years. This is analogous to the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) in Chapter 17’s discussion of Reliability. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) expects the touchscreen to last “at least the useful life of the vehicle.”
Tesla, of course, is not the only automobile manufacturer to experience recalls. According to NHTSA, from 2000 to 2019, there has been 14,791 vehicle recalls in the U.S., affecting roughly 680,000,000 vehicles. Over 90% of the recalls were for safety reasons, whereas the other recalls were for non-compliance with federal standards. Manufacturers voluntarily initiated 80% of these recalls, while the NHTSA instigated the remainder.
For this discussion:
Address the following question(s) in your post
1. Have you been affected by the recall of any product?
2. What will be the major cost to Tesla for this recall?