The Best Process for Creating Inspection Documentation

Article by Eric van Essen updated May 29, 2016

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Implementing a robust quality control process is critical to ensuring your products assemble with ease, operate to your customers satisfaction and last their desired lifespan.  The problem a lot of our clients are facing is that the amount of effort it takes creating inspection documentation for this quality control process can be quite time consuming.  When SOLIDWORKS Inspection was released a couple years ago, it’s primary intent was to reduce this effort and help the masses have a professional quality control and inspection process without the amount of effort it has traditionally taken in the past.

With the growing number of customers that are adopting the software, it has become apparent that there is clearly a winning process that customers are using that ends up being the most efficient and also satisfies the requirements of the quality control department.  In a nutshell, this process is to start an inspection document in native SOLIDWORKS leveraging the SOLIDWORKS Inspection Add-in and finishing the project in standalone SOLIDWORKS Inspection.  As of the SOLIDWORKS 2015 release, this ability was added and has a large number of benefits.

Top 5 Benefits related to this process

  1. All dimension information can be leveraged directly from SOLIDWORKS Models or Drawings and eliminates any source of errors for values.
  2. Saves an enormous amount of time as creating an inspection report in native SOLIDWORKS takes about 60 seconds.
  3. Designers have the ability to communicate which dimensions are critical to the function of the part saving unnecessary inspection in the QA dept.
  4. Quality department can take over ownership of the inspection report to fill in additional information such as inspection method.
  5. The professional version of the stand alone tool can easily be used to perform the inspection avoiding the need for unnecessary spreadsheets.

Creating Inspection Documentation Tips

Once you have kicked off a project using the SOLIDWORKS Add-in and you have captured all of the inspection points, you now have ability to select the “Export to SOLIDWORKS Inspection” button instead of producing the excel files and PDFs directly.  (See image below)

Inspection in Solidworks

Export to SOLIDWORKS Inspection

Once you have exported the “IXPRJ” (Inspection Project File), you can browse to it and open it from the standalone version of SOLIDWORKS Inspection.  It is important to note that the license for the standalone version and the add-in is the same so if designers are producing these projects at the same time as a QA manager is editing different projects, you will require a minimum of two licenses.  Most clients are providing the QA Manager with a license of Inspection Professional so they can use the application to perform the inspections, import CMM information and produce summarized reports of the inspection to provide feedback back to the engineering department.

At a most basic level, the task I would typically recommend a quality manager to perform is to assign the inspection method for each characteristic that requires inspection.  The screenshot below shows where to access a drop down list of inspection method.  Once they are all assigned, you can filter the characteristics by that inspection method making it easier to work much more efficiently while you have the correct equipment in place.

Creating Inspection Documentation

SOLIDWORKS Inspection standalone software

As always, if you have any questions related to SOLIDWORKS Inspection or creating inspection documentation and are looking for advice on implementing a new quality control process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Eric van Essen

I have been working with Javelin for 10 years and now have the role as director of products where I oversee the ramp up of new solutions for our customers or potential customers.