From GORE-TEX Fabric to Guitar Strings
W.L. Gore's Production Reliability Increases with SAS®
Known head to toe to most people for "wearable weather protection" GORE-TEX fabrics, W.L. Gore & Associates of Delaware is just as well-known and respected among high-tech companies for its high-end research and development of specialty membranes, electronic technologies, and advanced medical devices.
Customer Success Video
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Dr. José Ramírez
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Gore might just as well be known for the visionaries and thought leaders that comprise its employee roster. And whether they're developing fibers for the space suits astronauts wear while exploring the universe or enhancing the means by which we talk to each other here on Earth, Gore's engineers and researchers rely on SAS to continually improve production processes and product quality across their manufacturing sites.
SAS helps Gore control its processes by providing intelligence about raw materials, temperatures, times, humidity and many other factors that affect production and yield volumes – for effective business results. With SAS Gore enjoys:
Design of experiments – minus the code-writing
The SAS Quality Solution with ADX Interface gives engineers, scientists and other researchers a point-and-click solution for designing and analyzing experiments to improve processes and products. "Our engineers love ADX because it guides them through the steps of designing a statistical experiment, analyzing the data, and then creating Web-based results that they can place on their intranet site for company access – all without writing a single word of code," says Ramírez.
For example, Gore used components of SAS/STAT to gauge the shelf life of MICROLAM dielectric, a Gore packaging material for semiconductors, by showing how it degrades with time and at varying temperatures. And using SAS/QC in the optimization of a manufacturing process gave Gore a competitive advantage to improve process development and to see faster results. It was a complicated experiment, involving three stages and 16 factors, but SAS enabled Gore to easily develop an optimization process that increased yields, decreased lead times, lowered process costs and reduced the product travel footprint.
"Without SAS, we couldn't have done any of this," Ramírez says. "With SAS, we're talking state-of-the-art. SAS helps us identify improvements that save money all the way around."
Gore uses SAS extensively, thus enabling the company to efficiently analyze mountains of important reliability data. And Gore has employed screening methods enabled by SAS to detect defect-prone devices early in the manufacturing process.
SAS collaboration brings competitive advantage
"SAS has been instrumental to Gore's competitive advantage in the area of product reliability," Ramírez says. "In one case, we increased the already exceptional reliability of a particular fiber optics technology by more than 70 percent. We could not have reached that level of success without SAS and the collaborations with the SAS developers and technical support teams."
And as in their other manufacturing efforts, Gore followed an extensive testing process to determine whether the highly sensitive parts met rigorous quality standards. With SAS, Gore engineers were able to discover the signature characteristics for a device that was prone to early failure, allowing them to remove it before it reached the customer. Advances like that have helped Gore maintain a high degree of customer satisfaction. "It's simply unacceptable to have a product with even a low failure rate," Ramírez says. "SAS helps us make sure that doesn't happen – that's how important SAS is."
SAS helps avoid quality issues
"We're training all of our engineers and scientists to use SPC to coordinate and streamline our efforts," Ramírez explains. "In the design and analysis of experiments, they deal with tons of data; we're teaching them how to get the most out of the data, how to understand it and how to derive intelligence from it. And we're teaching them to do it in SAS – which is very intuitive and helps us make sure it's done right.
"Over the years, my interactions with SAS have evolved from a customer-supplier relationship to partnerships, collaborations and friendships," he adds. "I know that I can depend on SAS not only for the reliability and flexibility of their software, but also for their hands-on approach to help me with my data gathering, advanced analysis and information delivery opportunities."
The results illustrated in this article are specific to the particular situations, business models, data input, and computing environments described herein. Each SAS customer’s experience is unique based on business and technical variables and all statements must be considered non-typical. Actual savings, results, and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. SAS does not guarantee or represent that every customer will achieve similar results. The only warranties for SAS products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements in the written agreement for such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. Customers have shared their successes with SAS as part of an agreed-upon contractual exchange or project success summarization following a successful implementation of SAS software. Brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies.
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Dr. José Ramírez
W. L. Gore & Associates
Enhance product quality and increase yields through process knowledge discovery.
SAS® analytics and quality applications help Gore leverage manufacturing information, processes and controls to make intelligent decisions and realize better results.
“ In one case, we increased the already exceptional reliability of a particular fiber optics technology by more than 70 percent. We could not have reached that level of success without SAS and the collaborations with the SAS developers and technical support teams. ”
Dr. José Ramírez