Re: TW and QA

Subject: Re: TW and QA
From: "CB Casper" <knowone -at- surfy -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 08:33:21 -0800

>>>engineers assembling the Genesis probe more than
four years ago were misled by errors in designs
prepared by Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp.
"The drawings are not correct," Ryschkewitsch said.<<

I spent 20 years in the Aerospace world as the
person most familiar to this group of TW'ers, the
Manufacturing Engineer.

The Manufacturing Engineer takes the engineering
drawings and determines how to sequence the assembly
of the components, as well as determine the manufacturing
steps to take raw stock and fabricate it into the desired
engineered product. Depending on the scale, these could
be separate people, or departments.

As an aside, I worked on the IUS (Inertial Upper Stage)
which launched satellites to high orbit from the shuttle.
I had to document (using text and the engineering drawing
only, no pictures or sketches available). I had to document
the sequence of installing 256 rivets along with the struts
by referencing the zone, detail view, and location of each
by referencing a 36 E size drawing sheets. QA that one!

On a large assembly of many, many complicated components,
it is way out of scope for the Mfg Engineer to understand
each and every piece and it's function.

It's a likely scenario that the gravity sensor is self
contained, with only an electrical lead coming out of it
and was either purchased off-the-shelf, or designed by a
separate team separated from the engineer responsible for
the assembly of the components.

Without a detailed knowledge of the inner workings of this
part, there is no way to tell if it is installed upside
down or not. The drawing from the assembly engineer is the
source of the information with no real opportunity for a

I can see where one person (the assembly engineer) could
make the mistake, and no one would be in a position to be
able to question the drawing. A quality check should have
been made to check such details, but the tech writer who
gave instructions on how to assemble the system was
following the drawing.

As a newbie Mfg Engr, I asked questions, and pushed back
when there was something that looked fishy, odd, or out
of whack.

In this case, again, without detailed knowledge of the
inner workings of a closed component, there is a very
likely single-point-of-failure with the Assy Engr.

This would also hold true for a one-off assembly with
the Integration Engineer on the floor building the

Someone should have used a magic marker and written "UP"
on the part, just like surgery, with "cut-here" on the
currect knee, and a "NO NO NO" on the other knee.

CB - who's kids could say at one time,
"daddy builds rockets for space ships"

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