Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Arthur M. Sterling


The current global competition and the economic situation in the United States and the world is forcing industries to produce quality products quickly and at a competitive price. Many industries are aiming towards world class manufacturing objectives like responsive delivery, defect free product and declining cost. Industries in the present environment can survive and produce the quality products to customer expectations only if they implement new technologies. The key element in the success of industries is using the continuous process improvement strategies like reducing process variability and reducing response time to process deviations. Achieving quality in manufacturing processes is an important part of the job description of everyone concerned with the manufacturing operation. The greatest savings can come when a quality system can immediately inform appropriate personnel when process problems occur, and can then assist in ensuring rapid response at the lowest possible level in the organization. This type of system adds not only to the bottom lux but also to the job satisfaction of all concerned [John, 1992]. The quality tools of the future are those that operate under a different scenario: the computer systems that collect the data also automatically do the analysis, interpretation, detection and correction, along with exception-based alarming and reporting. In this research, we examine the potential benefits of an integrative approach to on-line quality management. The motivation for this research comes from a field study with a printed circuit board assembly and instrumentation cluster manufacturer. The company made substantial investments in setting up elaborate systems for on-line data collection and monitoring of process status. While these modern quality control systems provided a rich database, their application in quality management was rather limited. This is partially due to the lack of appropriate methodology for quality decisions. The objective of this research is to develop an integrative approach to process control and packout verification of products. When the developed approach was implemented, it enabled the company to reduce their Problem Resolution Requests (PRRs) by 25% and was a cost avoidance of approximately $600,000 annually.