Dr. P. R. Apte

(TIFR, Mumbai)

Challenge :

The liberal economic policy of globalisation has, for the first time, exposed the Indian industry to global competition as has never been done before. Large multinationals are purchasing hefty equity stakes in large Indian companies, revamping and restructuring them to suit their own product ranges. The liberal economic policy has thus thrown a challenge - to produce world class quality products at globally competitive prices.

India :

The Indian industry desperately requires Product Design to optimise the thousands of existing products and processes. The industry could be saved by focusing on Product Design and must improve the quality of its products and simultaneously reduce their costs drastically through product (process) design optimisation. It must do this quickly!

Taguchi Method :

Taguchi Method is a new engineering design optimisation methodology that improves the quality of existing products and processes and simultaneously reduces their costs very rapidly, with minimum engineering resources and development man-hours. The Taguchi Method achieves this by making the product or process performance "insensitive" to variations in factors such as materials, manufacturing equipment, workmanship and operating conditions. Taguchi method makes the product or process robust and therefore is also called as ROBUST DESIGN.

Taguchi Method is an appropriate solution :

It attacks existing products and processes with a high success rate.

  • Competent R&D engineers can easily apply it.
  • Results are achieved quickly - within 4 to 6 weeks.
  • Solutions given by Taguchi Method can be implemented at an affordable cost.
  • It is readily amenable to computerisation.

Engineering Tool and NOT a Management Tool:

Taguchi method is an experimental engineering tool and hence the success of its application does not depend on the company environment - cultural changes are not really required.

Taguchi Method and ISO-9000:

The ISO-9000 aims at improving the capability of an organisation as a whole to manufacture products to specified technical specification and quality standards and to deliver them to the customer on time. Taguchi Method, on the other hand, attacks the product design itself. Through product and process design optimisation it improves product quality and reduces costs drastically. Taguchi Method and ISO-9000 thus complement each other.

Course Objective:

The course objective is to explain the basic philosophy of Taguchi method, principles of quality engineering, its applications and economic benefits, its relevance to Indian industry, its successful application in India through presentation of case studies. Course aims at motivating the industry to learn to apply this important method for improving the product / process quality and reap the economic benefits.

Who should attend:

Directors, Vice Presidents, General Managers, Managers, Senior Engineers concerned with technical matters such as quality, design and development, manufacturing, production in any industry.

Duration of Course:

This will be a Monday to Friday, 5-Day, 8 hours a day of lectures and computer software demonstrations.

Course handouts:

There are no course notes as such. One B/W copy of overhead transparencies will be provided to the organisers (for making requisite number of copies for distribution to the participants). The text book, which is an excellent reference for the subject, is

M.S. Phadke

"Quality Engineering using Robust Design"

Prentice Hall (1989)

5 day course


Lectures on Taguchi Method



1.1 The Challenge

1.2 Price of Ignorance

1.3 Why this Ignorance?

1.3.1 Research & Development (R&D) and Product Design Research & Development Product Design

1.4 The West, Japan and India

1.4.1 The West

1.4.2 Japan

1.4.3 India

1.5 Indian Situation

1.6 Solution - Robust Design


1.8 History of ROBUST DESIGN

1.8.1 Made in Japan

1.8.2 Secrets Out After 40 years

1.8.3 Dr. Madhav S. Phadke

1.9 Applications and Benefits of ROBUST DESIGN

1.10 ROBUST DESIGN and Indian Industry

1.11 ROBUST DESIGN and ISO-9000

1.12 Threat to ROBUST DESIGN

1.12.1 Misleading Courses

1.12.2 Technical Lethargy

1.12.3 Fear of Reprisals

1.12.4 Technical Egos

1.12.5 Credibility

1.12.6 Secrecy From Competitors


2.1 Fundamentals of Statistics

2.1.1 Statistical Distribution or Frequency

2.1.2 Mean

2.1.3 Variance

2.1.4 Standard Deviation

2.2 Causes of variations - Noise Factors

2.3 Effect of Noise Factors - Economic Losses

2.4 Elements of Cost

2.4.1 Unit Manufacturing Cost and Quality Loss

2.4.2 Elements of Costs for Robust Design Operating Cost Manufacturing Cost Research & Development Cost

2.5 The Fraction Defective Fallacy

2.5.1 Examples illustrating Fraction Defective Fallacy Refrigerators Television Sets Telephone Cables Automobiles

2.5.2 Conclusion



3.1 A New Definition of Quality

3.2 Target Performance

3.3 Taguchi's Quadratic Loss Function

3.4 Average Quality Loss

3.4.1 Refrigerator Example

3.4.2 Average Quality Loss - Statistical Correlations

3.4.3 Physical Interpretation of Average Quality Loss

3.5 Methods of Reducing Variance (variations)

3.6 Benefits of Reducing Variance with ROBUST DESIGN

3.7 Exploiting Non Linearity

3.7.1 Control Factors and Their Levels

3.7.2 Noise Factors - Noise Variances

3.7.3 Nonlinearity and its Exploitation

3.7.4 Visualisation of Exploitation Nonlinearity

3.8 Stages in a Product Life Cycle

3.9 Classical Design Approach

3.10 Efficiency of ROBUST DESIGN

3.11 Taguchi's Two Step Design Procedure

3.12 Classification of Parameters - P Diagram

3.13 Classification of Design Problems

3.13.1 Static Problems Smaller-the-better Type Problem Nominal-the-best Type Problem Larger-the-better Type Problem Signed-target Target Problem Fraction Defective Type Problem Ordered Categorical Type Problem Curve or Vector Response Type Problem

3.13.2 Dynamic Problems Continuous-Continuous (C-C) Type Problem Continuous-digital (C-D) Type Problem Digital-continuous (D-C) Type Problems Digital-digital (D-D) Type Problems

3.14 Signal-to-Noise (S/N) Ratio-A New Measure of Quality

3.15 Additive Model

3.16 Matrix Experiment

3.17 Managing Economics of Quality


4.1 Robust Design in 8 steps :

4.1.1 Planning the experiment : Steps 1 to 5

4.1.2 Performing the experiment : Step 6

4.1.3 Analyzing and verifying the results : Steps 7 and 8

4.2 A Case Study : Polysilicon Deposition Process :

4.2.1 The Polysilicon deposition process in VLSI :

4.2.2 Surface defects and Thickness uniformity :

4.2.3 Quality characteristics and objective function :

4.2.4 Control factors and their levels :

4.3 Matrix experiment :

4.4 Data analysis :

4.5 Predict the improvement :

4.6 Verification Experiment :

4.7 Follow-up Experiments :

4.8 More Case Studies :

4.8.1 Drilling hole in a racing car wheel

4.8.2 Improving quality of N/C machines

4.8.3 Improving performance of computer system

4.8.4 Improving efficiency of telecom networks




5.1. Apply ROBUST DESIGN and optimise quality-cost.

5.2. Export with this quality-cost optimisation.

5.3. Ultimate combination, Robust Design and ISO-9000 certification.

5.4. Improve quality further through tolerance design after ROBUST DESIGN.


Recommended Text Book:

"Quality Engineering Using Robust Design"


Dr. Madhav S. Phadke

Prentice Hall, 1989

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