# STATISTICAL REASON FOR THE 1.5σ SHIFT Davis R. Bothe

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1 STATISTICAL REASON FOR THE 1.5σ SHIFT Davis R. Bothe INTRODUCTION Motorola Inc. introduced its 6σ quality initiative to the world in the 1980s. Almost since that time quality practitioners have questioned why followers of this philosophy insist on adding a shift to the average before estimating process capability. According to published six-sigma literature 1 this shift should range from 1.4σ to 1.6σ with 1.5σ recommended for most processes. When asked the reason for such an adjustment six-sigma advocates claim it is necessary but offer only personal experiences and three dated empirical studies as justification (two of these studies are 25 years old the third is 50). By examining the sensitivity of control charts to detect changes of various magnitudes this article provides a statistical basis for including a shift in the average that is dependent on the chart s subgroup size. PROCESSES ARE DYNAMIC According to the second law of thermodynamics entropy is constantly increasing in all systems which eventually returns them to their most random state. Applied to manufacturing this concept means that right after a process is stabilized entropy immediately goes to work to make it unstable 5. Fluctuations in inputs as well as deterioration of its own elements subject every process to an almost continual barrage of changes. Some of these will push the process average higher while others will move it lower. But isn t this one of the main reasons for using control charts? When the average undergoes one of these inevitable shifts the chart alerts us to the change. Corrective action is then initiated to return the average to its original value thus restoring process stability. An ideal scenario but unfortunately a control chart will not detect every movement in the process average. To understand why not we need to review a few charting fundamentals. CONTROL CHART MECHANICS An elliptical-shaped lamination used in military aircraft is formed by pressing a raw material into the proper shape and thickness. Being a critical characteristic thickness is to be monitored with an R control chart. Choosing a subgroup size n of four we collect this many consecutively produced laminations every hour measure their thickness and then calculate the average and range of these measurements. To evaluate process stability the subgroup average is plotted on the chart while the subgroup range is plotted on the R chart as is illustrated in Figure 1. When subgroup statistics from at least 20 subgroups are plotted the s are summed then averaged to obtain. In a similar manner the subgroup ranges are averaged to derive R. In the following formulas k represents the number of subgroups plotted on the chart.

2 k i i= 1 = = k R k Ri i= 1 = = k 412. _ UCL = 83.0 _ = 80.0 LCL = 77.0 R UCL = 9.4 _ R = 4.12 LCL = 0 Time (hours) Figure 1 becomes the centerline of the chart while R serves as the centerline of the range chart. The upper (UCL) and lower (LCL) control limits are determined from the next formulas where A 2 D 3 and D 4 are constants for a subgroup size of four 6. If all k subgroups are in control as they are in Figure 1 these limits become the ongoing control limits for monitoring lamination thickness. UCL = + A R = ( 412. ) = 830. LCL = A R = ( 412. ) = UCL LCL R R = D R = 228. ( 412. ) = = D R = 00.(. 412) = THE DISTRIBUTION OF LAMINATION THICKNESS Because the chart indicates good process stability the average µ and standard deviation σ of the output distribution for lamination thickness may be estimated via these equations where d 2 is a constant based on the subgroup size 6. The ^ symbol appearing above a process parameter indicates that this quantity is an estimate of the true value of that parameter.

3 R 4.12 µ ˆ = = 80.0 σˆ = = = 2. 0 d 2.06 Comparing µˆ to the desired average thickness provides an indication of the ability of this process to produce parts on target. With a target of 80.0 the process is correctly centered. σˆ furnishes information about the variation in individual thickness measurements around their average. Assuming the output for thickness is close to a normal distribution approximately percent of these measurements will be between µˆ minus 3 σˆ and µˆ plus 3 σˆ. As is shown in Figure 2 this interval extends from 74 (80 3 2) to 86 ( ). 2 ^ µ = 80 σ = 2 LSL 4σ ^ = 8 4σ ^ = 8 USL 32 ppm 3σ^ 3σ^ 32 ppm ^ Lamination Thickness Figure 2 The output distribution of lamination thickness. Given specification limits of for thickness the C PK index of process capability is estimated as Here USL is the upper specification limit while LSL is the lower specification limit. ˆ µ ˆ LSL USL µ ˆ C PK 3ˆ σ 3ˆ σ (2.0) 3(2.0) = Minimum( ) = A C PK of 1.33 for a process centered at the middle of its tolerance means the process average is 4.0σ (3 1.33) away from either specification limit (Figure 2). At this distance only 32 out of one million laminations (32 ppm) will be thinner than the LSL of 72 with a like amount thicker than the USL of 88 for a total of 64 ppm. THE DISTRIBUTION OF SUBGROUP AVERAGES The top portion of Figure 3 displays the process output for individual thickness measurements assuming it has a normal distribution with µ equal to 80 and σ equal to 2. Shown directly below

4 this is the distribution of subgroup averages that are plotted on the chart. Thanks to the Central Limit Theorem we know that these s have close to a normal distribution. Distribution of Individual Measurements µ = 80 σ = Distribution of Subgroup Averages LCL µ = 80 σ = 1 UCL Figure 3 The distribution of subgroup averages. The standard deviation of the distribution σ is calculated from its relationship to the standard deviation of the individuals and the subgroup size 7. σ = σ n = 2 = 1 4 Because the average of the distribution µ is equal to µ 7 the s are also centered at 80. With σ equal to 1 the LCL for the subgroup averages is 77 (80 3 1) while the UCL is 83 ( ). As long as the process average remains stable the vast majority of subgroup averages will fall between these control limits and a correct decision will be made to continue producing laminations. DETECTING A LARGE CHANGE IN µ The compressibility of the raw material used in making laminations exerts a strong influence on thickness. Each batch of raw material lasts about an hour with the current batch introduced at 9:30 a.m. Unfortunately the compressibility of this latest batch has caused the average thickness to leap up to 86 with no change in σ.

5 The output distribution for thickness after this increase of six units which translates into a 3σ shift in µ (6 = 3 2) is displayed in the top half of Figure 4. With µ only 1σ below the USL of 88 (the initial 4σ distance minus this shift of 3σ) there are now ppm above this limit instead of the original 32 ppm. What is the probability this dramatic decline in quality is detected when the 10:00 a.m. subgroup the first one collected after this change is plotted on the control chart? Distribution of Individual Measurements LSL 3σ = 6 USL 1σ µ = 86 σ = ppm Distribution of Subgroup Averages LCL 3σ = 6 3σ = 3 UCL µ = 86 σ = % Figure 4 A change in raw material moves µ up to 86. Because µ is always equal to µ when µ shifts by 3σ to 86 so does µ as is illustrated in the bottom half of Figure 4. µ is now located three units (86 83) above the upper control limit of 83. Equivalently since σ is equal to 1 µ is 3 σ above the UCL. With all but the area below its lower 3 σ tail (which is.135 percent) above percent of the subgroup averages collected from the new process output distribution will be greater than the UCL. Plotting one of these on the chart will signal an out-of-control condition by being above the UCL. Thus there is a percent chance this 3σ shift in µ is caught by the very next subgroup collected after the change occurs. After implementing an appropriate corrective action the average thickness will be restored to its target of 80 and the process will return to producing 64 ppm. In addition having detected an upset at 10:00 a.m. we will sort all laminations manufactured since 9:00 a.m. (the time of the last in-control subgroup) to ensure that customers receive only conforming parts. DETECTING SMALL MOVEMENTS IN µ

6 What if the batch of material introduced at 9:30 had caused a change of only three units (a 1.5σ shift) in µ as indicated in the top half of Figure 5? When µ is bumped up to 83 µ mimics this move and also increases to 83 as is seen in the bottom half of Figure 5. Because the distribution is now centered on the UCL of 83 one half of the s will be greater than the UCL while the other half will be less. This situation means that the 10:00 a.m. subgroup average has a 50 percent chance of signaling an out-of-control condition by being above the UCL. But there is also a 50 percent chance this subgroup average will be less than 83 and not alert us to the change in µ. If this happens we will think all is well at 10:00 a.m. and continue producing laminations without making any adjustments to the process average or undertaking any sorting operations. 0 ppm LSL Distribution of Individual Measurements 5.5σ 1.5σ = 3 µ = 83 σ = 2 2.5σ 6210 ppm USL Distribution of Subgroup Averages LCL σ = 3 µ = 83 σ = 1 50% UCL Figure 5 When µ shifts to 83 so does µ of the s. Suppose the compressibility of the batch of raw material introduced at 10:30 a.m. brings the average thickness back to its target. With µ again equal to 80 the average of the 11:00 a.m. subgroup will probably be in control. Thus there is a 50 percent chance a 1.5σ shift in µ could begin at 9:30 a.m. adversely affect the process output until 10:30 a.m. then disappear without ever being noticed even though we are faithfully watching the control chart. Unfortunately customers will notice the increase in nonconforming laminations. When µ shifts higher by 1.5σ instead of being 4.0σ away from each specification it is now 5.5σ ( ) above the LSL and only 2.5σ ( ) below the USL. Under these conditions there is essentially 0 ppm below the LSL but 6210 ppm above the USL for a total of 6210 ppm (review Figure 5). This amount is almost ten times more than the 64 ppm expected by customers from a process having a C PK reported to be 1.33.

7 DETECTING MOVEMENTS OF OTHER SIZES Just as done for shifts of 3.0σ and 1.5σ probabilities can be calculated for catching shifts of other magnitudes on the next subgroup after the change occurs. A number of these probabilities are listed in Table 1 for several subgroup sizes. Subgroup Size Shift in µ σ 1.0σ 1.5σ σ σ σ Table 1 Probabilities of detecting changes in µ versus subgroup size. For an R chart with n equal to four shifts greater than 1.5σ have more than a 50 percent chance of discovery and should be detected by a diligent operator. However shifts in µ less than 1.5σ will be caught less than one-half of the time with the chance of catching a 0.5σ change being only 2 percent. Such low probabilities mean that small perturbations to µ may come and go without us ever being aware they have negatively impacted our process. One way to improve the odds of catching small movements in µ is to increase the subgroup size. The chance of detecting a 1.5σ shift increases from 50 percent when n is four to almost 64 percent when n is five. However this chance falls to only 34 percent if n is three. Note that these tabulated probabilities are not for how much or how often µ will shift. Every process is subject to its own unique set of perturbing factors and will experience varying magnitudes and frequencies of transient shifts in µ. But when increasing entropy eventually alters µ by some amount Table 1 lists the probabilities this change will be promptly detected. POWER CURVES The probabilities in Table 1 are plotted on the graph displayed in Figure 6 with one curve for each subgroup size. Called power curves these lines portray the chances of detecting a shift in µ of a given size (expressed in σ units on the horizontal axis) with the next subgroup collected after the change takes place 8. For small shifts in µ all three curves are close to zero. As the size of the shift increases so does the power of the chart to detect it with all three curves eventually leveling off close to 100 percent for shifts in excess of 3σ.

8 Power Curves 1.0 Probability of Detecting Change With Next Subgroup n = 5 n = 4 n = Change in µ expressed in σ units Figure 6 Power curves for subgroup sizes 3 4 and 5. The dashed horizontal line drawn on this graph shows there is a 50 percent chance of missing a 1.34σ shift in µ when n is five whereas µ must move by 1.73σ to have this same probability when n is only three. Table 2 lists shift sizes that have a 50 percent chance of remaining undetected called S 50 values for subgroup sizes 1 through 6. Temporary movements in µ smaller than S 50 σ are more than likely to be missed by a control chart. Subgroup Size S 50 Value Table 2 S 50 values for several subgroup sizes. For the commonly used subgroup sizes of three four and five these statistically derived adjustment factors range from 1.34σ to 1.73σ. Interestingly this interval is just slightly larger than the empirically based one of 1.4σ to 1.6σ proposed in the six-sigma literature. However the six-sigma doctrine applies an identical 1.5σ shift to the average of almost every process regardless of the subgroup size of its control chart. This rough rule of thumb can now be made more precise through the use of Table 2. MODIFYING THE CAPABILITY ASSESSMENT

9 As demonstrated above control charts cannot reliably detect small movements in µ. Even though a chart appears to indicate that a process is in a good state of control µ may have experienced slight temporary shifts. Over time these undetected fluctuations enlarge the spread of the output distribution as depicted in Figure 7 thereby increasing the amount of nonconforming parts. Although customers receive shipments of parts produced by a process with a dynamic average most manufacturers estimate outgoing quality assuming a stationary average. It s no wonder few customers believe the quality promises made by these manufacturers. Acknowledging that a process will experience shifts in µ of various magnitudes and knowing that not all of these will be discovered some allowance for them must be made when estimating outgoing quality so customers aren t disappointed. Because shifts ranging in size from 0 up to S 50 σ are the ones likely to remain undetected (larger moves should be caught by the chart) a conservative approach is to assume that every missed shift is as large as S 50 σ. Since shifts can move µ lower or higher in place of using µˆ for the process average when estimating capability µˆ minus S 50 σ is used to evaluate how well the process output meets the LSL while µˆ plus S 50 σ is used for determining conformance to the USL. Both of these adjustments are incorporated into the C PK formula now called the dynamic C PK index by making the following modifications: Dynamic ˆ C PK ( µ ˆ S50σˆ ) LSL USL ( µ ˆ + S50σˆ ) = Minimum 3ˆ σ 3ˆ σ µ ˆ LSL S50σˆ USL µ ˆ S50σˆ 3ˆ σ 3ˆ σ With µ estimated as 80 and σ as 2 from the control chart in Figure 1 C PK was estimated as 1.33 under the assumption of a stationary average. The associated amount of nonconforming laminations was 64 ppm (review Figure 2). By including an adjustment in this assessment for undetected shifts in µ the estimate of capability will decrease and the expected total number of nonconforming parts will increase. From Table 2 S 50 is 1.50 when n equals four. Factoring in the possibility of missing shifts in µ of up to 1.50σ drops the C PK index for thickness from 1.33 to only Dynamic ˆ C PK µ ˆ LSL 1.50σˆ USL µ ˆ 1.50σˆ 3ˆ σ 3ˆ σ (2) (2) 3(2) 3(2) = Minimum 0.83 ( 0.83) = INTERPRETING THE DYNAMIC C PK INDE

10 When µ equals the center of the tolerance a C PK of 0.83 normally means that µ is 2.5σ (3 0.83) away from either specification limit. Therefore about 6210 ppm would be below the LSL and another 6210 ppm above the USL for a total of ppm. However if an undetected change pushes the average thickness 1.5σ higher there will be 6210 ppm above the USL but practically no nonconforming parts below the LSL. This is because µ is now 5.5σ (4.0σ + 1.5σ) above the LSL as illustrated in the top portion of Figure 5. Had µ shifted 1.5σ lower there would have been 6210 ppm below the LSL but essentially zero ppm exceeding the USL since µ would be 5.5σ away from this upper limit. Even though µ experiences transient upward and downward shifts over time it can move in only one direction at a time. There could be 6210 ppm above the USL or 6210 ppm below the LSL but not both simultaneously. Therefore customers should receive no more than 6210 ppm from a process having a dynamic C PK index of This ppm level assumes undetected shifts are happening almost constantly and that every one is equal to S 50 σ. If a particular process is fairly robust meaning that µ doesn t shift very often or by very much customers would receive correspondingly less nonconforming product. In fact when µ is stationary customers will get the 64 ppm predicted by the conventional C PK index of Thus depending on the degree of mobility in µ the actual outgoing quality level will be somewhere between 64 and 6210 ppm. By proclaiming the 6210 ppm level to all customers the manufacturer should be able to keep its quality promise for this process. Note that the dynamic C PK is related to the conventional C PK index in the following manner: DynamicC PK µ LSL S50σ USL µ S50σ 3σ 3σ µ LSL S50σ USL µ S50σ 3σ 3σ 3σ 3σ µ LSL USL µ S50σ 3σ 3σ 3σ S50 = CPK 3 Suppose a company desires an outgoing quality level for a particular process to be equivalent to that associated with a dynamic C PK index of Knowing that the subgroup size chosen to monitor this process will be five (meaning S 50 is 1.34) the quality level as measured by a traditional capability study must be such that the conventional C PK index is at least 2.12.

11 CHANGING THE SUBGROUP SIZE S50 Dynamic CPK = CPK = CPK = C By increasing n shifts in µ have a higher probability of detection. With fewer missed changes the process spread will not expand as much and outgoing quality should be better. For example if n for the chart monitoring thickness had been six instead of four the S 50 factor in the dynamic C PK formula would be 1.22 instead of PK Dynamic ˆ C PK µ ˆ LSL 1.22σˆ USL µ ˆ 1.22σˆ 3ˆ σ 3ˆ σ (2) (2) 3(2) 3(2) = Minimum 0.93 ( 0.93) = Enlarging n by two increases the dynamic C PK index from 0.83 to 0.93 and reduces the worstcase expected ppm amount by more than half from 6210 to just REMAINING QUESTIONS This article has provided the statistical rationale for adjusting estimates of process capability by including a shift in µ. The range of these statistically derived adjustments is very similar to the one based on the various empirical studies referenced in the six-sigma literature. However the dynamic C PK index assumes σ remains stable when µ moves. What if σ is also subjected to undetected increases and decreases? Further studies are needed to determine how these changes would affect estimates of outgoing quality. In addition lamination thickness has a bilateral tolerance. Do features with unilateral tolerances need to be handled differently regarding the shift in µ? Also the output for thickness was assumed to be close to a normal distribution. What effects do shifts in µ and σ have on capability estimates when the process output has a non-normal distribution especially a nonsymmetrical one? REFERENCES 1 Harry M. J. and Lawson J. R. Six Sigma Producibility Analysis and Process Characterization Motorola University Press Schaumburg IL 1992.

12 2. Bender A. Statistical Tolerancing as it Relates to Quality Control and the Designer Automotive Division Newsletter of ASQC Evans D. H. Statistical Tolerancing: The State of the Art Part III: Shifts and Drifts Journal of Quality and Technology April 175 pp Gilson J. A New Approach to Engineering Tolerances Machinery Publishing Co. London England Wheeler D. J. Advanced Topics in Statistical Process Control: The Power of Shewhart Charts SPC Press Knoxville TN Grant E.L. and Leavenworth R.S. Statistical Quality Control 7 th edition McGraw-Hill New York Montgomery D.C. Introduction to Statistical Quality Control 3 rd edition John Wiley & Sons New York Hurayt G. Operating Characteristic Curves for the -bar Chart Quality 59 September 1992 p. 59.

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