Can you imagine how many certificates and quality standards are required for the space equipment used by NASA and the ESA? Today we are interviewing Noé Ruiz López, Quality and Industrial Manager for Solar MEMS, who can tell us all about the challenges of working on fascinating projects that demand the very highest standards of quality.
Continuous improvement, risk analysis procedures, preventive actions and teamwork are just some of the vital aspects for success mentioned by the Quality and Industrial Manager of this company which is an international reference for manufacturing space components.
Meet Noé Ruiz López
– What is a normal day like for you as Quality and Industrial Manager of Solar MEMS?
The day starts very early. Due to the time change, I start the day by attending the needs of our customers in Asia, the Middle East and Oceania, as they are on their half-day. Throughout the morning I prioritize the urgencies of clients depending on their time of day: Middle East, Europe, Africa, and America. Once is taken care of; I focus on the continuous improvement of our products and services. The rest of the time I dedicate to the implementation of improvements in our suppliers, lean manufacturing, 5S, “Request for Quotation (RFQ)”, meetings, preparation of audits and visits… and a long etcetera that I could not attend without my cup of coffee well charged ☕.
– What is the best thing about working at Solar MEMS?´
To contribute my grain of sand in guaranteeing the quality of the products we manufacture at Solar MEMS with continuous improvement and without losing the values and principles that identify us. Working with colleagues who are excellent professionals, from whom I learn every day and respect.
– What are the main achievements of your team?
To be able to guarantee that the products we manufacture at Solar MEMS are of the highest international quality and are endorsed by the most demanding international certifications and by our customers. We can develop a continuous improvement of our products and we continue to apply the principles of Lean Manufacturing that allow us to present exceptional products and services.
-What is the most difficult aspect of your work at Solar MEMS?
To resolve Non-Conformities (NC) and incidents in the shortest possible time. For Solar-MEMS customers are very important, and we listen to them carefully to deal with any incident or doubt they may have. We continue to improve our designs and manufacturing.
About Solar Mems
-Quality standards must be very complex for products like those which Solar MEMS exports around the world. Which are the most complicated to meet?
Due to our confidentiality agreements, I cannot explain them in detail, but it is true that space regulations and those of international organizations are the most demanding. Not only to achieve compliance, but also to be able to maintain and guarantee them continuously with demonstrable evidence. In addition, our most important clients from different continents have their own internal regulations that are usually more restrictive than international regulations.
– Do the quality standards change a lot between the different countries that Solar MEMS works with, or are there unified international certifications?
Although there are international certifications, each continent, country, and customer are unique. With each project we must review the technical requirements and check one by one that we meet them. As a rule, we cannot rely solely on international certifications.
– What is it about Solar MEMS products that ensures they have the quality demanded to supply international agencies as important as NASA, the ESA, OneWeb, etc?
We have a very refined and continuously improving design, manufacturing, and process control. We like our customers to visit us so they can see for themselves how we control and supervise our entire production process: from the selection of raw materials until the requested product or service reaches our customer and during the warranty. Our control of each component and traceability is real, and we monitor possible environmental and internal risks.
– What is the key factor in coordinating the industrial production of high-technology space sensors efficiently?
Simple: Teamwork. We have a team of highly qualified professionals in each of the departments and we must listen to everyone involved before deciding. That’s why we have short meetings very often with each colleague involved in an issue, improvement, design, or any other aspect. Once all the necessary information is gathered, it is easier to determine the actions to be taken, keeping quality and the customer as the main objective.
– Has the current situation in Europe affected raw materials and component deliveries or delivery times?
Yes, it has affected us. We have mitigated the consequences because we have a well-defined risk analysis procedure every time there is a situation that may affect the quality of our products or services and the agreed delivery times. Thanks to these preventive actions we have managed to minimize the impact to date.
– What product is Solar MEMS working most intensely on at the moment?
We have several products and services in development and sales. Although Solar-MEMS is known for solar sensors, we have other products and services. As some of them are under confidentiality agreements requested by international customers, we can report that these products and services are related to space, energy, automotive, engineering and positioning sensors. Our commercial department can inform any inquiry to customers or interested parties in general and we have an engineering department open to study the design and development of other products and services.
– Which of the company’s projects are the most complex?
For Solar-MEMS every project we accept is complex, we currently do not have any simple projects. Thanks to the legacy and years of experience gained over the past 13 years, Solar-MEMS is constantly receiving interesting and challenging project proposals and requests.
– What are Solar-MEMS’ quality prospects for 2022?
We design and manufacture products with the highest quality and continuous improvement. Our goal for 2022 is to maintain the highest quality, develop new products that we are designing and respond to the trust that our customers and suppliers are placing in us. After all, the satisfaction of having done a good job is the best motivation to continue.