30 Years of Setting the Standard: Happy Birthday Q-DASby Stephan Sprink on November 20, 2018 From News And Comment
On 25 November 1988, university lecturers Edgar Dietrich and Alfred Schulze founded the company GDS Gesellschaft für Datenverabeitung und Systemtechnik mbh, which would later become Q-DAS. Since then the company has greatly expanded its product portfolio and its global reach, but one theme remains consistent throughout these 30 years: a passion for customer service and quality assurance software that drives manufacturing productivity.
Today, Q-DAS software is an accepted standard tool all over the world. The statistical process control (SPC) tools developed by Q-DAS help users visualise and evaluate production processes in real-time, enabling greater control and avoiding costly mistakes. The company delivers efficiency and optimisation to over 150 000 users in 55 countries around the world. On the company’s 30th birthday, let’s look at some major milestones in Q-DAS’s journey.
A Trusted, Reliable Partner
In 1989, the Fortune 500 automotive safety supplier Autoliv purchased a 5 ¼ “ floppy disk. This made them the first customers of Q-DAS’s debut software qs-STAT, the process qualification software that evaluates quality information statistically to assess measurement processes and systems and drive continuous improvement in production. qs-STAT was initially available in only German, but three years later the first multilingual version was released. The millennium edition released in 2001 evolved the software from a purely statistical tool to one that delivers a central database for recording, visualising and automatically evaluating quality information. Today, the software is available in over 20 languages.
A key value at Q-DAS is recognising the value of collaboration, from the openness of the company’s software platforms and ability to connect with competitors’ systems, to developing ways of working together with other experts in SPC. In 1996, Q-DAS worked with several other companies to develop the Q-DAS ASCII transfer format. The AQDEF (Advanced Quality Data Exchange Format) is now an industry standard, enabling cross-system exchange of quality information. An industrial work group headed by Q-DAS has continued to develop the format since 2006.
There are many ways in which Q-DAS established itself as a statistical process control (SPC) authority that can be depended upon by industry professionals. In 1994, Q-DAS became one of the first German software houses to possess a DIN EN ISO 9001-certified quality management system (QMS). The first edition of Dietrich and Schulze’s book ‘Statistical Procedures for Machine and Process Qualification’ was published in 1995, offering insights into and case studies of tools used in SPC, gauge capability, and statistical procedures for QS 9000 and ISO 9000. Six editions of the book have been published. The introduction of the procella monitoring tool in 1999 brought real-time visualisation of product and process data in the ASCII transfer format. And in 2006 Q-DAS presented a new concept at the Control International trade fair: CAMERA. The CAMERA concept supports all Q-DAS products with tools and procedures to create a complete performance measurement system.
Over the years, Q-DAS’s achievements have been recognised with a number of awards. In 2004, the company received the TOP 100 – Excellent Innovators in the German Middle Class award, and Dietrich and Schulze were finalists in the Entrepreneur of the Year 2007. That same year, Alfred Schulze retired from Q-DAS and Dietrich became sole owner of the company.
In 2015, Q-DAS was acquired by Hexagon, becoming a part of the company’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. With increased sales and services experts distributed around the world to maximise convenience, Q-DAS has further delivered on its commitment to customer service. Hexagon’s acquisition of eMMA, an enterprise software enabling OEMS and their suppliers to plan, collect and analyse dimensional information from various stages of the product lifecycle, expanded Q-DAS’s quality data management capabilities and introduced more team members to the Q-DAS family. Q-DAS has played an important part in the development of the online software platform for quality data and measurement management, HxGN SMART Quality.
What does the future hold for Q-DAS?
In the past 30 years, the drive for greater manufacturing productivity keeps increasing. Upcoming Q-DAS projects are focused on enabling customers to meet this challenge and move toward adopting game-changing SMART Factory principles. Key initiatives include giving customers tools to automatically optimise processes, such as machine feedback and machine learning, as well as developing dynamic sampling to cut customer inspection times.
Ultimately these projects are focused on the key theme that runs through Q-DAS’s history: delivering value to customers. By continuing to strengthen partnership commitments, Q-DAS envisions that the company and its customers will continue to benefit from leveraging their experience. Together.
Here’s to many happy returns for Q-DAS!
Stephan Sprink is the Team Leader of the Q-DAS Marketing Sales team and holds a diploma in business administration and engineering. Stephan joined Q-DAS in 1999 and shortly afterwards spent a year in the US to support Q-DAS Inc. Back in Germany, he helped develop a strong and successful network of Q-DAS partners that he still cares for today.