Functional Safety

The control of electrical power is fundamental to what SPS does and has inevitable safety implications not just in its raw form but also in terms of what it allows you to do to effect motion etc. It is something that SPS takes very seriously in all aspects of what it does to protect its staff, customers and end users. This is epecially so in certain sectors such as automotive, medical, railways and industrial where over the years formal functional safety standards have evolved.
SPS has recently been officially recognised by Microchip as having sufficient experience in this area to become one of select few functional safety design partners. SPS uses Microchip products to implement all of its embedded control partly as they have products with the required features and tools/libraries available to aid meeting safety requirements. A summary of their capabilities can be found here.
We will be continuing to expand our expertise in this area by investing in training and the relevant processes and software tools especially with respect to software development and testing.

June is Training Month at SPS

Not quite sure why it has worked out like this but June seems to be the month for Training this year. First of all one of our Principal Engineers (Peter Moriarty) went on a 4 day course run by Ridley Engineering on Power Supply Design. This is a world reneowned course run by one of the leaders in the SMPS industry which is both theoretical and hands on.
Next our production staff are renewing their IPC qulifications in IPC A-610 – Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies and IPC WHMA-A-620 – Requirements and Acceptance for Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies
All of staff have a target of doing at least 1 day training a year. Sometimes this is in the form of internal mentoring but where possible we try to find external courses so we can expand our knowledge within the company. This is one of our stated QMS objectives.

External ISO9001:2015 Audit Success

We had our first external audit of our ISO9001:2015 QMS by BSI since we made the 2008-2015 transition yesterday. I am pleased to announce that we passed with no issues at all, not even a minor non-conformance. Well done to all involved. Two “Opportunities for Improvement” were made that we will be taking on board in due course. We will publish the new certificate when it comes available on our quality page.

MISRA C 2012 Training

As part of our ongoing software quality improvement initiative, our Technical Partner (Charlie Elliott) and one of our Principal Engineers (Mark Berry) are going on a two day training course on MISRA C 2012 next week. This is being run by one of the top software QA tools vendors (LDRA) at their offices in Liverpool and will be presented by members of the MISRA working group. For those of you who are not aware, MISRA C is set of “good practice guidelines” for C and C++ developed by a consortia of (mainly) Automotive engineers . MISRA stands for the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association and was set up to promote good practices within that industry for C/C++ code portability, safety, security and reliability especially within embedded systems. These same guidelines have now been adopted across many industries and as such MISRA C is generally accepted as THE set of guidelines to use on many applications that SPS is involved in.

Transition to ISO9001:2015 Complete!!

Yesterday we had our ISO9001:2015 external transition audit by BSI. We are delighted to report that we passed with flying colours with no non conformities!! This is a great reflection of the hard work and dedication of our Quality / Production Manager (Alan Yarker) in particular. We are expecting our updated certificate in due course and will update it on the site when we have it. At the same time we are also going to post some of the key aspects from our QMS (scope, policy and objectives) so that you can get a better understanding of our company.

Transition to ISO9001:2015 – Update

We have now had our readiness review for ISO9001:2015 with our external auditor from BSI. The outcome of this was very favourable with just a few areas requiring some improvement. This has now been carried out and we are looking forward to our first external audit which is booked for the 11th January 2018.

Transition to ISO9001:2015

We have now completed the first key stage of our transition to ISO9001:2015 by having a full review of our QMS vs this new version of the standard. As a result we have rewritten large sections of our QMS manual and changed some of our procedures. In many areas (especially risk management) we found we were already doing what is required by the new standard but just needed to tighten up on recording. BSI are now booked for 8th December 2017 to carry out a full readiness review and provisionally booked for 11th January 2018 for the first external audit at which we hope to gain certification.

Technical Partner appointed FIET

In recognition of his technical ability, experience and commercial enterprise, our Technical Partner Dr. Charlie Elliott was recently appointed to be a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology as reported here.

Charlie commented that although this is a personal achievement that the entire staff at SPS have all made a significant contribution to the success of the business which formed a key part of being eligible for the award. He wanted to pass on his thanks to them.

IPC/WHMA-A 620 Training and Certification

As part of our ongoing training program and commitment to improving quality, our Production and Quality Manager (Alan Yarker) and one of our manufacturing staff (Liz Thewlis) have recently taken the 3 day IPC/WHMA-A 620 Application Specialist course at The Electronics Group just round the ring road from us in Leeds. This intensive 3 day course is aimed at training staff in the Acceptability of Cable and Wire Harness Assemblies. Both Liz and Alan said the course was very worthwhile and passed with no problem. We are very lucky to have such excellent training facilities local to us in Leeds.

SPS achieves certification to ISO9001:2008

BSI have now carried out the final stage 2 external audit to ISO9001:2008 and we are delighted to report that we have passed!! This is a fantastic achievement and we are as convinced as ever that this will bring real value to the company and our customers. We have now added a dedicated quality page to our site where you can download our certificate and also find out about our other quality initiatives.