A Summer of Quality Control at Bell's Brewery
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The author spent the summer of 2016 as an intern at Bell's Brewery in Comstock. Michigan, working within their quality control lab as the statistical quality control intern. Working under quality lab lead Lauren Torres and head scientist Luke Chadwick, his primary role within the lab was to investigate the consistency of machines utilized in the lab, in addition to completing various computing and statistical tasks and contributing to some general lab and brewery functions, such as performing data entry and participating in sensory analysis. The biggest project the author worked on over the course of the summer was an analysis of the reliability of the lab's Anton Paar machine. The lab uses the Anton Paar daily to analyze batches of beer at various stages of the brewing process, the machine reads a sample's alcohol by volume (abbreviated ABV) and gravity. Lab technicians had noticed that readings from this machine were occasionally unusual or variable, not far off enough to inhibit daily lab testing, but still inappropriately inconsistent. In an effort to try to explain this inconsistency, the author studied and implemented several tools from Six Sigma , a set of methodologies aimed to improve process control within manufacturing. The most important of those tools were the Gage Repeatability and Reproducibility (shortened Gage R&R) study, and control charts. In order to best make some of these tools he utilized available to the lab for future use, the author implemented interactive versions of some of them in R Shiny , a package in the programming language R [9, 11] that allows for the production of easily accessible applications. These applications allow for simpler and quicker access to some of the capacities of R for individuals unfamiliar with programming.