7179 (1986)
AND
SUMMARY
The Taguchi methods have recently become popular in the U.S.A following a realization of their
importance in Japanese quality design. This review is an initial attempt to extract the important ideas while
drawing on the ‘Western’ experience with response surface methodology and experimental design.
KEY WORDS Taguchi method Offline quality control Quality design Experimental design Response surfaces
the analysis in a limited way. The three stages can be However, if the circuit designer chooses a nominal
summarized loosely as follows: gain of x1 then, owing to the nonlinearity of re
sponse, it can be seen that the variation about the
design > production > use corresponding voltage y , is much reduced.
Suppose now that there is a resistor in the circuit
Corrections of a faulty design at the production which has a linear effect on the voltage at all levels of
phase, or even worse, recall of a product after the transistor gain. Then the resistance of this compo
distribution, is seen as to be avoided through careful nent can be chosen so that the difference between the
initial design. Mixed in with this idea is a social voltage y , and the desired voltage yo is eliminated.
philosophy which entails minimizing the total cost to The response is then on target and the variability in
society of a product. Thus if a small adjustment to a response is minimized. Thus transistor gain is a
design produces a large decrease in the variability of a control factor and resistance is a signal factor.
product, or a large decrease in cost for little or no In more complicated cases the identification of
increase in variability, then this is of benefit to all. such factors requires the use of experimental design
This general design philosophy is accompanied by methodology and response surface techniques, as
two critical features. discussed in Sections 3 and 4, respectively, and
illustrated, in particular, by Examples 1 and 2, of
Section 5 .
Separation of variables The main ‘response surface’ idea in Taguchi is to
The design variables (factors) are separated into use the control factors to minimize variability and
two main groups: (l),those which affect the variabil then to correct the mean level (if necessary) to the
ity of a response, called control factors, and (2), those target value by adjusting the signal factors. One might
which affect the (mean) level of a response, called alternatively use the signal factors to maximize or
signal factors. minimize the level.
An example given by Kackar and Phadke’ is a The determination of optimum levels of gain and
simple illustration of the separation of variables. resistance in the power circuit is an application of
Consider an electrical power circuit where the charac parameter design within the overall design stage. If
teristic of interest is the output voltage, the target the variability of response, following parameter de
value of this voltage being yo. Assume that the voltage sign, is still too large then tolerance design is advo
is largely determined by the gain of a transistor in the cated. This would mean retaining the optimum
circuit and that the circuit designer is at liberty to nominal levels for factors, but reducing the variability
choose the nominal value ( x ) of the transistor gain. of individual factors in an optimal way so that the
Suppose that the effect of transistor gain on the overall variability of response is reduced to an
output voltage is nonlinear, as shown in Figure 1. acceptable level. This is again an area for the
A transistor with a gain of xo would give the application of response surface techniques and is
required output voltage of yo. The effect of a variation illustrated by Example 2 of Section 5 .
about the nominal value xo on the resulting variation
about yo is indicated by bands straddling the nominal Sources of variation
values.
There is a profound message contained in the work
concerning the sources of variability of a product. A
long debate on controlled versus randomized experi
mentation has continued in the West for many years
and with renewed vigour in the social sciences where
‘observational studies’ have been singled out as an
area of research. The problem is this: to what extent
does controlled experiment allow determination of
behaviour in a wider environment? For example, in
agriculture special weather conditions may prevent
the extrapolation of the results of a field trial.
Taguchi’s answer is surprisingly simple. Try to pro
duce variability in the ‘laboratory’ by mimicking the
variability of the production process or the use
environment. Thus Taguchi has a third category of
variables called noise factors. These are variables
which cannot be incorporated into the engineering
design but which, at least roughly, can have levels set
I ”
in an experiment. They are experimental variables
2% H
*I
but not design variables. They are said to produce
‘outer noise’ (‘inner noise’ is taken to mean more
Figure 1 . Effect of transistor gain on output voltage traditional kinds of variability such as deterioration in
TAGUCHI METHODS 73
uncorrelated. Define Yij as the jth observation at x(~) the model is linear with k + 1 parameters, as
and define described above, we may only use the n  (k + 1)
(i) pias the usual least squares estimate ofE(Yx) degrees of freedom from the first term in (2) to test
at x = ~ ( i ) the underlying model (notwithstanding the possible
heteroscedasticity) .
 l m
(ii) Yi= m ~ C.
j=1
Yij as the mean of the This tradeoff between modelling the mean and
variance is further highlighted in a twostage analysis
observations at x ( ~ ) in which we may identify, say, only a few design
factors xi as affecting the mean and then ‘steal’ from
the larger number of degrees of freedom produced by
l m refitting the smaller model, in order to estimate.:a
(iii) s: =
m1
Z (Yii yi)2as the estimate of
The aliasing between estimation of :u and E(Yx)
~
j=1
when we ignore significant design variables is brought
the variance of the observations at x@. out in work by Box and Meyer.’They give an analysis
in which prior distributions militate against having
The total sum of squares can be split up in the usual more than a few significant design factors. The
way into the regression sum of squares and the tradeoff is critical when m = 1 and there are no
residual sum of squares (RSS), namely degrees of freedom to estimate separately each .:a
Even worse is when n < k + 1, so that variances and
means are competing for degrees of freedom. These
oversaturated models are of great theoretical in
terest and a Bayesian methodology seems the only
The last item in (1) (RSS) can itself be split up as way forward.
n m
RSS = m 2
i= 1
(yi  pi),+ iz= l j=1
C. (Y,  yi)2
(2) 5. EXAMPLES
Let a:be the variance of E, at x = x ( ~(i) = 1, . . .,n). If In this section we analyse data from three examples to
these are not equal then standard theory shows that the extent required to illustrate the points outlined in
the piare in general suboptimum estimators. Howev the previous sections. The first two examples use the
er in practice (and certainly if they are almost equal) it L18 orthogonal array which can accommodate up to
is reasonable to use the pi as a good first approxima eight factors. The array is given in Appendix I. The
tion. The last term in (2) can then be rewritten as design factors are labelled xl, x 2 , . . .,x8 and the rows
(i = 1,2, . . ., 18) give the experimental combinations
for these factors. The factor x1 is at two levels (1,
+ 1) and all other factors are at three levels ( 1, 0,
+l).
Moreover , under normality assumptions this term is
independent of the other terms (as is each s t separ
Example 1
ately). Note also that if the residuals at x = x ( ~are
)
This example illustrates the identification of con
trol and signal factors in parameter design using
response surface methodology. The data given in
then Table I are from Phadke et al.“’ Missing replicates
have been replaced by other replicates in each group
1 to obtain a balanced experiment. The objective was
Z (Yij  Ti), = to obtain a microprocessor window size of 3.5 pm
m1 j
with minimum variability. It is thus a ‘response on
1
m1
Z (YV Ti  P;  Y;
j
+ Ti)*= &? target’ experiment. The first seven factors in the L18
array were used in a preetch experiment and these
were mask dimension (xl), viscosity/bake tempera
This shows that the analysis is equivalent to an ture (x2), spin speed (x3), bake time (x4) aperture
analysis based on the residuals. ( x 5 ) , exposure time (x6) and developing time (x,).
The ‘degrees of freedom’ in this term, namely nm  The levels of these variables were set after consulta
n = n(ml), are available for estimation of u . The
: tion with design engineers and the response variable
independence allows us to go further and model the was ‘linewidth’, a variable closely related to window
sit back on the xvariables ‘without interference’ from size. Table I gives the sample means 7; and sample
the modelling of the mean E( Yx). The penalty we pay standard deviations, s;, for the eighteen treatment
for using all the available degrees of freedom to combinations. The means and standard deviations
model the error in this way is only a limited number of were calculated from the ten replicates at each
degrees of freedom for modelling E( Y,J, namely n. If experimental combination.
TAGUCHI METHODS 75
I 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
i 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Basing analysis on the means in each group (the yi) Table 11. Regression sum of squares
the linear model
Due to ss DF
Yi= eo + elxjl + . . . + e7xi7 + E;, i = 1,2, . . ., 18,
XI 0.6513 1
x2 0.0170 1
was fitted using ordinary least squares (OLS). In the x3 0.7287 1
above model xii denotes the value of factor xi in row i x4 04004 1
and eiis random error. Calculations were carried out XS 0.0091 1
X6 0.5406 1
using the statistical package MINITAB which also X? 0.2214 1
outputs the analysis of variance of regression. In
Table I1 we give the breakdown of the regression sum
of squares from the analysis of variance. This enables ~
the identification of those factors which contribute SS = Sum of squares. DF = Degrees of freedom.
significantly to the response.
Only xl, x3, x6 and x7 contribute significantly to the Table 111. Experimental values for the tempera
response. Thus a reduced model was fitted by OLS ture controller circuit
using the above four factors only. Dropping the
subscript i we obtain the fitted response surface Levels
This is Taguchi’s inner noise. We have assumed that Denote the functional form of RTON, given in ( 4 ) ,
these values are normally distributed with means byf. Also let V ( R , ) = uf, V ( E o ) = u& V(E,) = u,2.
equal to the designated values and standard devia Then, using a multivariate Taylor series expansion of
tions given by u = ApJ2, where p is the mean fabout the means of the circuit variables, the variance
(designated level) and lOOh is the percentage toler of the response function, Vf is given to a good
ance. For all variables we have initially used A = 0.05 approximation by
so that approximately 98 per cent of realized values
fall wi hin the tolerance limits for each designated 4
i 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Y, 2.39 1.23 0.954 1.80 1.49 5.96 2.06 7.88 3.04
S, 0.1804 0.0953 0.1076 0.1550 0.1202 0.6475 0.1310 0.2720 0.1476
I 10 II 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
1 0.86 4.59
var (Y,) = var, E(Ylx) + E,var (Y~x)
A 2 1.12 5.00
3 2.18 4.56 If:a is roughly constant in a neighbourhood of the
'true' value of x, say m, then we can interpret
Table VII E,(var( Ylx)) as ax2.The first term on the righthand
side is what interests us here and this is particularly so
when E(Y(x), the model, is nonlinear.
Suppose for example that E( Y,) is quadratic:
A 0.213
A' 0404
B 2.546
AB 0.219
A'B 0.275
written in matrix terms as
Design factors
I XI x2 x3 x4 x5 X6
~ ~~ ~.
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
4 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1
5  1 0 0 0 1 1 1 1
6 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 0
7 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1
8 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 1
9 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0
10 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1
11 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0
12 1  1 1 0 0 1 1 1
13 1 0  1 0 1 1 1 0
14 1 0 0 1  1 0 1 1.
15 1 0 1  1 0 1 0 1
16 1 1  1 1 0 1 1 0
17 1 1 0  1 1 1 0 1
18 1 1 1 0  1 0 1 1
APPENDIX I1
Y Time in hours to reach end point voltage of 1 volt. Duracell Batteries Ltd.
A B
XI x2 Yvalues
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