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# How Cpk and Ppk Are Calculated, part 2

## Marilyn Wheatley 9 December, 2014

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Minitab's capability analysis output gives you estimates of the capability indices Ppk and Cpk,
and we receive many questions about the difference between them. Some of my colleagues have
taken other approaches to explain the difference between Ppk and Cpk, so I wanted to show you
how they differ by detailing precisely how each one is calculated.
When you're using statistical software like Minitab, you don't need to do these calculations by
hand, but I also want to lift the lid off the "black box" to show you what Minitab does behind the
scenes to provide these figures.
In my previous post, we saw how Ppk is calculated. This time, we'll go through the calculation of
Cpk, using the same sample data set in Minitab. Go to File > Open Worksheet, click the "Look
in Minitab Sample Data folder" button at the bottom, and open the dataset named CABLE.MTW.

## Calculating Within-Subgroup Standard Deviation

Where Ppk uses the overall standard deviation, Cpk uses the within-subgroup standard deviation.
Calculating Cpk is easy once we have an estimate of the within-subgroup standard deviation. The
default method in Minitab for the within-subgroup calculation is the pooled standard deviation.
The formula for this calculation from Methods and formulas is:

This looks a little intimidating, but youll see its not so bad if we take it one step at a time.
First, well calculate Sp. For this example, the subgroup size is fixed at 5. Well begin with a clean
worksheet containing only the Diameter data in C1.
We need to estimate the mean of the data in each subgroup and store those values in the
worksheet. To do that, well create a column that defines our subgroups using Calc > Make
Patterned Data > Simple Set of Numbers, and then completing the dialog box as shown
below:

With 100 data points and 5 points in each subgroup, we have 20 subgroups.
Now we can use our new column containing the subgroups to calculate the mean of each
subgroup, using Stat > Basic Statistics > Store Descriptive Statistics. We complete the
dialog box like in the example below, entering the Diameter column under Variables and
theSubgroup column as the By variable:

We then click Options and choose Store a row of output for each row of input,
uncheck Store district values of By variables, and then click OK in each dialog box. Now
column C3 will show the average of each subgroup; the first 5 rows from C1 were used to
calculate the mean of those first 5 rows, and that same mean value is displayed in the first 5
rows of C3.
We will now use these values to calculate the numerator for Sp using Calc > Calculator:

We are summing the squared differences between each measurement and its subgroup mean.
The Numerator column in the Minitab worksheet will show 0.02735 using the formula above.
Next, we calculate the denominator for Sp, which is the subgroup size minus 1, summed over all
subgroups. Since we have a constant subgroup size of 5, and a total of 20 subgroups, an easy
way to enter this in the calculator is:

Now with the numerator and denominator for Sp stored in the worksheet, we take the square root
of Numerator/Denominator:

Notice that the Sp value 0.0184899 is the estimate of the subgroup standard deviation if we tell
Minitab NOT to use the unbiasing constant, C4, by clicking the Estimate button in the Normal
Capability Analysis dialog box and then unchecking Use unbiasing constants.
Now to finish calculating the within-subgroup standard deviation using C4 (the default), we can
look up C4 in the table that is linked in Methods and Formulas under the Methods heading.
The C4 value we need is C4 for (d + 1). As defined in Methods and formulas, d is the sum of
(subgroup size 1); in our case the subgroup size is fixed at 5, so 20*(5-1) = 80. If d = 80, we
add 1 and get 81, so we look up N = 81 in the C4 column of unbiasing constants:

We enter 0.996880 in column C7 in the worksheet and use it in the calculator to get the pooled
within-subgroup standard deviation:

We can see that this value matches the output from our initial capability analysis graph.

Calculating Cpk
Finally, we use our within-subgroup standard deviation to calculate CPU and CPL. Cpk is the lesser
of CPU and CPL, and we find these two formulas in Methods and Formulas:

We calculate CPL and CPU as shown below using the calculator and the mean of the data that we
previously calculated:

Since Cpk is the lesser of the two resulting values, Cpk is 0.83. That matches the Cpk value in
Minitabs capability output:

As long as you're using Minitab, you won't need to calculate Ppk and Cpk by hand. But I hope
seeing the calculations Minitab uses to get these capability indices provides some insight into the
differences between them!

## Can you clear this "Quote"

"Now to finish calculating the within-subgroup standard deviation using C4 (the default), we
can look up C4 in the table that is linked in Methods and Formulas under the Methods
The C4 value we need is C4 for (d + 1). As defined in Methods and formulas, d is the sum of
(subgroup size 1); in our case the subgroup size is fixed at 5, so 20*(5-1) = 80. If d = 80,
we add 1 and get 81, so we look up N = 81 in the C4 column of unbiasing constants:"
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## Marilyn Mamez Churnrungroj

Hi Mamez,

2 years ago

Thanks for
Are you asking where to find the C4 table?
If that is the case, please navigate in Minitab to Help > Methods and
Formulas > Process Capability
> Process capability (Normal). Under the Methods heading there is a link for
Unbiasing constants c4, c5, d2, d3, d4. Click on that link to see the tables of
unbiasing
constants.
How to
calculate d is explained in the part of Methods and Formulas that explains
Methods for estimating the standard deviation.
In this example, were using the pooled standard deviation and the
I hope this
helps!
Marilyn

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## Minitab must be doing something different when the subgroup size is 1.

The numerator of this Sp calculation always goes to zero as Xji
(the jth observation in the ith group) is always equal to X(bar)i
(the mean of the ith group)
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Marilyn Keenan
Hi Keenan,

a year ago

Thanks for reading the blog. Yes, when the subgroup size is 1, Minitab's default
method for estimating the standard deviation is the average of the moving ranges
(not the pooled standard deviation like in the example above).
To see the formula within the software, you can go to Help > Methods and formulas
> Process capability (under the Quality and process improvement heading) >
Process capability (Normal), then click on 'Estimating standard deviation' under the
Methods heading. Scroll down to see the formulas for when the subgroup size = 1.
There you'll see that the average of the moving rages is calculated as Rbar divided
by the unbiassing constant d2.
Best,
Marilyn

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## Thanks, that clears things up.

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## DEPilgrim Gmail a year ago

I am going through the tutorial Part 2 and I do not understand how to "look up C4 in the
table that is linked in Methods and Formulas under the Methods heading"
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