Guidelines for Quality Control in Manufacturing

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The importance of ensuring quality products is hard to overstate. Customers are more satisfied and the costs of addressing defects after the fact can be avoided when you work to assess product quality throughout the manufacturing process. To more effectively perform quality control, keep these guidelines in mind.

Devise a Plan

Before anything else, you need a quality plan to define the standards of quality for your product. Consider its intended use and what it needs to do during regular functioning. From there, determine what standards it must meet and how you’ll test for them. Pipeline components, for instance, would need to withstand the expected operating pressure they’re exposed to; a proof pressure test subjects components or complete systems to a slightly higher pressure to ensure that they won’t fail due to minor fluctuations.

QC Testing Throughout the Process

As a baseline, QC tests are often performed on the end products to gauge their suitability. However, flaws in the manufacturing process well before that point could be the cause of defects, and detecting those earlier would reduce testing costs and time and make improving the process easier. In the prior example, the piping may fail the proof pressure test because the material is too brittle, so testing the raw material first would detect these flaws.

Standardizing Responses to Defects

When a defect is found in a product, what should be done about it? How do you know if others are also defective? Testing every product can be costly if not impossible. A common solution is batch production, which lets you take individual samples and use them to judge the batch quality. This also makes it easier to perform QC tests at each stage of production and respond immediately to issues. Train employees overseeing production to recognize defects and assign a QC specialist to make the call on whether or not to scrap a batch.

Many factories hesitate to invest in quality control because they believe it will increase costs. In the long run, though, being able to affirm the quality of your products can save you much more. Don’t put off quality control—it can make or break your reputation.