Tag: inspection

Tips on quality from Bentley

We recently discovered a video discussing quality control at a Bentley Mulsanne factory.  As a 3rd party quality assurance and engineering firm, we do a significant amount of work in the automotive industry.  From TS 16949 audits to product inspections, it’s an industry we know places value on quality.

Of course, Bentley is synonymous with quality, representing to many the highest of automotive luxury. For Bentley, “the attention to detail is what defines a valued, quality product.”

“Spec check”

When the cars in this video come off the line, they make sure everything matches the specification.  Non-conformances are flagged and logged.  This can take up to an hour and half.  During another process check, anything flagged is taken care of.

From a previous post:

Inspection Plan Development
A good plan is only as good as its foundation, so a comprehensive and detailed product specification is critical to the success of the overall strategy.  Pro QC often assists clients with this documentation creation and also uses it internally to direct engineers on-site.  A good plan incorporates anything that will affect the salability and performance of the product.

5 Reasons Packaging Integrity Matters

Packaging is considered to be both the presentation of products to consumers, as well as the configuration in which products will be expedited through various channels.

The master carton or “pack” design includes the configuration in which product will be shipped through channels for end-user consumption, making it especially important where packaging integrity is concerned.

Here’s why:

1) Carefully planned packaging includes both cost savings obtained through the minimal use of materials, weight and labor, as well as reductions in potential rework costs.

2) Packaging has a direct impact on the perception of quality by the consumer.  

3) Orientation is an important consideration because the carton itself only has stacking strength in one direction, which is why it is imperative that the pack be designed the way it will be stacked in transit.  Labeling is important in communicating packaging requirements.

4) Packaging experiences a number of potentially damaging forces, which might include shock from handling, drops, vibration from transportation or compression from stacking in warehouses and vehicles.

5) Above all else, the objective of packaging is to insure products arrive safely in the hands of consumers without sustaining damage or other potential cosmetic or aesthetic issues.

Pro QC uses the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) 1A standard for special testing during on-site inspections. This evaluation focuses on the drop-test of individual cartons at a corner, edges and sides. The ISTA Series 1 is considered non-simulation integrity performance testing and is designed to challenge the strength and robustness of the product and package combination, not to simulate environmental occurrences. Pro QC considers defects resulting from this test as critical, so any issues noted with the product result in a reject status.

Additional test procedures are available through ISTA that also incorporate vibration, compression and atmospheric conditions. “Use of ISTA test procedures reduces risks in the transport environment and increases confidence in the safe delivery of a tested packaged-product.”

There are two types of tests that ISTA offers, which includes performance tests and development tests. According to ISTA, performance tests “result in a pass/fail assessment and are used to determine the viability of a packaged product to survive normal shipment. Development tests compare relative performance to two or more designs or the same design from different suppliers.”

We posted an article related to the Importance of Packaging in our quarterly newsletter.  Contact us for additional information.

The Value of Quality – It Makes a Difference

Thank you to Quality Magazine for providing additional data to suggest investing in quality makes a difference.

According to the information posted from the 14th Annual Spending Survey:

  • 57% of those surveyed say the importance of quality is somewhat or much more important than the year before. Another 40% put it at about the same.
  • 64% say that spending was right where it was projected, which is consistent with the prior year.
  • 90% of budgets should stay the same or increase.
  • The Aerospace industry saw the most notable increase when asked about primary end product performed at location.

The inspection approach information is interesting as well, including the increase in lot sampling for incoming and pre-shipment evaluations:



Your shipment is rejected, what now?

quality-control-rejected-mdReceiving a failing inspection report is never a happy occasion   Shipment delays, rework costs, etc. all create tension among all parties involved.  But, put into perspective, the end result can be positive.   When you see the “reject” status on the report, stay calm.  Attack the problem with three questions:

Why did it fail?

Review the report carefully to determine what the issue(s) are. Was the failure the result of one or more problems? How close were the defects from being within the AQL (Acceptable Quality Levels)?

How are we going to fix this?

Based on the information in the report, you can evaluate whether or not the product specifications should be modified and confirm that you’re comfortable with the AQL.

The factory is usually working on resolving the issues when the inspector reviews the results.  A reinspection is often requested to confirm that everything has been resolved.

How do we prevent it from happening again?

Communication with the factory is key when planning corrective action.  Identifying the root cause of the issue and documenting a resolution should prevent similar occurrences.

Inspecting textiles & garments

In our latest newsletter, we’re talking about inspecting textiles and garments and the specialized expertise required for this industry. Unlike wood, metal and other materials, textiles and garments have unique variables that may result in unexpected issues throughout manufacturing and during the final inspection. As one of Pro QC’s textile inspectors noted, “it’s an art of using many variables to produce a piece of art.” A garment or fabric inspector must bear in mind these variables and conditions that can result in defects and delayed shipments.

Irene Gebrael, an inspector for Pro QC in the New York and New Jersey area, indicates the importance of an inspector’s specialization in this field is based on the following two considerations:

1) Credibility & Process Knowledge 

In fabrication, there are many defects that are caused by variables that may be due to ginning, spinning, finishing, dyeing, or might be due to a mistake in checking. To stand on the reason of the defect, an inspector must have prior knowledge of the processes for dyeing, finishing (fabrication), cutting, sewing (garment manufacturing), standards for care labels and regulatory compliances.

2) Inspection Conditions 

The factors causing confusion and misinterpretation of defects are numerous, so an inspector must have a solid understanding of the conditions for inspection, such as the lighting, the effect of rolling on fabrics, the effect of packaging on garments, etc. For example, some of the common problems that differentiate textiles from other products are shade and the effect of light on shades during inspection. Inspectors must identify and use a good source of light to discover shade issues such as un-leveling and shade continuity.

Common defects noted during textile and/or garment inspections include:

-Defects in appearance, such as marks, fraying fabric or unfinished edges, etc.

-Defects with seams and stitching, including open seams, incorrect thread selection, skipped stitches, etc.

-Defects concerning color, such as dye spots and color fastness

-Defects concerning fabric, such as its material, fabric weight, cuts or tears, slubs or misweaves, etc.

-Defects concerning sizing, labeling and packaging, such as labels missing or top/bottom sizes are mismatched

-Defects concerning care label information, content label information, hang tag descriptions, correctness of components or trims, zip teeth smoothness, etc.

-Defects concerning measurement and fit

-Defects concerning safety, such as pins, needles and staples not being removed

Applicable standards are used, such as those listed below:

ASTM 5430-07 (Standard Test Methods for
Visually Inspecting and Grading Fabrics)

These test methods describe a procedure to establish a numerical designation for grading of fabrics from a visual inspection.

ASTM D3990-2012 (Standard Terminology Relating to Fabric Defects)

This terminology covers defects in both woven and knit fabrics.

ASTM D3775 (Standard Test Method for
Warp End Count and Filling Pick Count of Woven Fabric)

ASTM D3136 – 04(2008)e1: Standard Terminology Relating to Care Labeling for Apparel, Textile, Home Furnishing, and Leather Products 

This test method covers the measurement of warp end count and filling pick count and is applicable to all types of woven fabrics. The number of warp yarns (ends) per unit distance and filling yarns (picks) per unit distance are determined using suitable magnifying and counting devices or by raveling yarns from fabrics.

Evaluations, such as wash testing, can often be performed on-site.  For additional information regarding textile and garment inspections and/or testing, or to review example reports, contact us.