This list contains my favorite QC Tools. Which tools do you use?
1. Calipers & Measuring lint: As the Dutch saying goes (and as been repeated over a million times during my years in college studying Engineering) “meten is weten”, translated into “measuring is knowing”
2. Fabric Sample Cutter: To cut a round piece of exactly 100cm2 from any fabric (diameter about 11.3cm). You can then measure this on your scale to know the grams-weight of the fabric. If the piece you cut out is for example 2.2 grams, you know the grams-weight of the fabric is 220gsm. Very useful as price of fabric is influenced substantially by weight
3. Magnet for stainless Steel & Medicine: You ordered Stainless Steel 304, but did you get it? The most simple way to check is by a using a magnet. If the material is magnetic, it means it is not Stainless 304.
An alternative is using a chemical liquid test. When putting the liquid on the steel surface the surface color will change. The color it changes into reveals the chemical composition and thus the stainless steel type.
Note: These methods are not fault proof and in some cases not accepted by factories. If an official test report is required contact your SGS laboratory.
4. Pantone Colorbook: I cant live without mine anymore. It has helped me in so many orders confirming the product color, making discussions with factories, and getting colors for product range uniform. There are a few other color matching systems like CMYK and RAL but you will find PMS is the standard in China and almost any factory will ask you for a PMS color. Tip: always check colors under white light, or daylight (indirect sunlight). Allow your supplier a tolerance or variation of 1 shade.
5. USB Barcode scanner: Its a cheap way to check if the barcodes have been printed properly and readable or not. I bought my Barcode scanner on Taobao.com for a little over 100rmb. Not a bad investment as getting news from your clients the barcodes cannot be read will cost a lot more
6. Lighter: If you want to know what kind of plastic your supplier used for your product use your lighter for a burn test.
Different plastics burn differently (smell, drops or not, color of the flame). Have a look at the following video:
<iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/4EEwldmZg8g” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Now check out below table and learn how to identify different types of plastics (copyright http://www.boedeker.com/burntest.htm)
Tip: for plastic there are a whole lot more ways to test. Check out this article on ehow which tells you how you can use your fingernail, a drop-test, or a bucket of water to identify plastic: http://www.ehow.com/way_5754727_plastic-welding-guide.html
Finally: the same 50 cents investment in the lighter can also help you identify different types of fabrics by burning yarns. Check this tutorial in Youtube and get inspired:
<iframe width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/PrlIdEbMvIg” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
7. Precise digital measuring scale: One of the first investments you should make. A good measuring scale is too big to carry in your bag. We have an imported scale from Taiwan (www.excell-scale.com). It cost about 800rmb. Weighs 0.1grams precise (yes, a big wind will be measured) and up to 5kg
8. UV Marker + black light: When you take out bad samples during inspection in factory mark them with a UV marker, preferably when no-one is watching. When you later use your black light you can see if indeed all bad products have been removed, or if they have been put inside the boxes with good products again
9. Pre-formatted Checklist and recording tools
Prepare a detailed inspection list before visiting factory. Take your laptop or Ipad to record it during inspection. Points you want to work out are:
- Product specifications (including technical & material specifications)
- Order specifications (quantity, bar-codes etc.). Tip: pre-determine test-size using AQL
- Pictures of product and specific point to pay attention to
- Component list
- Accessories list
- Packaging specification
- Specific tests to carry out. i.e.:
- High POT. (1500V, 4000V)
- Use test
- Earth Continuity Resistance
- Screw/Nut Torque test
- Test finger-pin test
- Impact hammer test
- Export carton check (stand on the carton to see if it can hold your weight!)
- Batch size
Always bring a decent camera and of course the original and approved samples
10. RoHS scanner: these scanners don’t come cheap, but if you want to make sure there are no harmful or illegal substances in your products, this is a useful investment. Third party inspections come at several thousand RMB per test so it will take just a few dozens of tests to earn back the investment. http://www.niton.com/RoHS-Compliance-Hi-Rel.aspx?sflang=en
Further reading: Curious to explore more? Have a look on Alibaba: http://www.alibaba.com/Measurement-Analysis-Instruments_p1537