Quality control and quality assurance, are they synonyms?
While these two terms may seem very similar because they both revolve around the term “quality”, there are some subtle but important points that define and differentiate them. Commonly confused or even switched, quality control and quality assurance are two distinct steps that ultimately have the same common goal: providing products that meet the standards required by our customers, including minimizing risks of manufacturing defects or production errors, as well as contamination.
To structure everything logically, we must first start with quality assurance, because this step comes much earlier than quality control. Quality assurance includes all the processes that structure, standardize and prevent the risks of a manufacturing defect in the development or design of a product. This step therefore comes before the production process.
Once the good is produced, a second step, but different, will follow, that will ultimately have the same goal: to deliver a product free from defects that meet the expected quality standards.
How does a Metal Detectable plastic improve quality control?
It is later in the production process, when the product is no longer being manufactured, but rather becomes a “finished product” that the concept of quality control comes into play. Quality control is the whole process to detect any impurities, imperfections, or defects that could affect the quality of a finished product. In order to deliver products that meet the customer expectations, this step is essential. For example, take a food production line that produces cookies. Quality control will include a set of systems and mechanisms to detect if each cookie produced meets the expectations and standards. This is where Metal Detectable plastics come into play. Indeed, these high-performance plastics can be detected by standard industrial metal detectors. Thus, the use of Metal Detectable plastics ensures a better supervision over production at the step of end-product controls. This ensures that end-products are free of impurities that could have accidentally ended up in the production line.
Metal Detectable plastics contain metal-particle additive. If a particle comes off or falls by accident, the metal detector will be able to detect the cookies in which the plastic particles are found.
Which materials are Metal Detectable plastics?
- UHMW Tivar® MD
Part of the UHMW family, this plastic is both lightweight and resistant. Compliant with European FDA standards. It has a very good resistance to chemicals and also contributes to reduce maintenance costs.
- Acetron® MD
Acetron® MD is part of the family of acetals with a very good adaptability. It performs effectively in a wide range of environments. Compliant with FDA standards. It can withstand prolonged exposure to high temperatures (180 °F) without affecting its properties.
- Nylatron® MD
This polyamide-family plastic is characterized by high wear resistance and low moisture absorption. Just like the Acetron® MD, it also tolerates prolonged exposure to high temperatures (185 °F).
- Ketron® MD
This is the Metal Detectable grade of PEEK®. Compliant with FDA standards. Versatile and highly resistant, this grade can withstand higher exposure temperatures than Nylatron® MD and Acetron® MD.