Why Those Redundant Testing Requirements

Why couldn’t someone, like The Electrocoat Association, come up with a procedure for requesting certified documents from us to show the process is, and has a track record of being, in control and promote that procedure to the quality powers that be?


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Q: We operate a custom E-coat job shop with two square transfer systems. We specialize in coating small parts, and we coat millions of parts ands dozens of part numbers every month. One customer auditor after another has commented on the proficiency of our process controls and the reliability of our operations. Test panels are consistently processed and tested, the process validated and the records kept. Many of our customers have dozens of part numbers being E-coated through our process.

However, when those customers have a new part number to be E-coated, their end customer requires that it go through a complete test program to re-validate the salt spray performance of the E-coat. Often there are other qualification type tests as well. They insist on this even though the new part is often made on the same stamping press and uses the same substrate as other parts we have been coating for that particular customer for years.

I cannot understand why this is necessary. Don’t they know what the performance of the Electrocoating process is? This rigid policy is costing a lot of money and it is not proving anything but the fact that the process was in control at the time the test parts were coated. It’s like a snapshot in time and does not assure the parts will always pass. We are all looking for ways to do a better job and to keep our costs down. Here is a good chance to do just that! Why couldn’t someone, like The Electrocoat Association, come up with a procedure for requesting certified documents from us to show the process is, and has a track record of being, in control and promote that procedure to the quality powers that be? S.G.

 

A. Wow! You certainly make a strong case for re-thinking the qualification procedures. It is hard to say just how that requirement got started. The thinking was probably something like this:

Because the parts themselves are presented to the coating process with different soils on them and have different substrate materials than the standard test panels they want to ensure that your process will adequately pre-treat and coat them.

However, you put forth some interesting reasoning for considering a little flexibility with that policy. That could be especially true if you are already coating other parts in the same family like you suggest. I would like to invite any of our readers who are in the Quality Assurance field to comment on this question. 

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