An Industrial Approach to Quality Assurance—Boring? You Bet! But Not If You Want to Make Money

    Published: Jan 1984

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    Quality assurance is that corporate function that negotiates and then monitors the implicit (and explicit) contract between the industrial customer and the manufacturer. Implementation of that function can and will depend on the structure of the corporate organization and on the nature of the industrial product. In the elastomers industry, we face a particular challenge: the products we manufacture must undergo not only a change in physical shape (forming by extrusion, molding, and so forth) but also a chemical transformation known as vulcanization. Quality assurance in the elastomers industry requires more complex testing and release procedures than are required for nonvulcanizable thermoplastics; test results are, in addition, highly dependent on compounding, heat history, and processing variability.

    To meet these technical challenges, we have elected to organize our quality program in a hybrid fashion with responsibility for quality control (release and classification of product) located at the individual manufacturing sites and with quality assurance (negotiation of the customer/manufacturing contract) located in a single centralized laboratory equipped with up-to-date forming and vulcanizing equipment designed to simulate the customers' specific industrial processes. This approach maintains primary quality responsibility in the manufacturing organization, eliminates duplication of effort when several manufacturing sites are involved, and provides an effective representation of the specific needs of the customer and the market. Born of necessity in the elastomers industry, this concept of quality assurance/control can serve as a model for similar programs for other industrial products.


    quality assurance, elastomers, vulcanizing, quality control, process variables

    Author Information:

    Ziegel, KD
    Supervisor and manager of quality assurance, E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., PPD/Elastomers Chestnut Run, Wilmington, DE

    Knox, RE
    Supervisor and manager of quality assurance, E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., PPD/Elastomers Chestnut Run, Wilmington, DE

    Committee/Subcommittee: E11.20

    DOI: 10.1520/STP33225S

    CrossRef ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.