These are no mere gadgets to play around with: the items below are some of the most indispensable inspection tools in quality control. Whether you are doing the quality control in-house or use an independent contractor, you want to make sure that you have some or all of these at hand to test your products.
Key Inspection Tools in Quality Control
1. Measuring Tape
Ensuring that product dimensions are as they should be is one of the most important parts of quality control. A measuring tape is an absolute must for verifying the size of larger products and their components, as well as shipping containers and retail boxes.
The strip of a good-quality measuring tape can be made of metal, fiberglass, or flexible plastic. Ideally, it should also display both metric and imperial measurement units.
2. Dial Calipers
However, even the best measuring tape out there will only get you so far. But what if you need to measure the thickness of a lid, the depth of a cup, or the diameter of a plug?
If you are looking to measure smaller components or finer dimensions that require a high degree of precision, you need to get yourself dial calipers. This tool can take four different types of dimension readings: outer, inner, depth, and step.
What’s more, you can use dial calipers to take comparative measurements. Simply take the reference dimension, set the dial to zero, and then measure the product being inspected. The indicator will show to what extent the measurement differs from the reference value.
3. Custom Measurement Gauges
Do you want to take things up a notch and save your quality inspectors a significant amount of time and effort? If this is the case, consider having custom measurement gauges made.
Not only will these speed up the quality control process, but they can also provide a broader range of measurements tailored to your product’s unique geometry. Most standardized gauges will not be able to deliver accurate measurements for products with unconventional spatial dimensions and multiple smaller parts.
4. Air Gauge
An air gauge can measure a wide variety of product dimensions, including:
- Inside and outside dimensions
You can also use an air gauge to locate any leaks.
Air gauges come in many different styles. Hand-held gauges provide quick and portable measuring solutions on the spot, whereas assembly line air gauges can automatically check large numbers of parts or products as they are assembly-processed. Bench-type air gauges work great for smaller products: all you have to do is place the component inside the air gauge to get it measured.
5. Bore Gauge
The bore gauge is another multi-purpose quality inspection tool. It is similar to an air gauge, with the exception that it only measures the inside of a product. Bore gauges can measure:
- Degrees of taper
- The dimensions of parts
- Grooves inside the part
- The dimensions of any steps inside the part
Bore gauges come in two types: mechanical and electronic. Mechanical bore gauges have moving components that allow them to measure the inner dimensions of a part. Electronic bore gauges, on the other hand, use electrical current to take measurements.
6. Barcode Scanner
Moving on from product dimensions and on to other, equally important aspects of quality control, the first tool that stands out is a barcode scanner.
Barcodes contain vital information about each product and its journey through the supply and distribution chain. Those unique combinations of different-sized miniature bars are so critical that buyers will often return entire orders if even a single barcode is inaccurate or unreadable.
That’s why it is absolutely crucial to provide your quality control team with barcode scanners that allow them to verify the validity and accuracy of your products’ barcodes. Don’t forget to also provide your quality inspectors with the relevant barcode specs.
7. Defect Stickers
Quality controllers use stickers to label defective parts and products during the inspecting process. Depending on the product type, different stickers may be used to mark specific defects.
Defect stickers are one of the best ways to ensure that all defective items can be quickly and easily removed from the batch. That minimizes the risk of faulty products accidentally making their way further down the supply line and even to the end consumer.
Stickers also save time when tallying the defective items for reporting purposes, as they allow quality inspectors to see which defects were found on which components at a glance.
8. Pantone Color Swatches
Pantone is the company behind the signature Pantone Matching System (PMS), a color standardization system that serves as an excellent aid in identifying and matching colors. The PMS palette consists of thousands of colors, each of which is assigned a unique three- or four-digit number followed by the letter C, U, or M (for “coated,” “uncoated,” and “matte”).
Pantone swatches can help your quality controllers detect even minor inconsistencies in the colors of your items. This is especially important in industries such as printing, design, and fashion, where the products and/or packaging must conform to specific color codes.
9. Digital Camera
When it comes to quality control, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. You should ensure that your quality inspectors have a good-quality digital camera to take photos of your products.
This way, you can get real-time visual updates on both the state of your items and the inspection process. As a result, you will be able to stay abreast of any defects and other issues and make informed decisions about production, shipping, and more.
What’s more, photos can serve as evidence that the quality control team did indeed visit your facility and inspected the products. Unfortunately, phantom inspections can be an issue with some third-party service providers.
Must-Have Inspection Tools in Quality Control: The Bottom Line
Quality control is essential to the continued success of your business. However, to ensure that your inspectors can do a job, you should see that they have all the necessary tools. Of course, the exact toolkit that they will need will depend on numerous factors. These include your product types, the applicable industry standards and regulations, and more.
Jonble is one of the market leaders in third-party product inspection in the country. We check your products for you using the most advanced inspection tools in quality control, making sure that your customers get the premium-quality products they deserve. For more details on our company and the services we provide, check out our website.