Powder Coating Acceptable Quality Level

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The powder coating industry is made up primarily of – equipment suppliers – material suppliers – and applicators, both in house and job shops or custom coaters. Each facet of the industry has its own unique concerns and demands. A common denominator for all finishing related businesses is the need to communicate the true needs of their respective customer. DEFINING QUALITY!


powder coating acceptable quality levelQuality – as defined by Websters Dictionary is simply “A Degree of Excellence”. This degree of excellence is measurable – and is in most cases is negotiable.

Let us look at the job shop finisher specifically for a moment. Many demands are places on the shoulders of the job shop finishing professional. System design – Financing – Managing people – Negotiating contracts – and outlining finishing specifications that fit the end users needs. A serious deficiency of many finishing specifications is there lack of guidance on acceptance sampling and defined quality issues. Many do not mention it – and – although it is an integral part of the finishing selection – leads finishers to ignore the matter until it is too late. Sure – some written specifications may refer the reader to sampling specifications – but all too often finishers ignore the reference through ignorance of the significance.

The rational choice of Acceptable Quality Level and the minor cost to establish it – is minor when compared to the cost of replacing defective items.

In the absence of a formal finishing specification – one must strive to establish the Powder Coating ACCEPTABLE QUALITY LEVEL as a guideline for all to judge quality by. This requirement is a must for the true finishing professional. The concept of AQL are not difficult to understand completely. The AQL is adopted as a realistic device in the face of manufacturing variability. Yes! – manufacturing variability – as well as variables that are finishing related. Generally – and certainly unless otherwise discussed – The customers view is that any defectives are undesirable and the number supplied should be zero. However, when the extreme high cost of zero defects are realized – often compromises are made.

You see – the actual cost of zero defects is not the cost of doing it perfect the first time – after all most of the time the definition of perfect was never outlined ? The cost of zero defect in actuality is the cost to complete a task and to correct any items that may fall outside the defined ACCEPTABLE QUALITY STANDARD.

Establishing the AQL in the beginning of the negotiations is often difficult – particularly due to the fact that most processing outlines are discussed after the price is given – if at all.

Purchasing departments are concerned with purchasing issues, engineering departments with engineering issues, production departments with production issues – and what comes last is always quality assurance. Generally, the larger the company – the more isolated the departments become. And so emerges the “Quality Teams” and “Total Quality Management” all of which have the seemingly unique idea of putting quality first. What a novel idea! I say with sarcasm.

The sequence goes like this:

1. Discuss the customers need in detail.
2. Document all requirements.
3. Process Samples.
4. Discuss Samples and establish the AQL.
6. Produce Quotation based upon facts gathered.
7. Communicate all customers requirements – will all processing personnel.
8. Begin processing.

Start from the beginning – and establish the ACCEPTABLE QUALITY LEVEL before negotiating anything. If the customer cannot wait until you have gathered enough information – the chances of failure to meet their undisclosed AQL is high. In fact, you will be doing your company a favor by waiving the apparent opportunity – and forcing the potential client to seek an uneducated guess from others – rather than a well established quotation with full understanding of the customers POWDER COATING ACCEPTABLE QUALITY LEVEL.

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Powder Coating Acceptable Quality Level  – (AQL)