Using Material Testing to Troubleshoot Quality Problems

Analyst conducting material testingProduct quality is paramount to the success of a business. Competing on price, promotion, or placement can only happen once the product’s objective and subjective quality reaches a sufficient level. Material testing can be used to identify product flaws, and reveal opportunities to improve overall product quality, increasing the potential returns for the business.

The material testing process will be unique for every product and industry. From load and integrity testing, to cleanliness and environmental testing, there are numerous material testing methods that can help you achieve optimal product quality. While quality testing steps may take time and resources, the end outcome will improve the product and ensure quality issues are not encountered by the end user.

Material Testing Methods Can Reveal Quality Problems

Here are some examples of how material testing techniques have helped clients solve issues impacting product quality:

Analysis of Residual Solvents in Powdered Pharmaceuticals

A pharmaceutical manufacturer needed to know if any ethanol, a processing solvent, was present in the final product – a powdered drug.  Using GC/MS analysis and static headspace analysis, scientists were able to separate components of the sample and analyze them individually. The tests identified and quantified ethanol in the final product. The manufacturer was able to resolve the issue of residual solvents in their product before the powdered drug reached the end user.

Head Crash on Magnetic Disk

A hard drive manufacturer observed a head crash on a magnetic disk during product testing, and needed to determine if the crash was due to physical damage to the disk, or residue left on the carbon overcoat layer. The surface of the magnetic disk was analyzed using Auger Electron Spectroscopy. Resulting surface maps showed high levels of chlorine and nickel, indicating that the magnetic disc had most likely been damaged and corroded by chlorine.

Comparing Good and Failed Plastic Parts

Innovatech Labs received two plastic parts from a plastic manufacturer that needed to find out why one fractured in testing, and one didn’t. Analysts used FTIR analysis to examine the material composition of each sample with attenuated total reflectance FTIR, which extracts materials using isopropyl alcohol. This method revealed that the failed part had a lower level of plasticizer than the non-failed part. The analysts concluded that this discrepancy was the principal difference between the parts.

Standardize Analytical Product Testing to Avoid Losses

Using analytical product testing to support and enhance your company’s normal testing routines can help you avoid product failures. If you want to improve your product quality, and are in need of a solution that your internal resources cannot provide, please contact Innovatech Labs to talk to one of our experienced analysts.

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