A batch drying process for an moisture sensitive inorganic material with a strict quality limits was experiencing a high degree of failed batches resulting in repeat resampling and batch rework despite no equipment failures or procedural non-conformances.
- Material sampling was not standardised, operators differed on how samples were taken and stored.
- The laboratory quality control test required a high degree of skill and technical expertise to carry out.
- The testing consumables were expensive, highly toxic with a short shelf life.
- The lead time to obtain a test result was very lengthy and confidence in the results were low.
Identified the following:
- A full review of the sampling techniques and measurement system was undertaken.
- An statistical review of the historical data performed
- An internal reliability study completed (Gauge R&R)
- An alternative and simplified test technique was identified and equipment sourced.
- The sampling technique was standardised to ensure consistency between all operators.
- The new technique was cheaper to run and did not require the use of expensive consumables.
- The new technique was inherently safer as the need for toxic reagents was removed.
- The test did not require highly skilled personnel increasing the accuracy and reliability of the test between lab personnel.
- The lead time to obtain a test result was reduced by over 50%
- Resampling and retesting was eliminated and confidence was restored to the test result.
- There were less false failures between production batches resulting in reduced rework.