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Testing10 Quality Conclusion

Testing10 Quality Conclusion

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Published by: alirrehman on Aug 29, 2009
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01/04/2013

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Introduction to the Principles of Textile Testing - MA WildingTesting10-Quality-Conclusion.doc 1
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A course in testing which does not address, however superficially, theimportant question of quality, cannot claim to be in any way complete.To begin with, what do we actually mean by "quality"? In many respects itis a rather abstract and elusive concept. In essence, though, it isassociated with "fitness for purpose". There are several definitionsavailable, some of which are (fortunately!) of practical use. Saville(Chapter 11) offers the following five:
1. Transcendent
This term refers to a certain “something” possessed by a product(or service) which renders it superior to its competitors. Thedisadvantage of this as a definition is that it is vague, subjective andvirtually impossible to quantify.
2. Product based
This is a more useful definition: quality is judged purely on the basisof a product's performance. Thus, for example, if it were a garmentit might include abrasion resistance, wash/colour fastness and soon. It is quantifiable, and usually objective.
3. User based
This addresses the extent to which a product satisfies customers’ preferences and expectations. Inevitably these vary considerablyfrom person to person, and it is therefore highly subjective. Again itis difficult to quantify, although there are ways around this problem.
4. Manufacturing based
Manufacturers generally set their own internal production standards.This definition relates to how well the product matches its statedspecifications, as determined by the organisation itself. It isgenerally quantifiable and objective.
5. Value based
This is a broader definition of quality which takes into account notonly how well a product performs, but also its price. It is therefore ameasure of "value for money". It is of course consumer-based, andtherefore largely subjective.
 
Introduction to the Principles of Textile Testing - MA WildingTesting10-Quality-Conclusion.doc 2
1.1
 
The importance of quality in the manufacturing process
To coin a phrase originally applied to computer software development(and still very relevant!)…This principle is sound common-sense and is not, of course, limited to theworld of computing. At the time of writing there is a rapidly-growingemphasis on all things quality across the entire industrial spectrum. Inmany respects the textile industry had to face up to such considerationsmuch earlier than most others. For example, spinning of cotton or woolfibres into
any 
 
yarn (let alone a 'good' one) requires at least a degree of uniformity - something for which natural fibres are not particularly noted!Then there is the rapidly intensifying demand, on the part of consumers,for hard-wearing, easy-care, safe, hygienic and fashionable yet value-for-money products. These and other factors have led to enormous pressuresbeing placed on suppliers to refine the way they manage quality; and of course, this must be done with as little (downward) impact on profit-margins as possible! Hence, economics and market forces also play theirroles.As someone once said: "
In cotton, as in every other sector of the textiletrade, the issue of quality begins with the fibre producer, but it certainly does not end with the finisher(!)
". In this final part of the course, webegin with an examination of factors determining fibre and yarn quality.This will be followed by a brief introduction to more general quality issues,including recent developments in quality management.
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The issue of quality clearly relates to every activity within the textileindustry, but it is particularly evident when it comes to fibre- and yarnproduction, and perhaps at its most critical with regard to the two mostimportant natural fibres: cotton and wool. Both these fibre types areassociated with a number of special factors which are usually outside thedirect control of the producer.
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Introduction to the Principles of Textile Testing - MA WildingTesting10-Quality-Conclusion.doc 3
2.1
 
Cotton Fibre Quality
What exactly do we mean by "fibre quality"? One way to define it mightbe:
"that combination of a fibre's properties (or factors) whichtogether determine the likely quality of yarn(s) to be producedfrom it."
Notice that there is a "knock-on" effect here, since the above definitionbegs, in its turn, the question of what "yarn quality" means
a
. For thepresent discussion, however, we need not be concerned with answeringthat one!Cotton-production is of course a very well-established and matureindustry, so there is a wealth of experience available on which to base theassessment of quality. By general consent, the most important factorsdetermining the quality of a given batch of cotton are its:
 
fineness;
 
staple length;
 
maturity
 
uniformity
 
grade
Most of the factors listed above have been touched upon already, but
'grade' 
needs some explanation. Different types of cotton are best suitedto different end-uses: for example, one may be suitable for hosiery yarns,while another may be more appropriate to shirting fabric, and it is thegrade which largely specifies this.Once the type has been decided upon, the spinner needs some degree of continuity of the quality of the raw material delivered. Quality can varyyear-to-year, field-to-field, and even bale-to-bale, so some system of classifying the grade is required so that the spinner can guaranteesmoothly-running lots. If this is not done, continual adjusting and re-adjusting of the processing machinery may become necessary, withcorrespondingly increased costs.Grading itself varies from place to place, in both method and terminology.Even in markets relatively close together there can be considerabledifferences in the grading systems used. It is inappropriate to consider allsystems in use, but two major ones may serve to illustrate the varyingcriteria employed:
 2.1.1
 
 American Cotton Grading
Grading of American Upland cotton is based on three characteristics:
a
and quite nicely highlights the need for Total Quality systems (to be discussed briefly later).

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