Training & Quality Control...
As detailed in the mixing sections, quality control is built in to Clwyd’s production systems. However, systems are only as good as their operators, and training is a key part of the quality system. The Clwyd MAPS (Machine, Assembly and Processing Skills) scheme is followed by all operators; it was developed from a City and Guilds standard over 15 years ago and has just (2012) been extensively re-written to reflect the greater complexity of some current processes.
Compound testing starts after first stage mixing, when samples are sent for rheology checks via an air tube system, which ensures timely intervention in case of a failure. Dispersion checks may also be carried out on critical compounds.
All finished compounds are checked for rheology and hardness; rheometers are equipped with Eclipse software, which allows control gates to be set for long running compounds, or simple comparison with previous batches for short runs. On hardness, our internal quality targets are +-1 degree IRHD, within a run of batches, or +_2 degree IRHD between runs. This is currently achieved for 99.3% of our output. All information is stored in company databases, for use by our process control team.
Our systems allow customers to specify what further levels of testing and certification they require for their finished batches, and whether this needs to be carried out on every batch, every (n ) batches or every run.