Recently, the IRS teamed up with our supplier Norton Abrasives to perform continuous improvement testing on saw blades in our Elmhurst, IL headquarters. Tests like this one are not only necessary for safety, but also ensure products are up to top standards. While the process does change depending on the product, here are a few tips IRS always has in mind to ensure product testing creates the best benefits for our customers and partners.
Be Prepared, Stay Safe
Making sure testing is safe is the most important part of preparation. Even though its practice, the situation needs to be treated as a worksite.
- All team members within the site need to be wearing the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.
- Be cautious of the weather. Be ready with wind tents, fire extinguishers, and even a reschedule date if necessary.
- Remind team members to be aware and stay focused.
- Identify hazards ahead of time.
Inspect the Equipment
Testing a product is not a one and done endeavor. Guaranteeing the product consistently works means multiple trials and retrials. Ensuring the product is in good working condition on each trial will lower the risk of error.
Make sure the person handling the equipment knows the signs that something is working improperly.
- If the testing is being done to indicate a problem with the product, make sure a failure can be safely contained.
- Allocate the appropriate time needed to consider safety on each trial. It may be a long endeavor but it is key in making the testing run smoothly.
Measure, Calculate, and Collect Data
Having someone designated to measure, calculate, and collect data throughout the project may seem like common sense, but it is something that can be easily forgotten, especially when multiple tests or projects need to be tested at once. Taking note of what happened can help the trial stay on track.
- Designate what information is valuable and the project goals before the testing.
- Create a system that allows equipment to be measured before it is used in a test.
- Have a calculator on hand in case it is needed.
What worked? What didn't? Understanding what can be improved is what makes these tests valuable not only to our team, but to our customers who rely on quality equipment. The changes made at this stage are what guarantees all IRS products are the safest and best for the industry.
- Import the data into an Excel or another tracking sheet. If the test is longer than a day, try to do this upon the days end detailing variables that may be different at another time.
- Account for outliers. Any test that takes multiple trials is going to have some that don't go along with the trend line. Understand this is normal.
- Discuss with your team. Make sure multiple people look at the data before conclusions are drawn.
Quality and safety matter the most when it comes to any product. Following this checklist helps us keep this standard and will hopefully help you do the same. For more information like this, follow us on Facebook or LinkedIn.