Product Testing or product inspections? This blog always extols the virtues of product inspections to check products before they ship to their destination market. As The Quality Control Blog had mentioned in previous articles, inspections focus mostly on the cosmetics, functionality, specs, measurements of the product.
Some importers may ask whether inspectors can also do a whole laundry list of product testing within this one day at the factory. The answer is – it depends. Inspectors can do some simple product testing at the factory, assuming the supplier has the right tools to do so.
The following are examples of some of the simple product testing that often can be done at the factory:
- Simple color fastness testing
- Adhesive test
- Shrink testing (if factory has washer)
- Smell test
- Abuse test
While the above tests are achievable at many factories, more complex testing generally needs to go to outside laboratories. Why? First, while inspectors are highly skilled at catching defects and doing simple testing, complex lab testing is an entirely different skillset. Next, and most importantly, because most suppliers are lacking the expensive and technical machinery to perform these tests.
So, what are the kinds of tests that many importers may conduct at laboratories? Some examples include:
- REACH Testing
- RoHS Testing
- Food contact testing
- AZO Dye Testing
- Phthalates Testing
- EN-71 Toy Testing
- Cadmium Testing
Have any experiences with lab testing?
Are safety class respected?
IEC 61140: 2010 defines electronic and electrical product safety classes. Product inspections ensure that our suppliers use the right cables and sufficient insulation as agreed in our PO. Why and where do we need to comply with the standard? How can product inspections assure compliance?
Why and where do we need to comply with IEC 61140: 2010 safety class system?
The standard for safety classes is being transposed into 82 countries national regulations, including all American and European markets. Its primary goal is to protect the consumer from electrical shocks. Moreover it assures easy import into the different countries, and by using the appropriate cables the product longevity increases. This norm is very strict, a lack of compliance involve the risk to be barred from importing into all those countries.
How can product inspections assure compliance with the safety class?
QC firms have technical engineers specialized in electronics and electrical products. To prepare any inspection, supervisors should analyze the purchasing order for and double check the specifications. The inspection protocol includes practical tests to make sure the safety class is the one ordered. Inspectors use their own tools as well as factory equipment for tests to ensure compliance with the safety class. These tests typically include Hi-Pot test, grounding continuity test, power cord stain relief test, power consumption test, stability test, endurance test, internal check, etc.
In coming articles we will go into details about the different safety classes I, II, III.
In the meantime, do you have any questions regarding this safety class ?
Feel free to share your experience!
The purpose of a product inspection is to ensure that an importer gets the goods that they expect. After product inspections, many importers will ask their inspectors – internal or 3rd party – to seal and stamp their boxes to ensure that products are not removed, exchanged, tampered with, etc. But, with boxes sealed and stamped, factories would never dare to tamper with the contents, right?
Right after the Product Inspection:
As you can see from the picture to the left, the boxes are carefully sealed, with tape around all seams.
Furthermore, the AQF stamp has been placed over several edges so tampering would be obvious.
When our client received the goods:
Poorly done, wrinkled taping on edges of the box. Half of an AQF stamp showing.
Another partial AQF stamp and poor re-taping job.
The moral of the story: factories have no shame and will not stop at anything to save themselves! Even doing a poor quality re-taping and leaving partial stamps visible is not a moral hurdle.
In the above case, the importer was lucky that AQF provided evidence of the sealed and stamped boxes, so they had recourse against the factory. Asking your inspector to seal your boxes in such a manner – with stamps on several seams – is just one way to further secure your imports and ensure you receive exactly what you expect.
Many of you may be going around still visiting the last trade fairs happening this week, or you may be meeting your suppliers and new potential ones. Those kind of big business events are always good opportunities to develop the supplier’s relationship and find new ones.
To help you in finding the right supplier, sourcing platforms are promoting their services, especially at the main exhibition entrances, with friendly people giving away all kind of gifts: a good way to remember them back in your country!
Here are few companies we have been seeing at the fair, on our way to AQF booth. They may be of your interest:
Have you found other interesting platforms during your trip to China? Feel free to share the information by writing a comment!
Shenzhen Daily – April 19th
Just this past week, AQF’s Managing Director, Julien Roger was interviewed in Shenzhen Daily, an English language newspaper printed in the Guangdong province city. The article discusses Mr. Roger’s experience working with foreign buyers, and discussed the busy April trade show month in Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
Furthermore, the article discusses sourcing trends and the impact of the economic crisis on the quality control and import business.
“Certain countries, for example Spain and Greece, definitely were importing much less,” he said. “I would say that elsewhere, clients were generally more aware of placing smaller orders and placing less risk in each order. However, at the same time, business grew substantially in this time both in number of clients and quantity of inspections ordered. Thankfully, as consumers became more cost-conscious, discount retailers like Walmart, the Dollar Tree, etc. — all huge importers from China — saw record sales.”
Indeed, with much of the world suffering through a recession, the quality control industry adjusted, and managed QC needs for even more careful buyers. As conditions have improved in the USA and elsewhere, orders have increased in size and frequency, and quality control has still been an important step of the equation.
You can read the full article here, with additional commentary from the AQF Managing Director, as well as the write, Liu.
A couple of weeks ago, our friends at the China Sourcing Information Center (CSIC) wrote up an interesting article about the most common question they see: “How can I make sure my Asian supplier is legit and meets my needs?”.
With Global Sources starting up at the end of this week, followed by the Canton Fair, HKTDC and more, Southern China and Hong Kong are preparing for throngs of buyers and an exciting China sourcing month ahead.
Proper planning is necessary to have a successful visit. See some suggestions on how to go about a successful Trade Show visit here.
Check out a list of some of the most popular China Sourcing fairs below!
Phase 1: (April 15th-19th): Electronics, Lighting & Hardware *AQF @ Booth 67 on bridge
Phase 2: (April 23-27): Consumer goods, Gifts & Home decor *AQF @ Booth 67 on bridge
Phase 3: (May 1-5): Textiles, Shoes & Office supplies *AQF @ Booth 67 on bridge
Electronics Fair (April 13-16)
Housewares Fair (April 20-23)
Gifts & Premiums Fair (April 27-30) *AQF @ Booth CH-K09
Global Sources: China Sourcing Fairs
Electronics Show ( April 12th-15th) *AQF @ Booth 7S31
Home Products (April 19-22) *AQF @ Booth 5B36
Fashion Accessories (April 27-30) *AQF @ Booth 11N35