If you are active in medical injection molding, then you know how critical it is to have all of your equipment in top shape. But all of your preventive maintenance, 5S and other steps are for naught if you cannot document all of it with the proper paperwork.
The same also can be said for many aspects of the automotive industry, and increasingly, in packaging and other fields too. A new service from injection molding machine manufacturer Engel North America (York, PA) is designed to help you prove to customers and inspectors that you are on taking good care of your molding machinery. Called Ever-Q, the program enlists the machine manufacturer and its employees to help plastics processors with the calibration and conformance of their injection molding machines.
The Ever-Q documentation ensures that all machine parameters conform to the required specifications - from the barrel temperature to the clamping force, injection speed and holding pressure to repeatability of the cycle time. As part of the program, a technician from the molding machinery OEM will perform more than 20 series of measurements using independent calibrated devices, log the results and ensure that any deviations are within the acceptable tolerances.
For plastics processors' customers in the medical, automotive or other industries, the Ever-Q program provides a guarantee that suitable calibration methods and measuring instruments are in use at the processor, and that his machines' tolerance limits are defined according to industry specifications. According to Engel, this program is an improvement over external calibration laboratories, which often work for several different branches of industry and so may lack injection molding expertise.
Calibration is performed to a variety of international standards. In the medical industry, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is the accepted set of regulations while ISO 9000 and ISO 900, and others, define the requirements for quality management in the automotive industry.
Ever-Q calibration covers not only the factory calibration of the relevant parameters, but if the customer wishes it will be continued at the customer's facility for purposes of requalification.