QUALITY IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS
There are two types of companies: those insisting on quantity and those taking quality as a key factor in their success. Fatra is quite clear about this. Although the company has the capacity to generate more than 3.5 bn in annual revenue, it puts great stress on quality, which is considered a pillar of support for successful operations in the market. To listen to customers, to create products that satisfy their requirements fully and to provide stable long-term collaboration – these are the indicators of quality developed by Fatra in compliance with Bata’s principle, “Our customer is always right”. However, how can we maintain quality in permanently changing market conditions? Fatra has its own procedure which starts even before the production process.
It is essential to invest in quality is a must
In 2017, Fatra invested more than CZK 13 mn in modernising its laboratory facilities. Maintaining and measuring quality is one of its priorities. The modern facilities at the laboratories at Chropyně have at their disposal a new Mocon machine measuring the permeability of water vapours; a Battenfeld injection-moulding machine for preparing samples: a heavy metal analyser from the world-famous manufacturer Bass; Merci fume hoods; and an Instron shredding unit and impact machine. These devices do not only help in testing and assessing the physical and mechanical features of samples, such as notch resistance or tension tests, but also provide a competitive environment generating quality results that are reflected in the resulting quality of Fatra’s injection-moulded and extruded products. The Amitek X-ray fluorescent spectrometer, HunterLab UltraScan Pro and the Diamond DSC from PerkinElmer and SI Analytics are examples of the top equipment used to test the TENOLAN and FOLAM biaxial-oriented polyester foils.
The top equipment guarantees accurate results
Quality is a complex process, which starts as early as at the input control of materials, thus with the primary raw materials. In the case of extrusion and injection-moulding of plastics, these are granulates, whose melt flow, material density, heavy metal content, mechanical characteristics and material moisture are measured. This all takes place in Fatra’s internal research and testing laboratories. Thanks to our state-of-the-art technology, the laboratory detects easily whether the material is suitable for use in production. The impact machine then measures the material’s fracture resistance. Thanks to the injection-moulding machine, our workers are not only able to produce representative samples that fully reflect the characteristics of the finished product, but also specify whether the resulting product would achieve the qualities required. Some checks and tests are executed continuously on a 24/7 basis. In the case of a colour mixture, our workers learn from the spectrometer whether the material shows different colour shades in individual batches. This input control ensures that colouring agent of the incorrect shade is prevented from entering the production process, thus preventing possible financial and time losses. When testing new raw materials, detailed testing is carried out, which not only sets new measuring parameters, but detects and eliminates eventual problems that could complicate the production process.
Maintaining the level of quality involves teamwork
In addition to the research laboratories, the quality assurance and preservation process also includes technical preparation for production, the production process itself and the technical control, logistics, warehouse management and sales departments. It is extremely important for Fatra that the product parameters required by the customer are adhered to. Our products are often used in environments where their features really matter, for example, floor coverings used in healthcare facilities. Using technical control examining deviations from the tolerance limits set, we determine whether the product conforms and is thus ready for shipping. The check itself is subject to internal regulations and testing methods based on the CSN ISO standards and our internal standards. This establishes a code ensuring that a certain level and comparable results are maintained.
What if the product is not conforming?
If all the checked parameters of the operational and output control meet the required values, the product is marked with a green VYHOVUJE (conforming) label. If any of the prescribed parameters do not meet standards, the product is marked with a red NEVYHOVUJE (non-conforming) label. A protocol on the non-conforming product is then prepared and sent to the relevant process engineer, technical control manager, sales clerk and team leader. All parties involved discuss the matter, and a further procedure is determined. Possible outcomes are repair, sale with the customer’s approval, or further reprocessing.
Through this system, Fatra aims to satisfy customers’ requirements and comply with the stipulated quality parameters as much as possible. Quality and its control form a matrix which goes across company divisions. This not only guarantees a responsible approach to quality preservation and competitiveness of the specific product, but also complete customer satisfaction.