Real or perceived quality issues can quickly damage a product’s reputation. The faster a problem is identified, characterized and solved, the less the impact.
During the busiest sale season of the year, a manufacturer of a luxury item began to see failures in a critical plastic part of their product.
This complex plastics failure was diagnosed by using a number of techniques that measured both physical and chemical properties. Durometer measurements, determine the resilience of the polymer. Thermogravimetric analysis characterizes weight loss with increasing temperature and differential scanning calorimetry can measure heat flow and therefore percent crystallinity. Optical microscopy characterizes the failures and Fourier Transform Infrared Imaging can display changes in chemistry across the sample.
Using a combination of all the techniques, there were no significant differences on a macro scale between good and bad samples. But on a micro scale these techniques showed that the chemistry was significantly different in the failed areas of bad samples when compared to good areas of the same samples. Based on an understanding of the use conditions and the materials, we were able to show that the material used was incompatible with some of the use scenarios.