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Inspection Process

Difference between major and minor scratch marks

Difference between major and minor scratch marks by the Quality Control Blog

The overall appearance of a product is an important criteria in the purchasing decision. For hardline, electronics or electrical products, one of the most common defects identified during inspection are scratches. Some are obvious and others more discreet; therefore, during an inspection, the QC will classify each one of them, making the difference between major and minor scratch marks. When can scratch marks appear? How do we go about classifying this defect?

 Conditions for the appearance of scratch marks and how to prevent them

Scratches can appear at the very first stage, particularly for molded products, similar to the item pictured above. Scratches can appear because of:

  • Poor molding
  • The poor storage conditions of semi-finished goods
    The semi-finished goods are stored in cartons/baskets most of the time before assembling. The way goods are stored and manipulated at this stage can inflict damage, particularly scratches. To identify the issue in time, the semi-finished goods should be inspected.
  • Poor protection during production (assembling and packing)
    The only way to avoid this is to perform a during production inspection and a pre-shipment inspection; however, the production inspection is the only one that will allow one to take corrective measures in time to avoid the whole lot being affected. The pre-shipment inspection will only prevent shipment of goods that do not conform to standards as it is already too late to repair. In case the buyer must decide to perform a product defect sorting or to reproduce it all.

The only way to prevent scratches is to regularly check the goods during the production process.

Difference between major and minor scratch marks

In order to avoid a misunderstanding with the inspector, it is best the buyer clearly defines the criteria based on the maximum dimensions and location of the marks.

Otherwise, the QC inspector will take into account the main definition of what are critical, major and minor defects to classify the scratches. He will also take additional references such as its visibility at harm distance into consideration. As a result the classification of major, minor and critical scratch marks can be classified as noted below:

  • Major defect: when scratches are at the front or on the side of the product and the dimensions are over 10mm.
  • Minor defect: when scratches are between 5-10mm and located at the front, back or on the side of the product.
  • Critical defect: it is almost impossible for scratches of this nature to be considered hazardous or unsafe for the user. Only if the buyer makes its own definition of a critical scratch mark defect, will the QC take this option into account.

In case the scratch is smaller than 5mm or not visible at arm’s distance, it may not be considered to be a defect by the QC. The buyer should clearly mention whether or not he wants them to be counted in the minor defects list.

And you: what is your criteria concerning making the distinction between major and minor scratch marks?

Photo taken during a during production inspection.

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