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The birth event is hugely important and products used to support a particular birth choice must be reliable for women and midwives to depend on them. In addition to designing for safety and reliability from the beginning, we have developed a stringent Quality Control process to ensure that Birth Pool in a Box is the most reliable and robust portable birthing pool available. In this article, we share the processes at production time that help ensure our products perform as you expect.
The supplier of PVC sheet has their own quality control processes that are completed before the rolls of sheet are delivered to the factory that manufactures Birth Pool in a Box pools and liners. Upon receipt of the batches of PVC sheet, our factory randomly tests some rolls of sheet material by feeding the sheet between a bright light and a light sensor. This picks up any “pinholes” in the material apparent before fabrication of the pool from sheet.
After manufacturing of pools, all of them are taken to a clean area – no shoes or tools or jewellery allowed – and inflated to a test pressure of 6kPa (0.87 Psi) and left for 8 hours. This is done by the factory employees. Any pools that do not remain at 6kPa – allowing a small tolerance – are removed. The remaining pools are packed as specified and await inspection along with the other items such as liners and Clear Fit covers.
In the inflatables industry, the standard acceptable failure rate is 1%. Given the importance of the birth event, this is not good enough for us. We use the “Acceptable Quality Level” methodology (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acceptable_quality_limit) and apply a stringent definition of Critical, Major and Minor issues to achieve a failure rate well below 1%.
We commission one of the respected testing houses, usually Intertek, TUV or SGS to send inspectors into the factory. They randomly select a proportion of the production quantity of each item based on the AQL statistical model. If we have changed a product, or had reports of issues with a certain product, we increase the AQL level and a higher proportion are sampled. The inspectors then use our checklist of 75 specification items for pools and 44 specification items for liners and record and report on conformance with specification.
If the inspection uncovers more issues than we define as acceptable, then we work with the factory to specify a procedure to fix the issues and commission a second inspection. Only when we are satisfied is the production batch accepted and shipping commences.
There is always room to improve on quality control and we take seriously our responsibility to supply dependable products. If your experience with any of our products falls short, please contact us so that we can address the issue with you *and* learn from it.