Quality control practices in plywood manufacture (a case study)

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A survey carried out by Timber Export Development Board revealed that operational Quality Control equipment and grading were absent in most plymills. This virtually non-existent Supplier Quality Assurance and Process Control Systems as tools for ensuring Quality Control has resulted in the fallen standards of Plywood manufactured in Ghana. This formed the basis for the topic of the study. Studies were made in two plymills in Kumasi. In each mill, the production stages and products were observed and assessed against the documented procedures. Data was also obtained through measurements of these products. Control graphs were drawn and the causes of variation from the specified methods were identified. It was found that both mills did not have a separate unit charged with quality control, and that the quality control practices were carried out with subjective methods which could yield unreliable results. It was also found that in some production stages, there were indications of out-of-control conditions. The final grade of the plywood was found to be B/BB, which is the recommended export plywood grade. Based on these problems, it is recommended that every effort should be made to establish some basic quality control laboratory for the purpose of undertaking basic tests on plywood meant both for home consumption and for export. It is also recommended that training of staff should constitute an important component of the work programme of the mills for the enhancement of the quality of production. In addition, the mills should document production and quality control procedures for the guidance of all production and quality control personnel.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science, 1994