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What Is a Quality Control Inspector?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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A quality control inspector is the person who guarantees the highest standards of excellence are maintained in the production and manufacturing of consumer goods. She is instrumental in all phases of the production process. From the introduction of the initial components, ingredients or elements through the final product packaging, quality control inspectors scrutinize each step for flaws, defects or blemishes.

The quality control inspector profession encompasses many types of quality experts. In some industries, one inspector is responsible for making sure all aspects of a product are free of defects. These quality and compliance considerations normally include strength, weight, dimensions, color and texture.

In other environments, quality control inspectors often examine only one aspect of a product. Mechanical inspectors are traditionally responsible for making sure all moving parts of a manufactured object are in sync, fit together well and are properly lubricated. This type of inspector may also monitor the compliance of electrical charges, gas pressure readings and liquid levels.

A type of inspector known as a sorter ensures products are separated by specifications, such as color, size or weight. A separate sorter is often used to individually evaluate each of these aspects. Sampler quality inspectors randomly choose items from batches in production to check for flaws or defects. Those involved in the quality control of weights are only concerned with the heaviness of production materials or the finished product.

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All stages of production traditionally involve the skills of some type of quality control inspector. She may be responsible for inspecting raw materials before they are even introduced to the manufacturing environment. Another quality control expert may be positioned at the end of the production process to guarantee the quality of the product right before it hits the consumer market. Inspectors with highly-developed skills in a particular area of quality control may regularly maintain related test equipment and calibrate testing instruments.

Once products successfully pass the examination process, the quality control inspector typically indicates the inspection has been complete through a physical marker. These markers are usually small notes, stamps or tags with a number on them identifying the inspector. Such tracking systems enable a production facility or plant to identify missed deficiencies and address how the inspection system may be improved.

A career in quality control inspection normally does not require a specific degree. Many quality control inspectors are trained on the job and specialize their skills as opportunities arise and their particular talents emerge. A high school diploma or equivalent is normally required for an entry-level position.

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Ivan83
Post 3
@tigers88 - I know where your friend is coming from but that just happens to be the nature of quality control testing. Most things come back correct. In order to be good at the job you have to accept a lot of sameness while also being hyper-aware of the differences, because quality control inspection is all about catching that one mistake.

A good example is industrial food. If just a few people get sick potentially millions of pounds of meat, vegetables or other food products have to be recalled and destroyed at a great cost to the company. Now, most if not all of that food is safe to eat, but no one noticed the small quantity that was not safe and it ended up on the shelves. A good quality control inspector could have caught the mistake and saved everyone a lot of trouble.

tigers88
Post 2

I have a friend who used to work as a quality control chemist for a large company that made paints, sealants and other industrial chemicals. They would make gigantic batches of each and he would test samples from each batch to ensure that they had the required properties.

He loved chemistry but didn't love the job. He said that it was very routine, especially because the industrial process had become so standardized and mechanized that they rarely made mistakes. Basically, all the samples came back correct with little to no variation. He began to feel like a machine himself.

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