Product quality

The quality of our carbon black and our product expertise has a direct impact on the performance and safety of our customers’ own products. As a leading global business focused solely on carbon black production, we are in a strong position to supply our customers with innovative products that are consistently of the very highest quality.

Quality assurance

All our manufacturing sites are ISO 9001 certified, which provides a sound basis for our sustainable development initiative. This system helps us to continuously improve on our overall performance and customer focus. The Quality Management System is integrated throughout the various functions within our manufacturing sites (operations, plant quality, maintenance and repair/instrumentation, warehouse/shipping) and is regularly reviewed and audited internally. As part of the Quality Management System, each production facility has a Quality Assurance (QA) laboratory, which uses state-of-the-art equipment to test our products against stringent shipping specifications. These QA laboratories, along with the other functions, ensure that the material sent to our customers complies exactly with their specific requirements.

Improving our processes

We continuously seek to make our manufacturing processes better. In FY2017, following the requirements set by the International Automotive Task Force (IATF 16949), we started developing a system through which we can identify costs caused by poor quality. The system asks for tracking a series of items:

  • Customer claims
  • Complaint handling costs
  • Returned material and associated freight due to complaints
  • Internal standard and nonstandard inventory

Information on each of these is gathered from the relevant internal functions, including Accounting, Customer Service, Supply Chain and Operations, and is then tracked and analyzed by our Quality Management team. This data supports our management review process to monitor trends and develop actions for reducing costs, as well as improving customer focus and satisfaction.

Focus on product consistency

Birla Carbon customers expect a product that consistently meets the highest quality standards. For carbon black, these standards focus on three key areas:

  • Colloidal properties – or those related to the carbon black morphology (microscopic physical characteristics);
  • Physical form – referring to the bead quality (size and hardness) of carbon black; and
  • Cleanliness – in terms of the purity of our product.

Birla Carbon rigorously tests its carbon black through internationally recognized test procedures and processes. Based on customer requirements, and regular reviews of the correlation between our customers’ laboratories and our own, we define Upper Specification Limits (USL) and Lower Specification Limits (LSL) for each test. Our products only leave our gates if all the required parameters are tested and the products are certified within these limits.

Our testing processes are validated through a process capability index (Cpk), which statistically measures their reliability. All our testing equipment in our quality departments is regularly serviced, checked and calibrated to guarantee maximum product quality.

  • Product consistency

Working with ASTM

Our laboratories are regularly audited by our Quality Technology group and assessed twice a year through an international proficiency testing program, the Laboratory Proficiency Rating System (LPRS). This program, organized by the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM International), provides us with an opportunity to internally compare our laboratories with nearly 100 industry laboratories worldwide. If LPRS identifies any anomalies or deviations, we conduct investigations, with support from our two central laboratories. This commitment to sharing best practice ensures our laboratories meet the very highest global standards.

Birla Carbon actively participates in the ASTM D24 Technical Committee, which develops internationally recognized and accepted test standards applicable to carbon black. The ASTM standards play a key role for our products in areas such as composition, properties, classification, nomenclature, analysis and quality assurance.

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Our product helps by supporting the development of quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, and in the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrialization.

Sustainable cities and communities

Our product enhances sustainable urbanization and reduces the adverse per capita impact of cities.

Responsible consumption and production

Carbon black helps society become more efficient in its use of resources, facilitating consumption and production.

Partnerships for the goals

We help achieve the goals by working closely with our stakeholders, particularly our customers.

All 17 laboratories achieved 100% alignment with the ASTM Laboratory Proficiency Rating System.

Our global quality management approach

  • Certificate of Analysis (CoA)

    A CoA contains the required product quality information for our customers and contact details.

    Certificate OF Analysis
  • Guaranteed consistency

    We work with our customers to establish rigorous consistency tests to guarantee that the characteristics of our carbon black lie well within the specification limits.

    Guaranteed Consistency
  • Customer tests

    Our customers often conduct further stringent and thorough quality tests to confirm our product’s performance.

    Customer Tests
  • World-Class Manufacturing (WCM)

    Our WCM approach helps us continuously improve the quality of our product through adopting the best available practices and technologies across Birla Carbon.

    World Class Manufacturing
  • Measurement Systems Analysis (MSA)

    We conduct MSAs to closely examine the performance of our testing equipment and lab personnel.

    Manufacturing Systems Analysis
  • Regional quality organization

    Regular meetings are held between the regional quality leadership, the Quality Managers from each plant within the region and the Technical Service Managers to discuss and implement best practices in the Quality area.

    Regional quality organization