This article original appeared in Precast Today’s Q2 2023 edition.
By Phil Cutler
The NPCA Quality Control Manual for Precast Concrete Plants serves as the guidance document for the association’s plant certification program. As the management tool and technical resource for manufacturing processes and the production of quality precast products, the manual is reviewed and updated annually to keep pace with advancing technologies in the precast industry.
With so much competition in the marketplace, precast concrete manufacturers should seek out ways to set themselves apart and attract more business. The top of that list should include NPCA Plant Certification.
The certification process begins with the most fundamental approach: a commitment from management and production personnel to manufacture the highest-quality products during every pour. There is no path to success without this dedication from leadership and a similar response from production personnel. Sound processes and manufacturing procedures also help build this into company culture.
Certified plants must continually meet stringent requirements to maintain certified status – all while choosing how to get there via the processes and procedures that shape quality production.
Production efficiency requires a systematic manufacturing approach. A documented set of plant-specific policies and procedures lay the necessary groundwork to set up an efficient production space. With processes and policies in writing, this establishes a clear path to a higher level of product consistency.
Combining this with highly efficient production operations helps streamline processes and eliminate waste. This is where the NPCA Quality
Control Manual for Precast Concrete Plants provides a great outline of general and product-specific requirements – no matter which products are manufactured. Applying an efficient and systematic approach to material validation, mix design, batching and mixing, testing, casting, stripping, yarding, and shipment are all critical steps on the path to success.
The NPCA Quality Assurance/Quality Control Committee reviews the content each year with the primary goal of making sure the language is clear, concise, accurate and up to date. For program year 2023 and the 16th edition, the committee made several changes to clarify language.
Those changes were posted for a 60-day comment period that ended Jan. 7.
Phillip Cutler, P.E., is the director of quality assurance programs at NPCA.
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