The USTERIZED® brand creates a global circle of excellence for spinning mills, certifying the top-level standards of quality management. Started in 1967 and expanded 10 years ago, the program requires spinners to meet stringent technical specifications and implement efficient processes for quality yarn production. There are 68 USTERIZED® certified spinning mills worldwide, 21 of which have held the accreditation for 10 years or more.
During 2016, nine more spinning mills successfully passed the audit process and earned the USTERIZED® certificate. Each candidate for membership has to undergo a detailed and extensive examination of its quality management systems. Comprehensive preparation is needed before starting an USTERIZED® application. USTER provides support to the spinning mills throughout, with training courses and visits from specialists to support the mill, ahead of the USTERIZED® certification audit.
To carry out the audit, experienced textile experts assess the mills’ quality management systems. They will recommend improvements in quality processes and consistency and guide spinners towards ongoing analysis routines. Customer feedback is that these audit procedures are a valuable service in themselves, providing deep insights into quality management and overall mill management needs.
Market demand raises the bar
Recent trends confirm a growing demand for higher quality and at the same time consistent quality yarn from downstream users in the textile chain. The USTERIZED® quality seal supports this by assuring that certified spinners are capable of meeting this requirement on a continuous basis. The bar is being raised – and the criteria for USTERIZED® membership are progressing accordingly.
A key aspect is the maintenance of consistent environmental conditions in the spinning mill laboratory, to ensure reliable measurement of quality values with USTER® instruments for testing fiber and yarns.
USTERIZED® candidates must also focus on important details such as a regular sampling plan and the use of yarn quality profiles, as part of the quality management process. To demonstrate suitable customer-oriented systems, spinners will need to work with yarn quality profiles for selected articles, as well as produce test reports using USTER® STATISTICS percentile values for their standard yarns.
The USTERIZED® certificate must be renewed regularly. But, unlike some other programs, this requires mills to do more than simply prove again their original quality management standards. At each subsequent audit, USTERIZED® spinners need to show evidence of continuous improvements – which also includes updated testing and monitoring technology.