ISO 2859 represents a family of standards guiding sampling procedures to assess whether a specific lot of products will meet the customers' expectations. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a Swiss non-governmental organisation, issued the first version of these guidelines in the mid- 1980s. ISO aims at harmonising industrial standards for many nations seeking interoperability and alignment with international partners.
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International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization, based in Geneva, Switzerland since 1947, helps to homogenise industrial practices on a global scale. ISO invited nations to join in the creation of standards. To give equal participation to each country, ISO allows one seat per nation at the decision table. By 2010, ISO had issued more than 18,000 standards and seated 160 nations under its umbrella.
ISO 2859 Purpose
ISO 2859 standards help the manufacturer assess whether consumers will find certain products acceptable. In some settings, the cost of examining each item on an assembly line would be unreasonable and costly. The ISO 2859 guidelines discuss how to sample items off the production line and estimate whether the customer will accept a specific batch of goods, without examining every item.
ISO 2859 Philosophy
The methods presented in ISO 2859 focus on the product's attributes, which represent characteristics that are either present or not present. An inspector samples a few items from a lot, studies the condition of an attribute, and computes the probability that the customer will accept the entire lot. The decision relies on statistical analysis. ISO 2859 defines different sampling approaches and indicates which computations to run based on how many defective items surfaced.
ISO 2859 Structure
ISO 2859 includes a group of seven documents. ISO 2859-10:2006, the most recently issued document, gives an overall description of the sampling methodologies and points readers to the appropriate ISO 2859 subdivision. The other six documents cover various scenarios such as a manufacturing line that operates continuously (not in batches), or a product that is delivered in lots. Isolated lots also receive guidance and consideration under ISO 2859.
ISO 2859 Implementation
The implementation of ISO 2859 generally follows five steps. First, the lot size of the production batches must be matched to the categories identified by ISO 2859 (each category is coded by a letter A, B, or C). The contract agreement with the customer stipulates the minimum acceptable quality level that it will approve. Based on this number and the category, ISO 2859 recommends a sampling method, for example, examining one or two elements, or sampling items according to a repeated pattern. Then, based on the number of defects observed, ISO 2859 indicates whether the inspection can be relaxed or tightened.
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