Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) is purely a concept of quality control. In detail, AQL is the set number of defective products that are acceptable for a selected sample size. It is defined in ISO 2859-1 as “quality level that is the worst tolerable.”

 While doing a random sampling quality inspection, AQL helps you to know how many defective products are considered acceptable. AQL is always indicated as a ratio of the number of defects compared to the total lot or quantity.

For example, a toy manufacturing company sets an AQL of 1% on a lot. That means out of 1000 toys in one lot, only 10 toys can be defective. If the defective toys are more than 10 the entire batch should be scraped.

What are the Categories of defects in Acceptable Quality Level

Generally, defects are categorized as follows

1.Critical defects: In this category, the accepted defects could lead to harm to the users. This kind of defect is not acceptable. So it is defined by 0%AQL.

2.Major defects: In this category, defects not acceptable by the end-users, as it is likely to fail. The AQL for major defect is 2.5%

3.Minor defects: In this category, defects do not reduce the usability of the product for its intended purpose. Some end-users will still buy such products. The AQL for minor defects is 4%.

As long as the production level yields to defective pieces within the AQL range then it means that manufacturing is going on a smooth basis. If the number of rejections is higher than the set AQL, then the whole batch will be rejected and you come to know that the manufacturing processes will have to be reviewed and the defect causing areas to have to be rectified. It is an important tool in Six Sigma quality control.

Acceptable quality level depends and differs from product to product and from industry to industry. Products used in building airplanes will have very little AQL as compared to a company that manufactures toys.

For example, a company of manufacturing can set an AQL of 1% on a lot, but a Pharmaceutical company could set an AQL of 0.001% or 0% on a lot because defective products can be risky for health.

Hence, it is first essential that the AQL is calculated based on the appropriate size, sample, and Industry.

When the sampling is done if the statistical values lie below the expected AQL then the products are accepted.

We know that AQL means the worst quality level. Apart from AQL two more quality levels are there in the quality control department.

RQL(Rejectable Quality Level): This is known as unsatisfactory quality level or lot tolerance percent defect (LTPD).

IQL(Indifference Quality Level): This level lies between RQL and AQL. This will be different for different companies.

Sampling process

Acceptable Quality Level is one of the important parameters in the sampling process. The other two are Inspection level and sampling method.

Inspection levels are basically two types general inspection level and special inspection level. Different methods of sampling are single sampling, double sampling, sequential sampling, multiple sampling, and skip lot sampling.

Acceptable Quality Level Table

To understand the acceptable quality level table following parameters to be kept in mind.

  1. Lot Size: Lot size is the number of products that you ordered. If you order different products, each product to be considered as a separate lot.
  2. General inspection level: It is a common inspection level
  3. Special inspection level: It is a little bit different from the general inspection level. In this sample size will be small compared to the general inspection level and some special inspection to be conducted for the sample
  4. Sample size code letters: It represent the different sample size
  5. Sample sizes: It is the number of units that you take randomly for inspection
  6. Acceptable quality level: It represents your tolerance for defects in a lot. Usually sets in terms of percentage
  7. Acceptance point: It is the maximum number of defects acceptable in a given sample size.
  8. Rejection point: It is the threshold point for rejecting an order based on the defects in a given sample.

Get more definitions about Acceptable quality level and other ERP related terms here.


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