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Small scale quality concerns

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I recently put in an order for a number of supplies including 200 small black AA scales, 100 green, and 100 blue. My order shipped on 2/5/14. The blue and green scales seem to have had the issues with sharp edges around the punch hole fixed and they look quite nice. The black scales however seem to have gotten worse. I believe the black scales I received were made after the tooling was replaced (please correct me of I am wrong). The color looks much darker and richer than scales I've received in the past.

 

This topic has a lot of discussion on these issues: http://www.theringlord.org/forum/index.php?/topic/12202-scale-concerns/

 

The edges of the black scales have burrs and sharp edges that are not attractive at all. One could easily cut themselves on some of these scales. About half of the 200 I ordered had noticeable issues. I have attached some photos of the black scales I received. I am becoming more and more hesitant to order more scales and I am experimenting with tumbling to take off the sharp edges.

 

I just wish for better quality assurance and/or notices on the product page to notify customers of any issues. I use my scales for jewelry and I am worried to use them because they could scratch someone and it reflects on my quality of work. I understand that you are a growing company and have a lot going on, but please don't compromise quality for quantity. TRL has always been my go-to supplier and I'd hate to have that change.

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Edited by Gingertrap

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Thank you for your comments, It gives me a little piece of mind to hear Jon's explanation of the tooling process and where the different issues arise. I trust that in the future the small scales will be more consistent. It is also very understandable that it would be far more reasonable to sell the scales with minor errors than to scrap them totally and charge more for the others to compensate for cost.

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If you don't mind I would like to quote Jon's post from facebook so anyone who sees this can read his explanation of the issues and why what TRL did in the situation was the best option. If it is a problem feel free to remove this post. 

 

 

 

Jon Daniels We were at a point where we could not make perfect scales with any tooling. We did not understand the problem and we were trying solutions. The choice was no scales at all or scales with imperfect holes. I made the call to keep going. We did figure it out and it won't happen again. Burrs on the side happen within 60 seconds of lubrication failure. About each 15 seconds a drop of cutting lube drips into a wiper that spreads lube over the aluminum strip to be cut. If anything happens to the lube we get burrs. This does not happen often; sometime we miss it. In 2013 we made about 30 million scales. At this volume its pretty tricky to catch all the mistakes. In 2014 we expect to make about 40 million scales. We've added to our abilities and we've improved equipment (and added 50% to production capacity). In general we'll always make some mistakes and we'll always learn and improve processes.

Why are we selling imperfect scales? At the time I made the call I was thinking 99% of scales end up in fabric that covers the holes anyway. Then we launched a bunch of kits that used the scales differently - oops. Also keep in mind we sell these scales for less than the raw materials would cost you. If you were to go out and buy a square foot sheet of 0.025" anodized aluminum it would cost you about $25 (https://www.inventables.com/.../black-anodized-aluminum...). That sheet will make about 150 squares with typical waste. That's $16.67 per 100 scales but you need to make the scales. We sell the material and the manufactiring together for between $2.90 and $3.90 per hundred.

Think of the complaints we'd have if we scrapped a big batch of imperfect scales and doubled our prices.

Why don't we post warnings? Yep we should have. When they were made the burrs were not seen as a big deal - stock just went into the regular stream... its a big stream and extremely difficult to retroactively figure out.
Edited by Gingertrap

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As an addendum to the info in this post I wanted to say - one of the reasons we have not posted warnings as Jon noted was that it is very difficult to retroactively find all overstock affected, isolate and inventory.

That being said we typically do do this work.

We did not in this case because since the issue arose our weather has been simply horrible - minus 30 and lower for over a month. It was minus 45 to 60 with windchill for about a week.

Our scales overstock is stored outside in shipping containers. It is not safe and not possible to sort thru that much metal at those temps.

 

It is warming up this week and we intend on sorting this out as soon as possible. 

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So you originally said that you didn't notice the burrs, and when you did you told manufacture to replace the tooling.

 

Now you're saying it was *deliberate*?

 

Why did it get so bad over a period of months, when the scales I was getting in 2012 were all great?

 

Sorry if I'm misunderstanding here.

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The answers are the same answer. 

I - Bernice - didn't know about the burrs and told manufacturing it was not a good idea.

Jon - who was doing the manufacturing - noted them before me and made the call to continue. 

 

The period of time in question was as I understand only a few weeks this fall. I don't have a why. 

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The answers are the same answer. 

I - Bernice - didn't know about the burrs and told manufacturing it was not a good idea.

Jon - who was doing the manufacturing - noted them before me and made the call to continue. 

 

The period of time in question was as I understand only a few weeks this fall. I don't have a why. 

Thankyou very much for explaining. I realise I came off snippy and didn't need to, apologies.

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Hi all. New customer and member here. I just love the site for comentary and info. Lots to sort and learn for sure! I will say that I found no comparison when it came to quality, availability, and delivery with TRL and a local supplier. But, I too received small scales in several colours with punch hole issues. I have resigned to not ordering any more scales until issues are reolved...only because I like them in jewellery designs too. I've been using the (damaged) ones on dragons since the scales overlap. I'm looking for a way to clean them up. Maybe a rat-tail file? Oheeyy...

I know TRL will get this sorted. After all, they take pride in their work.

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