Improving Standards – Berto Pours it On
RT Media dedicated one full edition of RT ImagingWorld magazine to addresses the complicated but so important issue of standards and testing. The amazing compilation of articles from around the globe demonstrated how multi-faceted standards and testing are. However, the issue is actually pretty simple: we are talking about quality. Provable, repeatable quality.
Twenty years after the adoption of STMC by Int’l ITC and industry members, Senior Consulting Editor Tricia Judge is still often asked what type of standards are set by STMC. “It doesn’t,” she says. “STMC is all about testing your cartridges so that a manufacturer, distributor and even customers can determine the cartridges’ performance. There is no pass/ fail.”
A standard set for a cartridge requires that it meets a prescribed level of performance, or it “fails.” This line is often blurred, so Judge admits she can understand why it causes confusion.
There is one thing that both have in common. Neither testing nor standards can be modified. “We use our own version of STMC,” Judge has been told. “No. You don’t,” she replies. “It’s an established and prescribed standard or test and must be used as written, vetted and passed by consensus. Any “modified” or “better” version is NOT a version at all.”
STMC is a testing protocol that employs several ASTM, ISTA and ANSI standards to make up a process that allows everyone to easily test a cartridge for page yield, image density and background. These standards were painstakingly designed to be easily usable and repeatable by anyone from OEMs down to actual consumers.
Standards, like ISO 9000, require that a company use certain processes in manufacturing. It encourages consistency (but not necessarily excellence) in product quality.
Standard and testing certifications are also subject to counterfeiting and misrepresentation. Certifications have been fraudulently displayed on products and marketing materials. All of the certifying organizations maintain criteria for checking authenticity on their websites. Check them. Every time. Before you buy.
In the final analysis, the strongest test or standard of a producer is its integrity. Berto has fun with this, as he usually does each month, with his cartoon depicting a complete disregard for any standards at all. Fortunately, the Aftermarket has moved on from the horrible “drill and fill” days fro the 1990s.
Cartoon #86 Improving Standards – Berto Pours it On
Last month’s Berto cartoon: Is Working from Home More Productive? Berto’s Not So Sure
Who is Berto? And where can you can see more of his work? Click here.