In an effort to optimise their processes, TheraSkin has adopted the Mettler Toledo Good Weighing Practice (GWP) guideline for their weighing instruments and, as a result, has reduced maintenance and calibration service costs by 27%.
TheraSkin is a Brazilian company with more than 13 years of experience in the development and production of skin treatment products. Based on scientific principles, GWP (a method for risk management and quality control introduced by Mettler Toledo), mapped the application of 78 balances used by TheraSkin in its laboratory in order to analyze specific instrument risks and their subsequent correlation with process tolerances.
For Marcos Vinicius, TheraSkin’s instrumentation technician, the adaption of GWP meant an overhaul of the entire system. “There was even a reformulation of internal processes, including a change of habits and culture. Now, all balances have tags that inform the operator of the minimum weight that each one supports. This has certainly resulted in a processes breakthrough for our company,” he explains.
Weighing without risk
The GWP methodology analysed the five stages in the life cycle of a balance, starting with a full evaluation of weighing process characteristics. This included potential risks of inaccurate measurements and process impacts in regard to relevant regulations or standards.
From this survey, the guideline further provided specific and individual recommendations for each balance including information about minimum weight, required tests for routine checks, regularity of checks and calibrations, standard weights required and the control limit for each test. The entire process, from data collection, analysis, presentation, implementation and training, lasted three months.
“All balances were submitted to consistency analysis with the procedures we perform here. The study highlighted that the balances we maintain and calibrate every three months could have this period extended to every six months and, similarly, those maintained and calibrated every six months extended to once a year,” says Pasquale Loiacono, TheraSkin’s engineering and maintenance manager.
“GWP identified that our calibration period and the frequency of periodic verification tests were overestimated. The tool was applied to TheraSkin’s installed base resulting in time and labor reductions as the total plant’s balance checking time was greatly reduced, increasing equipment production time,” explains Daniela Soares, Mettler Toledo’s Laboratory Division product manager.
Pasquale Loiacono said that the methodology created by Mettler Toledo provided the missing reference to justify the weighing equipment used by TheraSkin.
“There weren’t specific technical standards directing us towards the regularity of checks and calibrations, except for the balance manufacturer’s recommendations. GWP helped us to determine the range of tests, weights required for each balance, correct tests and tolerances for regular checks and systematic tests that minimize risks and reduce costs. We have adopted all of these GWP recommendations as our standard operating procedures,” said the engineer, adding that, “the method was so effective for laboratory processes that, in June, ANVISA (National Agency for Sanitary Vigilance) carried out their inspection in occurrence with Good Practice of Production. They were not able to identify any instances of non-compliance regarding weighing processes.’