Product recalls are every manufacturer’s worst nightmare, bringing dire consequences for brand image and profits – not to mention the safety of the end user. And yet they happen all too often. Last week Japanese car giants Toyota and Nissan were the latest global manufacturers to fall foul, announcing a recall of 6.5 million cars around the world. The reason? Potentially faulty airbag inflators from Takata, installed in models manufactured between 2003 and 2007. Keeping track of components and models produced in your own factories can be challenging enough, but what about those manufactured by an external supplier more than a decade ago?
Luckily this isn’t a question that FB Chain customers have to face. In our 30 years of operation we have been able to track every single order back to manufacturing data, as well as batch and raw material test certificates, thanks to identification numbers clearly marked on each metre of chain cross-referenced with our vast computer database. This is not something that every chain manufacturer can say, as generic test certificates and unmarked chains are common throughout our industry. But we’re not resting on our laurels.
The Machinery Directive’s section on marking chains and ropes states that batch numbers must be ‘irremovable’. After some discussions with customers we decided that the brass identification plates press-fitted onto the outer links of our chain could technically be popped off (although we’ve never actually heard of this happening – accidentally or otherwise). But now – just to be sure – the tracking numbers are marked directly on the outer links of our high-volume chains and have a silver coating to the draw the eye. Within a year all of our materials handling chains will feature the new silver tracking plates. Not only do they minimise risk of the batch number becoming lost, but are more visible and allow for a larger font size, making the tracking information even easier to spot and read.
This innovation and dedication to safety gives our customers – whether OEMs, dealers or lifting equipment owners – the peace of mind that should anything ever go wrong, we can supply them not only with quality data, but also the order number, purchase date, delivery location and equipment reference for the faulty batch. Product recall doesn’t have to be a disaster.