AQL Standard – ISO 2859 Acceptance Quality Limit with Examples

When importing commodities from China, it is helpful to know what the AQL standard is. It is the most popular inspection standard for goods, required by law in some countries. When using the service of a company that is checking our merchandise, you need to know the ins and outs; on what criteria samples are chosen for inspection: what is the quantity and how accurately the inspection is carried out.

What does the AQL standard provide?
After the AQL inspection, the importers know whether the product went through the check or not. Based on the given result, they can decide whether to keep or dispose of the batch. If the quantity of defective products is close to the AQL standard, you, as an importer, should consider the possible outcome. It may turn out that most of the products in that batch are also defective.

If you are importing from China and are a brokerage end user, you must enforce the AQL standards. That way, you have the certainty that the product that the end buyer receives will have as few defective products as possible and can be subjected to an even more stringent inspection.

What is the AQL standard?
The acronym stands for “Acceptance Quality Limit”, which means “level of quality that is the worst tolerable” (ISO 2859). In other words, it is the dividing line between acceptance and rejection of a certain product. Determine how many defective products there are on average in proportion to a defined number of samples examined and if this proportion conforms to the standard average during production.

What are the benefits of using AQL?
It offers importers the guarantee that the product received is of satisfactory quality.

What are the commodity defect categories and standard AQL levels?
Defects are divided into three categories:

1. Critical defect – does not meet basic safety standards; it can threaten the life of a user.
2. Major defect – the user could return the product, as the products can be easily damaged or less effective.
3. Minor flaw – slight deviation from the norm, but the user will probably not return it.

The standard AQL levels for commodities are

– Critical defects – 0%
– Major defects – 2.5%
– Minor defects – 4%

Depending on the product category, the acceptable percentage standards may differ.

How are samples chosen for inspection?
Depending on the level of inspection precision chosen:

AMERICAN SOLDIER: Shorter inspection time, but higher risk that the product is found to be defective even after inspection. Recommended for products that do not need such a rigorous control.

GII: Used when more rigorous control is needed. It is the most popular, the most chosen level of inspection precision.

GIII: Longer inspection time, but lower risk of a defective product.

How to use AQL tables?
The AQL standard is presented in the two tables. They were manufactured based on international standards (ANSI / ASQC Z1.4, NF06-022, BS 6001, DIN 40080).

Table NO ° 1: On the left side, you can find a range of product quantities (batch sizes). You can find your given letter based on the chosen inspection precision level (defined as GI, GII, GIII).

Table NO ° 2: On the left side, according to the letter given above, the number of samples is presented. The indicated number of samples will be checked. Tolerance levels indicate the maximum number of products with defects.

AQL – example
There are 1000 samples to check. That number falls into the range of 501 to 1200. The defect limit for this product is 0% for critical defects, 2.5% for major defects, 4% for minor defects.

According to GI: G – 32 samples are checked. The suspension of supply occurs when two parts with major defects and three parts with minor defects are found.

According to GII: J – 80 samples are controlled. The suspension of supply occurs when five parts with major defects and seven parts with minor defects are found.

According to GIII: K-125 samples are checked. The suspension of supply occurs when seven pieces with major defects and ten pieces with minor defects are found.