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How Gloves are made: Standards for glove manufacture

All gloves are tested to determine the Acceptable Quality Level (AQL) of the product. This involves the sample testing of each batch of gloves to determine the number of nonconformities per 100 units, which is the process average. The process average relates to the acceptable level of nonconformities from a very large batch or series of batches. The risk of receiving two or more defects in a box of 100 gloves is virtually nil ay an AQL of 0.065.

AQL testing involves two stages. The first is an air test, which tests the batch of gloves with air to expand the glove material to expose obvious holes or defects between the fingers. Next water testing is performed. To test glove integrity, gloves are filled with 1L of water for 2 minutes to check for leaks under sustained pressure.

European AQL standards for examination and surgical gloves are set at a minimum AQL of 1.5. Ansell’s minimum standards are much higher with an AQL of 1.5 or lower for examination gloves before packaging and similarly, an AQL of 0.65 or lower for surgical gloves before packaging.

Finally, before packing, all gloves are visually inspected. Packed boxes are then sterilised before being checked for seal integrity and that the inner pack is not infringing the seal. Random samples are also selected from finished packs to check for defects and packaging faults.

Source: Latex Allergy Management, Section 4 Glove Manufacture, Ansell Cares, p14 - 17