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From the Glossary
The maximal percent of nonconforming items (or the maximal number of nonconformities per 100 items), which is considered, for inspection purposes, as a satisfying process mean.
The AQL is generally specified by the authority responsible of sampling. Different AQLs may be designated for different types of defects. It is common to use an AQL of 1% for major defects, and 2.5% for minor defects.
Values of AQL that are 10% or less are suitable for percent nonconforming or nonconformities per 100 items. Values of AQL over 10% are only suitable for nonconformities per 100 items.
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