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What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is the unbiased assessment by either A2LA, NVLAP or L-A-B of a laboratory’s quality program and technical capabilities. These organizations are part of an international Mutual Recognition agreement and are assessed to ISO 17011 to ensure their competency. If you are using a calibration vendor that is not accredited by one of these three organizations, that vendor may or may not be competent. A2LA, NVLAP or L-A-B assesses the laboratory against a recognized standard. Internationally, the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 “General Requirements for the Competence of Calibration and Testing Laboratories,” has been the accepted standard for many years. However, in May 2005, the new standard, ISO/IEC 17025:2005 “General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories,” was adopted. Laboratories accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2005 are also compliant to the basic requirements of ISO 9001:2008
Accreditation indicates that a laboratory has demonstrated that it functions within the parameters of the standard. While accreditation is not a guarantee of a laboratory’s performance, it does provide a means for determining the laboratory’s competence to perform particular types of tests or calibrations. The technical evaluation during an accreditation includes a review (by experts in the relevant discipline) of calibration procedures, calibration standards, traceability, uncertainty analysis, actual results, and statistical process control.
Laboratory accreditation has been a requirement in many countries for years. Nationally recognized accreditation bodies have provided customers with confidence in calibration certificates and reports by employing generally established standards set by the European (CEN) or international (ISO) standardization bodies. Accreditation in the United States is voluntary. Nevertheless, as more companies become ISO 9001:2008 certified, accreditation is becoming a more common practice in the United States.
What Is the Scope of AASC’s Accreditation?
The scope of All American Scales & Calibration’s accreditation is intended to satisfy the traceability and other requirements for ongoing company operations, research requirements, and customer support for time and frequency, dimensional, mechanical, fluid quantities, and thermodynamic. In the United States, NVLAP and A2LA have already accredited hundreds of calibration laboratories.
What’s in it for You?
First, since accreditation involves a third party assessment of a laboratory’s QA program and technical capabilities, it provides an impartial viewpoint of the competency of the laboratory. It also provides an unbiased assessment of the laboratory’s standards, procedures, personnel qualifications, and traceability to an appropriate national laboratory. In the United States, this means traceability of all standards to N.I.S.T. In short, accreditation offers a lab’s customers a high level of confidence in its quality and technical abilities.
What's In It For Us?
Customer demand for laboratory accreditation has been rising for years. With many companies requiring their calibration service suppliers to be accredited, this demand is starting to reach a critical level. By becoming accredited, AASC is better positioned to serve a wide variety of customers. Additionally, the time and costs associated with providing repetitive audits to numerous customers will decline with accreditation.
So here is a summary of everything you need to know for when buying calibration services:
If you’ve checked ‘yes’ to all five of the above, you’re probably okay. If not, contact us today.
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