The SAIW’s testing laboratory has been ISO 17025 accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) and according to SAIW executive director, Sean Blake, this is a significant step in the expansion of the services provided by the lab.
“This is the single most important standard for calibration and testing laboratories in this country – and probably in the world. It confirms unequivocally that our testing lab is technically competent and that it is able to produce precise and accurate test results,” Blake says.
The ISO 17025 standard comprises five elements: Scope, Normative References, Terms and Definitions and the two most important, Management Requirements, which are primarily related to the operation and effectiveness of the quality management system within the laboratory, and Technical Requirements, which include the factors that determine the correctness and reliability of the tests performed.
Dr. Surekha Krishnan, SAIW’s Project manager and technical signatory for the materials testing lab says that the SAIW lab uses ISO 17025 to implement a quality system that ensures the consistent production of valid results. “I am pleased to say that our lab has a well-documented quality management system and our accreditation is confirmation of our reliability and professionalism,” she says.
The lab has been ISO 17025 accredited for tensile, bend, hardness (Vickers and Rockwell), impact and chemical analysis tests. It will also shortly be ISO 17025 accredited for NDT techniques – namely liquid penetrant testing, magnetic particle testing, ultrasonic testing and radiographic testing.
Dr Krishnan adds that the SAIW testing lab is playing an increasing role in helping the local welding and related industries to test the quality of their processes. “Pre-testing of critical elements is fundamental to the safety of our industry and, as an Institute and the leading welder training organisation in Africa, it is important that we are able to provide a world class service in this domain. This accreditation is proof that we do and I am sure that we will now be able to grow our customer base significantly”, she says.
SANAS, an agency of the Department of Trade and Industries (dti), was established in terms of Section 3(1) of the Accreditation for Conformity Assessment Calibration and Good Laboratory Practice Act, 2006 (Act No. 19 of 2006).
Blake says that in terms of one of SANAS’s main aims of promoting accreditation as a means of facilitating international trade and enhancing South Africa’s economic performance and transformation, he has no doubt that the accreditation of the SAIW testing laboratory will do just that in the welding industry locally and abroad – especially in Africa.