When selecting a laboratoy to fulfil testing, calibration or measurement needs, you need to be sure that they can supply you with accurate and reliable results. The technical competence of a laboratory depends on a number of factors including:
- the qualifications, training and experience of the staff
- the right equipment –properly calibrated and maintained
- adequate quality assurance procedures
- proper sampling practices
- appropriate testing procedures
- valid test methods
- traceability of measurements to national standards
- accurate recording and reporting procedures
- suitable testing facilities
All these factors contribute to a laboratory being technically compenten to do your testing.
What is the added value of a laboratory ISO 9001 certified?
Laboratories can be audited and certified to an international management systems standard called ISO 9001. This standard is widely used in manufacturing and service organisations to evaluate their system for managing the quality of their product or service. Certification of an organisation’s quality management systems against ISO 9001 aims at confirming the compliance of the management system to this standard, but does not specifically evaluate the technical competence of a laboratory. How then can you be sure that a laboratory is technically competent?
How to be sure if a laboratory is technically competent?
Many countries rely on a process called laboratory accreditation as a means of determining technical competence. Accreditation uses criteria and procedures specifically developed to determine technical competence. Specialist technical assessors conduct a thorough evaluation of all factors in a laboratory that affects the production of test or calibration data. The criteria are based on the internationally accepted standards ISO/IEC 17025, which are used for evaluating laboratories throughout the world. Accreditation bodies use this standard specifically to assessfactors relevant to a laboratory’s ability to produce precise, accurate test and calibration data, including the:
- validity and appropriateness of test methods
- traceability of measurements and calibrations to national standards
- suitability, calibration and maintenance of test equipment
- testing environment
- sampling, handling and transportation of test items
- quality assurance of test and calibration data
Gamma Irradiation Facility
The RADLAB gamma radiation laboratory is based on a Cobalt-60 source placed into a Gammabeam® X200 irradiator. This Cobalt-60 source has photons of 1.17 and 1.33 MeV energies and 403TBq (10893Ci) certified on January, 28th 2013. The facility features meet the requirements for total dose irradiation tests currently demanded by the industry, and applicable standards such as ESCC, MIL-STD or ASTM. The dose rate can be adjusted to the level requested by the customer needs within a wide range, including standard and low window rates specified in ESCC 22900.
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