Harris earns ISO 17025 accreditation for its metallurgical lab in Mason

The Harris Mason metallurgical lab earned accreditation to ISO 17025 in June of 2015. The accreditation serves to enhance and upgrade current capabilities to provide customer with confidence in the quality of Harris' consumable products. This accreditation goes above and beyond the requirements of customers in the industry and standard agencies and demonstrates Harris' commitment to superior quality.

A2LA audited the company's practices and is the official registrar for the accreditation. The firm is internationally recognized as enforcing the highest accreditation standards to ISO 17025. To achieve the accreditation, the lab met many specific requirements for technical proficiency that were verified and will continue to be verified by A2LA.

Harris Mason is already accredited to ISO 9001, and this accreditation is in addition to that high quality standard verification. ISO 9001 covers the overall quality management system, whereas ISO 17025 specifically covers the lab.

One of the most important unique requirements that differentiate ISO 17025 from other ISO standards is proficiency testing. Proficiency testing is a benchmarking exercise which asks labs to test materials with known chemistries to validate the lab's processes in comparison to other labs that perform the same type of testing. Proficiency testing helps identify strong points and weak points within the lab's technical processes, driving corrective action and continuous improvement. The Harris lab will be required to pass chemistry proficiency testing annually, which effectively validates the lab's test processes.

Another unique requirement is the calculation of measurement uncertainty. All inspection and test processes contain some amount of measurement uncertainty or error. This error can account for much of the allowable specification tolerance and can also render test results suspect.

Many companies have a limited understanding of their test process measurement uncertainty. This becomes a costly problem as the companies make decisions to either accept or reject a product based on test results. Without knowledge and control of their error uncertainty, a customer may rightfully question the validity of test results.

As part of the ISO 17025 standard, Harris will verify its measurement error on a monthly basis. The Harris lab's measurement uncertainty is statistically calculated at less than 10% of the total allowable tolerance for each element of the representative alloys tested. This is well within acceptable limits for measurement uncertainty.

The Harris team has high confidence in the reliability of the lab's testing methods based upon weekly equipment calibration, maintenance contracts with test equipment manufacturers, NIST-certified calibration standards and internally developed reference standards. These testing protocols ensure delivery of the highest quality product to our customers.