Yvette Volschenk of H. Rohloff highlights the importance of calibrating NDT equipment.
Effective non-destructive testing (NDT) technology is reliant on two main factors, namely the equipment and the operator using the equipment. “The simple fact is that NDT saves lives and using non-compliant equipment can lead to incorrect reporting of results, which in turn can lead to disaster,” begins Volschenk.
“An operator is reliant on the information from the NDT equipment and, therefore, it is critical that the NDT equipment used meets international standards. It is of the utmost importance that NDT equipment is calibrated through an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory that is able to confirm the equipment’s compliance,” she says.
H.Rohloff operates an ANAB-accredited ISO/IEC 17025 calibration laboratory in Protea Ridge in Krugersdorp, which is the first and only such laboratory on the African continent. “In most major countries, ISO/IEC 17025 is the standard to which most labs must hold accreditation in order to be deemed technically competent and, in many cases, suppliers and regulatory authorities will not accept test or calibration results from a lab that is not accredited,” she adds.
Who is ANAB? The ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) is a US-based non-governmental standards organisation known for providing ISO accreditation services to manufacturers, laboratories and other public and privately held organisations and companies.
ANAB is an underwriter for the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), providing documentation recognised by government agencies from a number of participating nations. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) jointly own ANAB.
General competence requirements
ISO 9001 is a standard designed for the manufacturing and service sectors and focuses the implementation of quality management systems in companies operating in these sectors.
ISO 17025 focuses on calibration and testing, but there are many similarities in the quality management system incorporated in both of these ISO standards. There are some key difference between ISO 17025 and ISO 9001, however.
ISO 17025 requires a demonstration of technical competence. It is required of management to authorise specific personnel to perform particular types of sampling, test and/or calibration tasks; to issue test reports and calibration certificates; and to ensure technical competency of the personnel performing each task.
ISO 17025 requires traceability of measurements to standards. For accredited calibration laboratories, the programme for calibration of equipment has to be designed and operated so as to ensure that calibrations and measurements made by the laboratory are traceable.
The 17025 standard also requires the application of measurement uncertainty. The calibration certificates issued by these laboratories not only contain the measurement results, they also include the measurement uncertainty and/or a statement of compliance with an identified metrological specification.
An ISO/IEC 17025 accredited test report and calibration certificate is regarded as a legal document, so the use of an ISO/IEC 17025-accredited calibration laboratory is preferred to an ISO 9001-certified company.
All accreditation bodies that grant ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation are approved by ILAC (ilac.org) against ISO/ IEC 17011:2017, which specifies the requirements for the competence, consistent operation and impartiality of accreditation bodies assessing and ac- crediting conformity assessment bodies.
NDT Equipment such as that used for magnetic particle inspection for detecting crack and surface defects must be calibrated through an ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory that is able to confirm the equipment’s compliance.
Accreditation bodies operating in Africa include: SANAS, our local accreditation system; and NATA, UKAS, DAkkS, A2LA and ANAB, which are all International bodies. H.Rohloff uses the international accreditation body, ANAB from the USA, which is recognised in Africa via an ILAC mutual recognition agreement (MRA). These are international agreements through which two or more countries agree to recognise one another’s conformity assessments.
Established in 1946, H.Rohloff (Pty) Limited has become the first ISO/IEC 17025 accredited calibration laboratory and is also certified to ISO 9001:2015.
Rohloff is synonymous with high quality, technology-driven materials testing and measuring equipment, systems and solutions. Its products are used throughout industry and deliver productivity, quality and safety for customers.
“We seek to provide sound advice and services, sound equipment and sound calibrations, which are the cornerstones of our triangular company logo,” Volschenk concludes, adding, “and to reinforce these objectives and to ensure customer satisfaction, we strive to continually improve our quality systems.”