Meet the Challenge with Expanded Lab Services
If you work in a laboratory, and especially if you manage one, you know the challenges well. There is the constant effort to lower operating costs; extend equipment lifecycle as long as possible; lower the cost of consumables; do more with less staff; the list goes on. And this is all before you consider winning new customers and producing accurate test results, all while complying with industry and government regulations.
The objective of a laboratory is generally to generate accurate results – on a consistent basis and in a timely manner – while keeping costs reasonable. And with this in mind, ASTM International’s suite of laboratory services can enable labs to meet these challenges by providing high-quality, user-friendly, integrated solutions at a reasonable cost.
Says Amy Meacock, ASTM’s director of proficiency testing programs, "Each product managed by the Lab Services group will help laboratories using an ASTM published test method either meet a section of the test method or will help a lab improve their performance of that test method."
Christopher McCullough, ASTM’s general manager, program development, laboratory services agrees. “Laboratories are under constant pressure to improve accuracy, reduce costs, and reduce turnaround time. Our new line of products and services aims to assist laboratories in meeting these objectives.”
Meacock says the benefits of this lineup of lab services to your laboratory is virtually unlimited. “ASTM Laboratory Services provides the tools needed by a lab to improve performance and have confidence in the data they report. The different products will provide guidance on how to properly set up a method and correct issues identified by participating in PTPs.” She continues, “If corrections are made, and as performance improves, this will build confidence in the lab staff and management that they are performing the methods well. And when the lab works with their customers, they will have the confidence that they are providing good, reliable data and be secure in their ability to service their customers.”
As a trusted global standards developer and established proficiency-testing provider, for years ASTM International has been providing crucial services that laboratories worldwide rely on.
The group currently offers six distinct products/services:
Proficiency testing programs (PTPs) provide a homogeneous sample for enrolled laboratories to analyze using ASTM and other standard test methods. There are 60+ PTPs covering 14 different industries and including over 500 different test methods.
eLearning videos use the published test method as a script for the video, demonstrating how a test method is performed by a laboratory. Videos are made in conjunction with an industry lab that routinely performs that test method.
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are documents created from the published test method and provide guidance to perform the test method. The SOPs are also connected to the instrument, so a lab will be able to follow a procedure designed for the equipment in their own laboratory.
Test method assessments (TMAs) are a checklist document that allows a lab to verify or “check” that the method was set up as per the published method. The TMA will verify that the correct equipment, instrument, apparatus, glassware, thermometers, balances, and other method-specific requirements are all being met by the laboratory in the operation of the test method.
Insight SQC is a software application designed to provide statistical quality-control charts for laboratories. The design is based on the standard practice for applying statistical quality assurance and control charting techniques to evaluate analytical measurement system performance (D6299) and U.S. EPA 40 CFR 1090 regulations. Insight SQC will create custom charts for the labs to monitor test-method performance on a regular schedule. It includes notifications to users, lab staff, and management regarding warnings or violations of statistical run rules.
Reference materials (RMs) are homogeneous and stable materials with an accepted reference value and an estimate of uncertainty for specific properties and test methods. Currently, the majority are petroleum-based matrices in a varying range of levels for properties from different test methods. Each RM is accompanied by a certificate of analysis for the property and test method represented.