Congratulations to the ATS Performance/Mix Design and Binder /Emulsion labs for renewing and expanding their AASHTO accreditation! The accreditation process is in place to ensure labs are competent to performa specific test producing reliable, accurate results.
Not only does the accreditation speak to the high standard of work the ATS team completes in the lab, it is a huge undertaking to prepare for and execute all the steps in the process:
- complete application
- prepare the quality management system review (QMS)
- this includes submitting the manual and any associated documents that demonstrate adherence to the requirements of AASHTO R 18 (Standard Practice for Establishing and Implementing a Quality Management System for Construction Materials Testing Laboratories) – basically the recommended practice that establishes guidelines for an effective quality system in testing laboratories (lots of equipment calibration!)
- proficiency sample testing
- technicians perform testing on provided samples for each test method they are accredited for and submit their results which are compared to results from other AASHTO labs around the world
- technician then receives a rating for repeatability and reproducibility
- on-site assessment
- an AASHTO representative visits the labs and evaluates the facility, paperwork, equipment, personnel and testing procedures (our technicians complete each test in front of the representative)
- over 100 test methods were evaluated (many having both AASTO and ASTM versions)
- resolutions of non-conformities
- our team must take corrective actions to resolve the non-conformities and provide evidence of the corrections in a given time period
The lab is subject to regular surveillance through ongoing proficiency sample testing and biennial on-site assessments.
Accreditation for an asphalt testing lab is vital for several reasons:
- Credibility – accreditation is formal recognition of the lab’s competency in performing specific tests. It indicates that the lab maintains proper records of the equipment maintenance and calibrations, the personnel training and certifications, technical expertise and quality control system to conduct and report the tests accurately and reliably. This is major credibility in the eyes of customers, agencies and our industry peers!
- Quality Assurance – an accredited laboratory adheres to ASTM/AASHTO recognized testing standards and protocols, ensuring the quality and consistency of test results. This provides assurance to clients that the test results provided by the laboratory are repeatable and reproducible.
- Competitive Advantage – many customers prefer to work with accredited labs because it provides an assurance of quality – ATS met rigorous standards and can deliver reliable and accurate test results.