Our A2LA Accreditations and Why They Matter
Every test at ARL revolves around quality and reliable, accurate results. From our specialized testing equipment to our methods of testing, ARL strives to ensure these principles. The culmination of our focus on quality and the methods we use to achieve it can be summarized as an A2LA Accreditation. In this article, we will explain what that is, the accreditations that guide it, and why it’s important to our clients.
WHAT IS HALT?
In HALT, a product is subjected to progressively higher levels of separate and combined stresses that extend past the product’s margin of intended operation to the point of failure. These stresses include thermal dwells combined with voltage margining and power cycling, rapid temperature transitions, vibration, and combined rapid temperature transitions and vibration.
By increasing the product’s conditions past its end-use environment to the point of destruction, it becomes possible to analyze and identify the root cause and implement possible repair and design changes. Once repaired, the stress can be increased to find the product’s next failure. The process is repeated until either the fundamental limit of the technology of the product is reached, or the failure becomes too difficult to repair.
Once the HALT process is completed and the product’s design has been upgraded for robustness, a HASS manufacturing screen can be developed to ensure that the rest of the product line continues to meet the same high engineering standards.
WHAT IS A2LA ACCREDITATION?
The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (or A2LA) refers to the specific standards that acknowledge testing labs across the world as being capable of delivering consistent and quality results for specific tasks. By checking labs against a collection of international standards, A2LA can ensure that a lab’s results are dependable, accurate, and consistent when it comes to performing certain standardized tasks such as reliability testing.
In other words, this accreditation takes out the guesswork of determining whether or not the results can be trusted, which allows you to make the decisions you need based on those results.
WHAT GOES INTO ARL’S A2LA ACCREDITATION?
To determine if any lab can claim an accreditation, an audit is performed by A2LA following specific prerequisites, parameters, and guidelines specific to the associated area of accreditation. There are over 4,000 accreditations covered by A2LA depending on specifics outlined by different industries, states, and countries. Each one carries the same mark of quality and consistency for the related specific task or area.
These accreditations encompass the human elements such as personnel, training, and expertise of a Conformity Assessment Body (or CAB), such as ARL, to ensure that resulting data is dependable and accurate. This means that equipment standards aside, the personnel and experts at ARL are likewise accredited through various training and Quality Management Systems that an established third party has evaluated and approved.
HOW IS A LAB EVALUATED FOR A2LA ACCREDITATION?
Accreditations from organizations such as A2LA act as a shorthand to clients that attests to the standards our QMS is held to. ARL is ISO/IEC 17025 accredited. This standard relates directly to calibrations and testing to ensure precision and accuracy during all of the various tests ARL offers. In A2LA’s own words this accreditation “ensures a quality assessment with technical experts who have experience in the field of measurement being assessed, resulting in greater customer confidence in measurement results.”
ARL’s accreditation process is handled by a 3rd party auditor, in our case A2LA, that performs a full audit at our facilities. We send them documentation of all of our processes for them to look over prior to the visit. Using these documents, the auditor develops and conducts an in-depth inspection complete with interviews with various team members focusing on a few key areas such as testing, measuring, and documentation.
In order to receive this accreditation from A2LA, ARL’s equipment, testing methods, and documentation processes must meet both of the following standards:
- ISO/IEC 17025 General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories
- A2LA Program Requirements
THE ARL DIFFERENCE WHEN IT COMES TO A2LA ACCREDITATION
Through all of this discussion of audits and accreditation, it’s important to keep in mind that these are merely tools we use for our goal of continuous dependable results. Through these audits, our customers benefit from a certain level of expectation they can assume when they see these accreditations listed. ARL has the benefit of a third party that can act as an outside pair of eyes, to prevent ever making a mistake twice.
It’s also important to note that while an ISO 17025 accreditation is an important and useful tool for evaluating businesses, millions of companies have this distinction. Any company can acquire and maintain their testing equipment to pass the bare minimum. Because of this, ARL and its sister companies go the extra mile by ensuring their Quality Management Systems include high standards for training engineers and technicians. This ensures reliable testing results no matter who is doing the testing.
ARL invites any prospective partners on the fence to come see our processes at work. What our visitors tend to find on their tours is a family of companies driven to provide the best value to their customers.
Here lies ARL’s greatest strength – our sister companies all have their own processes that they are constantly improving upon as well. We share these improvements and innovations with one another constantly so our customers benefit from a system that’s been shaped by leading minds in a variety of industries.
ISO Accreditations are a handy shorthand to let our clients know that any results they receive are dependable, but that’s really just the start of our mission. Once it’s earned, the next step is to keep that same level of quality and dependable testing services going each and every day. Interested in seeing how? Why not book a tour for your company today?