Frequently Asked Questions
 
According to the definition given in ISO 17043-2010, the proficiency testing determines performance of participant laboratory against pre-determined criteria by means of inter laboratory comparison. Proficiency testing sample is sent to the participant laboratory by an accredited Proficiency Testing Provider (PTP). After testing sample as per the stipulated method, the laboratory submits result to the PTP (DMS) as per result format provided along with the instruction sheet. PTP analyzes the results in accordance to ISO17043-2010 and NABL specific criterion. PTP grades the results and reports to laboratory scores indicating how accurately the laboratory performed the testing. It is an important way of meeting the requirements of ISO/IEC17025 in the area of quality assurance of laboratory results
 
The testing laboratories are required to demonstrate their performance through participation in appropriate Proficiency Testing Schemes (PTS) conducted by an accredited PTP. PTP distributes sample after thorough homogeneity check and analyzes the result by an appropriate statistical technique. Participation in proficiency testing scheme provides independent verification of laboratory competence. Inter laboratory comparison is the organization performance and evaluation of tests on the same or similar test items by two or more laboratories in accordance with predetermined conditions which are not under direct control of independent body. Additionally, an inter-laboratory comparison does not require the use of a reference laboratory or a coordinating body. Therefore, participant laboratories are only comparing performance amongst the group of participating members.
 
PT is an internationally recognized tool that a laboratory can use to verify accuracy and reliability of its testing. If any laboratory holds ISO17025-17 and also in the verge of acquiring ISO17025-17, the Proficiency testing is mandatory requirement. Normally PT schemes for all test measurements or parameters are used by laboratories that take quality seriously and could visualize the impact of test they perform.
 
All PT Providers (PTP) are required to comply with all the requirements listed in the International Standard ISO/IEC 17043: 2010 (Conformity assessment – General requirement for proficiency testing) for all types of proficiency testing schemes. In India, all accreditation activities are administered under the direction of National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL), a constituent Board of Quality Council of India (QCI).
 
DMS is an accredited PTP by NABL. DMS has been accredited for twenty eight simultaneous Proficiency Testing Schemes. These PTS include five programs in metallography, four programs in corrosion, two programs in wet chemical, five programs in Spark Optical Emission and twelve programs in mechanical test. DMS is a first PTP in India offering many PTS in Corrosion Quantitative Metallography and Wet chemical analysis.
 
If any laboratory holds ISO17025-17, then participation in PTS is mandatory in accordance to the clause 7.7.2 of ISO17025-17.
 
Certification denotes conformity to a requirement of standard in respect of personnel or management and product. Certified organization can also participate in PTS. Certified organization must be competent to carry out specific test with metrological traceability to national metrological institution. Additionally equipment must have unbroken chain of calibration status traceable to NPL.
 
DMS has excellent reputation for organizing Proficiency testing schemes. Laboratory participating in the PTS benefits from variety PT schemes including metallography and corrosion tests, chemical and mechanical test that are all meeting the highest level of standard.
 
Each laboratory is responsible to contact PTP for enrollment. Enrollment and payment for any Proficiency Testing Schemes are done online. Several options are offered to register and participation in the PTS. Payment can be made by NEFT and DD also.
 
Laboratory can enroll for any accredited PTS. A detailed listing is available with PTP and as well as to the regulator. The laboratory must enroll the test for which they are approved.
 
The proficiency test samples for all PTS are produced by DMS. The PT samples are prepared from a single commercial but high purity product and are then processed to meet the requirement of Proficiency Testing Schemes. The statistical analysis is performed for homogeneity study and also to determine reference value for each batch. Finally the PT samples are packed and stored with proper corrosion resistant coating.
 
Every batch of PT sample must be sufficiently homogenous and passed all preliminary statistical analysis. Moreover all participants must receive similar PT samples for appropriate comparison of result. It is difficult to achieve acceptable level of accuracy and result from the sample directly bought out from market.
 
All PT samples are packed in a plastic container and delivered by the courier service. All packets contain document indicating the expected range, instruction sheet, reporting format and feedback form. Normally the participant should receive PT sample within three to five days of dispatch. If the PT sample does not receive in time or is damaged, the participant laboratory may contact PTP to request for replacement by filling a form for request for an additional sample
 
Number of PT sample depends on the PTS. PT sample details are given below:
  • Metallographic test parameter & IGC Practice A: One metallographically polished sample of about 30mmØx10mm thickness for each PT schemes. PT sample is required to simply etch for determining microstructure parameters as per PTS.
  • Corrosion test parameter: One sample for each PTS with surface finish as per the governing specification & dimension of about 10mmØ & 5mm thickness.
  • Tensile test: Two machined standard specimens as per ISO6892-1/IS1608-18 or by ASTM E8 /ASTM A370.
  • Charpy Impact One set consisting of five machined and notched Charpy Impact specimens as per ISO148-1 & ASTM E23.
  • Hardness test: One machined and polished specimen with of 35mmØ with 12mm thickness.
  • Spark Optical Emission analysis. One sample for each program with surface finish of 120grit having dimension of 35mmØ x12mm
  • Wet chemical sample : Granular chips of about 25gram for a specific test parameter
 
All metal samples are stable but still the stability of PT sample is determined by prevailing statistical method
 
Metal samples are not hazardous
 
It is expected that laboratory with an effective quality system are unlikely to experience any difficulties with the PT samples. It is also expected that an appropriate result can surely increase staff motivation and confidence.
 
It should be ensured that PT samples must be treated as a routine test sample. No special handling for metal sample is required. It should be kept in mind that PT sample should not be sent out of the laboratory for any reason. It is always advised that PT records must be kept for 4 years. All corrective action must be kept properly
 
PT results are analyzed by robust statistical methods using consensus of the participant test result. The statistical analysis and Z score are evaluated from participant’s results calculating on the basis of robust assign value and robust standard deviation according to the Algorithm A and NABL criterion.
 
Z scores are provided to every participant for every PT schemes. When Z scores ≥3, the PT results is unsatisfactory and action is required, Z ≤ 2, it is considered to be satisfactory and Z score 2 <Z<3 or -2 <Z<-3, is considered to be warning.
 
DMS will declare results as per the schedule time frame and immediately after the deadline date for result. Participants are informed immediately by email followed by a hard copy of report.
 
It is important that PT sample are examined in the same way as routine sample. DMS does not expect reporting any result more than one set of result per sample. If it is required for new sample to establish alternate method in addition to the routine method, it can be accommodated by request.
 
PT sample must be tested as a regular test manner. This means that the testing of sample is done by similar method and same personnel using the same equipment and method. Metal sample generally do not require any preparation and rotating among the testing personal may not be necessary.
 
If the laboratory has separate certificate for each site, they must be enrolled PT for each site
 
It is mandatory as per regulation that all laboratories must participate in PT schemes and Z score is valid for four years
 
DMS has now been accredited for almost all metallurgical test parameter. At present there are no NABL accredited PTP offering PTS on creep, fatigue, fracture toughness, HIC, SSC. In that case, laboratory has option to verify and validate the accuracy of their results by inter laboratory comparison.
 
DMS as PTP will not disclose result to another laboratory or to the regulator without written information to the particular participating laboratory.
 
Participating laboratory can lodge complain immediately if any error is found. Immediate investigation will be carried out and results of investigation will be intimated to laboratory. Any error in the participant’s data entry cannot be changed after reporting deadline.
 
Metal sample can be stored at room temperature with proper corrosion resistant coating
 
Never, this activity may lose your participation and may be debarred from the PT round.
 
Never send PT sample to another laboratory. It is always advised to read the instruction sheet before conducting testing of PT sample.
 
PT records must be reviewed and all clerical error must be sorted. PT results must compared with the another laboratory performance. One must take remedial measure and keep documenting for action. Laboratory may participate in the same or similar program for rectify the error.
 
It means that failure to attain the satisfactory Z score in accredited PTS. When the Z score is more than 3, it is considered unsatisfactory as per ISO17043 -2010 and NABL criterion.
 
 
 
 
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