Internal calibrations - Part of an ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratory (Automotive)

#1
Hi all.
Looking for some enlightening.
I'm working for a automotive giant in a testing lab as a quality engineer.
This lab provides testing for the plant. To be more precise, we are simulating real life conditions for different car parts. The lab is 17025 accredited with a declared scope of Testing, by the national accreditation organization. As you all may know, as an accredited lab you have to use traceable measuring instruments.
In a continuous search for optimization and cost efficiency I was thing that we might be able to perform some calibrations internally. Now comes the interesting part. We are already performing those type of calibrations, with traceable reference standards, working procedure and uncertainty calculation, all of this not as a official calibration, more as intermediate check in-between third-party calibrations.
Our national accreditation institution states that we have to acreditate separtly in order to able perform those calibrations. But I have different opinion on that.
Since we have already all of the procedures and experience and we already have those audits each year, why we can not incorporate the calibrations in our base qms? Of course with all special requirements:
Working procedure
Qulified personnel
Measurent uncertainty budget
Use of traceable working standards.
Audits on techinal part
Interlabs
Etc.
Dose anybody here have any kind of experience on this subject? Or even a hint.

Thank you all!
 
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dwperron

Trusted Information Resource
#2
This used to be an easier question to answer.

In 17025:2005 it is crystal clear:
"5.4.6.1 A calibration laboratory, or a testing laboratory performing its own calibrations, shall have and
shall apply a procedure to estimate the uncertainty of measurement for all calibrations and types of
calibrations."
So it was obvious that a testing lab was allowed to calibrate their own equipment. Of course, it would be necessary to meet all of the requirements mandated for a 17025 calibration laboratory. It's just that calibration would not be part of your accreditation, and you thus could not calibrate for an outside party.

In 17025:2017 it gets a bit murky:

"7.6.2 A laboratory performing calibrations, including of its own equipment, shall evaluate the
measurement uncertainty for all calibrations."
Unfortunately, this verbiage is not as clear regarding a testing lab performing its own calibrations, but the intent is still there. After all, why would they mention "including of it own equipment" if they we only referring to calibration laboratories?

So I would agree with your position.
Good luck!
 
#3
This used to be an easier question to answer.

In 17025:2005 it is crystal clear:
"5.4.6.1 A calibration laboratory, or a testing laboratory performing its own calibrations, shall have and
shall apply a procedure to estimate the uncertainty of measurement for all calibrations and types of
calibrations."
So it was obvious that a testing lab was allowed to calibrate their own equipment. Of course, it would be necessary to meet all of the requirements mandated for a 17025 calibration laboratory. It's just that calibration would not be part of your accreditation, and you thus could not calibrate for an outside party.

In 17025:2017 it gets a bit murky:

"7.6.2 A laboratory performing calibrations, including of its own equipment, shall evaluate the
measurement uncertainty for all calibrations."
Unfortunately, this verbiage is not as clear regarding a testing lab performing its own calibrations, but the intent is still there. After all, why would they mention "including of it own equipment" if they we only referring to calibration laboratories?

So I would agree with your position.
Good luck!
Thank you so much. That is very encouraging. I mean, we acknowledge that we have to be evaluated for this part to. But why the need for a separate accreditation? From my perspective this is a birocratic thing.
Do you have a any references from other accreditation institutions that are addressing this issue?
 

dwperron

Trusted Information Resource
#4
The folks at Eurolab say "This clause has remained almost unchanged "
https://www.aphl.org/programs/food_...ments/EUROLAB Handbook ISO IEC 17025 2017.pdf

Canadian Association For Laboratory Accreditation Inc. (CALA) , an organization that accredits testing, not calibration, labs says:
"7.6.2 Internal Calibrations If a laboratory performs internal calibrations on its balances, thermometers and pipettes, it must have a documented procedure that includes the estimation of uncertainty and it must use staff that is appropriately trained. CALA reserves the right to include a calibration expert on assessment teams to laboratories doing their own calibrations. "
https://cala.ca/wp-content/uploads/P07-CALA_Application-2017.pdf
So they speak about testing labs doing their own calibrations.

UKAS states:
"•7.6.2 requires evaluation of measurement uncertainty for all calibrations, including those a laboratory performs on its own equipment (i.e. “in-house” calibrations)"
https://www.ukas.com/download/publi...ditation/ISO-IEC-17025-2017-Presentation.pptx
 
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