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ISO 17025:2017 Uninterrupted chain of traceability for test laboratories

Gus

Starting to get Involved
#1
Hey there,

I just got a finding at our last accreditation Audit and im having a hard time trying to understand just how else to cover this requirement:

the translated finding is as follows: " The lab has procedures and policies that indicate that its results are traceable to the SI, however presented evidence does not clearly show how to mantain the uninterrupted chain of traceability. The laboratory makes use of Accredited Calibration laboratories with traceability to national standards"
now, the auditors kept a very professional standpoint on this , in a sense that they wouldnt even give me so much as a hint on how to fix it, they just kept on repeating the same dang thing over and over in different ways

i have evaluated uncertainty for my test method, taking into account every single magnitude, every single measurement device is calibrated and provided with a traceability chart, what i understood from the auditors was somewhere between, making a tracebility chart for our test method and adding some sort of sentence in the reports where we state that personel is qualified and equipment has traceabilty to national standards.

im have asked the certifying body to help clear this up but they are slow to react, i need to start taking corrective actions on this asap.
 
Last edited:

Benjamin Weber

Involved In Discussions
#2
The way you described the situation, I cannot (like you) really understand what the nonconformity is about.

Could you maybe add some more information about the particular test method that raised the nonconformity?

- What is the measurand (a length, a voltage, a chemical concentration, a material property...)?
- What measurement equipment is used for that? Only one (e.g. a caliper to determine length), or mutliple and you somehow combine the single results (e.g. you measure a distance and the time and combine that to s velocity)?
- Do you have particular specifications for the measurands that have to be calibrated? Or do just send the equipment to the calibration lab and hope that they will cailbrate the correct measurands appliying the correct measurement ranges and reference values?

Maybe this helps to see what the problem might be.
 

Gus

Starting to get Involved
#3
the measurand is efficiency of an electric motor,

A set o f various different types of equipment is used, measuring force, speed, temperature and electrical magnitudes

as for particular specs... the standard itself only gives requirements for an allowable "error" for each type of equipment (used to be uncertainty but they updated the standard to make it "error" instead), when it comes to range, we specify range for temperature for example (makes no sense doing more than 200°C on calibration for thermocouples since we will never measure more than that), for torque-meters we specify only clockwise calibration, etc., don't know if this answers your question
 
#4
Here is the line that troubles me:
"The laboratory makes use of Accredited Calibration laboratories with traceability to national standards"

If your accredited standards are calibrated through accredited standards then it is assumed that you have demonstrated traceability as long as you are employing the calibration uncertainties in your budgets.

I would be questioning the assessor as to what he felt was lacking in your traceability - they are supposed to provide objective evidence of the discrepancy and "evidence does not clearly show how to mantain the uninterrupted chain of traceability" doesn't do that. He needs to give example(s) of the non-conformance.
 

Gus

Starting to get Involved
#5
Yeah, i have already escalated the question with the accreditation body, they came back with "this is a finding on your management system procedure Nr "X" numeral 5.5 as stated on the finding"... to which i replied...here'a signed copy of procedure "X" it clearly goes up to numeral 5.2 only... so im expecting a dismissal of sorts,

thanks for the help!,
 
#6
Yeah, i have already escalated the question with the accreditation body, they came back with "this is a finding on your management system procedure Nr "X" numeral 5.5 as stated on the finding"... to which i replied...here'a signed copy of procedure "X" it clearly goes up to numeral 5.2 only... so im expecting a dismissal of sorts,

thanks for the help!,

Now I am totally bamboozled!
What the $#@% does any of that have to do with an uninterrupted chain of traceability???

Or did they mean chain of custody?
 

Gus

Starting to get Involved
#7
Now I am totally bamboozled!
What the $#@% does any of that have to do with an uninterrupted chain of traceability???

Or did they mean chain of custody?
according to them , my own management system "shot myself in the foot", they claim that my management system states that i have made the commitment to demonstrate how to maintain an uninterrupted chain of traceability", but the numeral they are specifying for procedure "X" doesnt even exist. hell, that procedure doesn't even mention the word "chain" or "traceability" its the procedure for the test method calculation of uncertainty.
 
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