There’s a common principle within the quality assurance world: Trust your processes however always validate results. The importance of this principle recently came into play, when the U.S. Navy discovered that one of their steel castings suppliers had been altering the laboratory results of tensile and impact testing for quite some time. For over 30 years, the director of metallurgy at a steel alloy foundry had falsified test data for tensile and yield strength in addition to the impact resistance and toughness from some of the test specimens. The material went on to be used in products which now have potentially compromised longevity and functionality. In this specific case, the material was used to make hulls for submarines. As a result, the Navy must now increase the monitoring and maintenance of the submarines that were built with this material, which ultimately leads to overall higher costs now and over the lifetime of the products in question.   

The situation outlined here is an all-too-common occurrence in the materials industry. Manufacturers, fabricators and foundries all require raw material or finished components and products, but they don’t always verify that what they are receiving is, in fact, what they ordered and that it meets their required material specifications, tolerances, and product requirements. In best-case scenarios, mistakes could be made by a supplier who possibly shipped the wrong material grade or type. In worst case scenarios, the supplier’s test data results from material certifications could be misleading because tests weren’t conducted on a representative sample of the material or results could be blatantly altered to meet the required material properties in the specification.

Whether your metal suppliers are domestic or international, having an independent third-party laboratory verify the stated properties on a mill certification of your incoming raw material or processed parts is a quick, easy, and cost-effective method of minimizing the risk incurred by your organization, while potentially saving critical time and money in your manufacturing processes. Unverified material can cause a multitude of problems during the machining and fabrication stages. These problems can lead to lost resources and time during processing, and often slow down component production. Even more problematic is not discovering an issue until the finalized components or products reach your end customers or end users, where failures could occur and erode customer confidence in your products.    

Anderson Laboratories, Inc. is here to help your organization avoid being in the Navy’s current situation. We can provide independent laboratory test results, data, certifications, and documentation through our certification with the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation Mutual Recognition Arrangement (ILAC-MRA). Our qualified team regularly tests for a wide range of domestic, international, and third-party specifications and can accurately address your organization’s testing needs promptly. If your products, parts, or material need to meet required chemical composition, material strength, hardness, impact resistance, or corrosion resistance conditions, we can quickly provide the testing results you demand, often with a fast turn around time and even within 24 hours. If you need specialized testing, we can work directly with your organization to design the custom evaluations to get the data you require. Contact our expert team today to see how we can assist in your material verification and save you valuable time and resources now and throughout the lifecycle of your products.

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