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NIST Traceablity Request

Discussion in 'IATF 16949:2016 - Automotive Quality Systems' started by Kevin Wasilauskis, Sep 9, 2019 at 12:26 PM.

  1. Kevin Wasilauskis

    Kevin Wasilauskis New Member

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    New member here. Thanks for letting me join. I'm preparing for the IATF 16949 audit. I'm just tying up some loose ends when it comes to NIST traceablity. One company calibrated a piece of equipment using a multi-meter. I received a certificate of calibration that stated that their multi-meter was calibrated using methods traceable to NIST standards. I requested the info for the 17025 lab that calibrated the multi-meter. They included a calibration certificate from a company that isn't 17025 certified, however their certificate states that they use methods and standards traceable to NIST. I then requested that company to provide me with their 17025 calibration lab. This is the reply email I received.

    "Kevin,
    The lab we use for out assets is 17025 accredited and all of their calibrations must go back to NIST to meet the requirement of ISO 17025 and they are audited by 3rd parties to get this accreditation. For your audit you should have no issue, you have a certificate that explains that your assets have been certified with standards and measurements that are traceable to NIST.

    If you should have any issues with your Registrar, please advise and they can reach out to our quality manager on any clarity needed. I can't provide you another form of a Certification. If someone wants to look at our assets and then follow the trail all the way back to NIST they can. The is what we express in our certificate as saying that we are NIST traceable."

    Two questions:
    1: Will this be an issue during our audit if the auditor requests proof of having the device calibrated by a 17025 certified lab?
    2: Are companies required to provide full calibration traceability upon request from another company?

    Thank you,
    Kevin
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Kevin:

    Welcome to the QFO. Great question and good to be prepared on this "target rich" topic.

    First things first - labs are "accredited" to ISO/IEC 17025 not certified. It's an important difference.

    What has been provided seems to be fine, IMHO. If an auditor does actually sample this and gets into that level of detail, you have a fall-back position.

    In actual fact, the lab you contracted with should have informed you they were going to outsource the calibration. Did they?
     
  3. Kevin Wasilauskis

    Kevin Wasilauskis New Member

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    Andy,
    Thanks for the quick reply. I did not coordinate the calibration of the device so I was not sure what they discussed with the production engineer as far as calibration equipment. I will try to be more involved when the next calibration cycle comes up. We could possibly even have a NIST traceable multi-meter on hand here that the next calibration technician can use if feasible. I'm fairly new in my role and the scope of responsibility is too broad at times so things like this worry me when the audit is approaching quickly (tomorrow). I seem to be obsessing over the smallest things the month before the audit is due. At least I can focus on other things now. Thank you for the explanation.
     
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  4. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    You are in good hands here and very welcome to share your concerns. We've all "been there, done that."

    As far as preparing for the external audit, since you are new, that really should have triggered an internal audit - the opportunity to show you can demonstrate the QMS parts that you are responsible. The audit would involve you, not that YOU are being audited - there's nothing to fear! It's a dress rehearsal for the external audit. You might wish to check with your Internal Audit process owner what the audit schedule says for auditing the control/calibration of measurement equipment. If it's once a year (like many) then it's not being scheduled correctly (according to ISO 9001, 9.2.2 which requires consideration of changes blah, blah, blah)
     
  5. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    If the lab that did the calibration is accredited, get a copy of their cert. If they are not accredited, you're likely toast. As for how the third party calibrated the labs stuff, not your problem since they have a cert. Good luck.
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Why? It was a contracted lab. for the accredited lab. Indeed, if traceability isn't "required", no toast at all...
     
  7. tony s

    tony s Well-Known Member

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    A CB auditor will, usually, ask for a copy of the external laboratory's accreditation certificate to demonstrate conformity with clause 7.1.5.3.2 which specifies: "the laboratory shall be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 or national equivalent and include the relevant inspection, test, or calibration service in the scope of the accreditation (certificate)..."

    Why can't the laboratory send a copy of their 17025 certificate? You don't need to wait for your CB auditor to talk with the laboratory's quality manager. Auditors will not do it for you. Since you're the customer of the laboratory, you have the leverage to ask for the 17025 certificate.
     
  8. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

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    Read my whole post. The contracted lab isn't the problem so long as the providing lab can show their 17025 cert.
     
  9. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

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    Except if the auditor fully understands how ISO/IEC 17025 works when calibrations/testing is subcontracted...
     

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