Air Liquide laboratories provide quality assurance.
ISO 17025:2005 is an internationally-accepted laboratory Quality Management System (QMS) standard.
Compatible with, but not equivalent to ISO 9001:2000, the accreditation is achieved through Accreditation Registrars such as A2LA, and is used to assess the technical competency of any laboratory that produces testing and calibration results. Management and technical components encompass laboratory activities including: sample preparation, analytical testing proficiency, measurement uncertainty, evidence of traceability, document handling, records keeping and reporting.
ISO/IEC 17025:2005 specifies the general requirements regarding the competence to execute tests and calibrations performed using standard methods, nonstandard methods, and laboratory-developed methods. ISO/IEC 17025 provides laboratories around the world the opportunity to establish and maintain a quality system designed to improve and validate their ability to consistently produce valid results. Compliance with regulatory and safety requirements on the operation of laboratories is not covered by ISO/IEC 17025:2005.
Commitment to quality versus actual value
Consider ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation as a third-party validation of a laboratory’s level of proficiency and commitment to quality. Because this heightens a customer’s confidence in the specialty gases they purchase, in some industries, due to process specifications or other issues, use of 17025 products is mandatory. Few would argue that any measure that increases quality can be anything less than beneficial regardless of application.
However, since most specialty gas suppliers maintain ISO/IEC 17025 certified laboratories, do not be misled into thinking the gases they produce are equal. First, accreditation is often product specific so it may apply to one particular product such as environmental mixtures, but not to other products. Second, while ISO/IEC 17025 seeks to establish a global level of competency in the lab, it does not speak to many other factors that directly affect a company’s ability to manufacture a broad line of well characterized and often unique products that provide better value when compared to similar products.