25 years of SATRA laboratory accreditation
Many companies achieve the high standard of testing in their laboratories required for SATRA accreditation.
by Steve Rose
SATRA's laboratory accreditation service has now been in existence for more than 25 years. Although many of the earliest laboratories to be accredited no longer exist, the number of currently accredited laboratories continues to grow and now exceeds 160 around the world.
Over this time, over 4,000 laboratory technicians have been accredited. This involves witnessing them performing all the test methods for which they are to be accredited. Most technicians have dozens of tests in their accredited scopes. In addition, 12,500 machines in the accredited laboratories have been calibrated over this period. This calibration is repeated on an annual basis if the tests performed on the machines are to remain accredited.
The currently accredited laboratories are listed on our website (www.satra.co.uk). These facilities are shown with their registration numbers, comprising the year of first accreditation, grade of laboratory and the number accredited in that year. Grade 'A' laboratories have fully conditioned environments, whereas grade 'B' laboratories are conditioned for temperature only. This listing includes each laboratory's scope of accredited tests.
Although manufacturing in China is still dominant, some footwear production has migrated to other Asian manufacturing countries, such as Vietnam and Indonesia and also to new sources including Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Bangladesh is also now seen as having potential as a source of economical footwear manufacturing.
However, with labour rates rising in all Asian economies, there are also now moves to try to re-establish manufacturing operations in the West – certainly for footwear styles with lower labour content (see the article 'Will shoemaking return to the West?'). This has resulted in signs of growth in manufacturing in central and South America, particularly in Mexico. Manufacturing potential is also now being considered more seriously in the USA and Europe, where automated manufacturing operations can obviate the need for expensive labour in many shoemaking operations.
|New laboratories accredited or upgraded in 2015|
|adidas group HQ*
Carlington (Cambodia) Co Ltd
Carlington Industries Ltd
Dongguan Yue Sheng*
Ecco Thailand (Shoe Factory)
Five Star Enterprises (DR)
Fujian Huajing Sports Products
Mississippi TanTec Leather
Sung Shin (Shoetown)
YC TEC Vietnam
|*Upgraded to grade 'A' laboratories|
All these factors means that the recent growth of factory testing laboratories has now moved to reflect the change in manufacturing sources. The laboratories receiving accreditation for the first time in 2015 (to both 'A' and 'B' grade levels) or upgrades are shown in the accompanying box.
Our laboratory quality management services include:
- installation of the laboratory quality control systems
- training of personnel in laboratory management
- identification of the tests the laboratory should be carrying out
- the recommended minimum performance levels in these tests
- recommendation of the test machinery required and where it can be obtained
- calibration of the equipment and identification of any repairs or replacements needed
- training of laboratory personnel and assessments of their ability to carry out the tests
- development of a sampling plan to test production materials.
We also offer our 'LabPlus' service which helps companies to develop laboratories – from initial conception to completion with accreditation.
Please note that SATRA does not dictate which test methods are performed, the machinery to be installed or which performance levels are achieved – these are dependent upon customer requirements.
Photograph at top of page shows the ECCO laboratory team.
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This article was originally published on page 14 of the January 2016 issue of SATRA Bulletin.