Growth in SATRA China testing
Describing recent changes at the Dongguan facility.
SATRA has been present in China since 2004. At that time, many Western brand owners were establishing a supply base in the Pearl River Delta region, which was where some of the first ‘Special Economic Zones’ were established to attract foreign investment to China.
At that time, SATRA decided to support its members by setting up a representative office in Dongguan – a rapidly expanding footwear hub – to act as a conduit for the flow of information between SATRA headquarters in Kettering, UK and member sourcing offices in China, as well as to provide a place to receive samples being sent back to the UK for testing.
By 2011, it was becoming evident that the demand for testing was increasing. The decision was therefore taken to establish a laboratory to provide a local testing service and to reduce the volume of samples being sent back to UK for testing. The following year, SATRA established a ‘wholly-owned foreign enterprise’ (WOFE) close to the site of the original representative office in the centre of Dongguan. The new offices housed a fully equipped safety footwear testing laboratory. Safety footwear was tested to internationally recognised standards such as EN ISO, ASTM, CSA and ANSI, and limited glove testing was also offered to EN 388 and EN 420 standards. The laboratory included a climate-controlled section for sample conditioning and for any testing requiring a controlled atmosphere of 23°C/50 per cent relative humidity (RH).
The decision was taken in 2016 to also offer SATRA members a testing service for men’s, women’s and children’s general footwear. At this point – with a large investment in new test equipment – around 45 general footwear tests using SATRA test methods were added to the scope of the laboratory. Also in 2016, the China laboratory applied for United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation, which was granted in October 2016 after a satisfactory audit.
Following the introduction of the new tests, the SATRA laboratory has been experiencing growth of around 50 per cent per year, requiring the appointment of new laboratory personnel to cope with the demand for testing and technical support. Many customers use SATRA’s testing service for safety footwear and gloves in support of applications for CE certification for products destined for the European market. SATRA has two European Notified Bodies licensed to issue CE certificates from offices in the UK and Ireland.
The Dongguan laboratory offers a fast and reliable service in China for most general and safety footwear tests. In addition, there is a free courier service for footwear and personal protective equipment (PPE) samples needing to be sent to SATRA’s UK laboratory for any specialist testing requiring equipment not installed in the Dongguan facility.
How can we help?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on testing at SATRA’s Dongguan laboratory.
This article was originally published on page 6 of the December 2018 issue of SATRA Bulletin.