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We all know that manufacturers issue certificates according to their best knowledge of the product specifications, project requirements, material standards, construction codes, etc. However often they contain errors: declarations are missing, material specifications are wrongly spelled, acceptance criteria are not mentioned.
Why this? The reasons may be multiple: certificates are prepared by simply copy-paste from previous purchase orders, people doing certificates may not have all required technical background experience. Too often we think of the certification work as simple administrative work. It’s not, it actually requires a highly specialist person that knows almost everything about materials and specifications. We developed this little guide to help people avoid the most common mistakes that we face daily.
It is common practice to state that the final product complies with ASME and ASTM requirements. This compliance may be expressed in various form such as:
While generally view this as an accepted normal practice, there are a few caveats:
EN/ASTM dual certification is also a common practice that is widely accepted. This may happen when the material is in compliance with all the requirements (chemical composition and mechanical properties) of both the standards.
This certification usually may be expressed with statements such as:
This practice is not as common as the ASME/ASTM dual certification, but still is frequently used. It’s not a big issue, but the following should be kept in mind when doing it:
In certain occasions, particularly for standard products, the issue of a separate certification for Non Destructive Examinations (NDE) is not required, but a simple statement may be enough. Roughly speaking, NDE indications may have two thresholds:
NDE declaration that are commonly seen in certificates are vague, such as:
These declarations not only lack two important parts of information: test standard and the acceptance criteria, but also don’t provide any clear information about the test result:
As an example, a better statement would be something like: “Magnetic particle test performed according to ASTM E709, with acceptance criteria as per ASME Section VIII Appendix 6. No indication exceeding the acceptance criteria”
Each material specification has its own test requirements. This may be obvious, however we find many mistakes in certificates where the tests are not performed in accordance with the specification. As an example, suppose we are manufacturing a forging made of ASTM A105. It is normal practice for a manufacturer to take test specimens from mid thickness (1/2 T) because it’s the most stringent condition, however if we look at the material specification, it says that “the central axis of the test specimen shall be taken at least 1⁄4 T from the nearest surface as-heat treated”. And the verb used is “shall”. Which means that no exceptions – even if more stringent – are allowed.
While technically it is not a mistake, it should be common practice to include acceptance criteria of tests. If the material is declared to be ASTM A105, we all know what the acceptance criteria are. However, it’s really useful for the reader to have acceptance criteria stated in the certificate, to allow for an easy check of compliance to the requirements.
By the way, are you still doing manual checks of your certificates? Have you ever thought about an automatic and compliant-by-design check of requirements? Browse our website to discover more!
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