First accredited testing laboratory for balancing equipment worldwide
Darmstadt, March 2015 – Backed by expertise that is unrivaled worldwide, the test laboratory for balancing equipment (PFA, Prüflabor für Auswuchttechnik) of Schenck RoTec certifies balancing and overspeed systems along with the associated working standards. The PFA in Darmstadt, Germany, is the first laboratory to implement the tightened specifications for testing and calibration laboratories and has thus been accredited in accordance with the DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 standards. Michael Bassmann, the head of the testing laboratory, explains in an interview what benefits users and service providers will gain through vendor-neutral certification of their measuring and test equipment.
Why are these tests so important?
Balancing equipment and overspeed systems are not production equipment; they are high-precision measuring systems whose capability to provide accurate measurements must be checked at regular intervals. This is also stated in the ISO 9001 standard, which represents the basis of the Quality Management System for most companies. Only equipment that has been tested with reference to national and international measuring standards can produce verifiable results that ensure product quality and competitiveness. Companies validate their balancing processes through certification by our test laboratory on a regular basis, and this benefits them in many ways – for example, it provides them with certainty for their audits, there are fewer rejects, and it can even help them avoid product recalls.
What does such a procedure look like?
The technological centerpiece of the test laboratory is a specially developed, extremely accurate reference rotor. Used in combination with a high-precision reference machine, it serves as the reference standard for taking measurements of the parameter of unbalance. The “truth is passed on” via transfer standards, and this allows us to carry out qualified testing of measuring systems in balancing equipment. After testing, we issue certificates that conform to the highest standards.
You also provide certification for working standards. What does this mean?
This refers to special test rotors or perfect examples of production parts, such as a crankshaft, which in production are routinely used to set up machinery. It is only with testing tools such as this that balancing equipment can be checked for conformance with the applicable standards. The working standards must also be checked at regular intervals to ensure that measurements can continue to be relied on.
What makes the Schenck RoTec test laboratory so special?
The capabilities of our PFA accredited according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 cover the parameters geometry, mass, unbalance, rotational speed and vibration velocity – this goes way beyond the usual spectrum of testing available. Germany’s national accreditation body (DAkks) has officially recognized our methodology. This makes Schenck RoTec the only authorized service provider whose test reports covering the combination of these parameters are internationally valid, vendor-neutral and traceable.
You offer various levels of services. What are they, and how do they differ?
Our customer can choose from the three quality grades Basic, Master and Reference. They differ in terms of their metrological depth and the scope of the documentation. At the highest performance level, Reference, the user is issued with a standard-compliant test certificate which states the specific measurement uncertainty, detailed documentation, and the certainty that the customer’s standards or machines – irrespective of the producer in question – have been tested in accordance with the greatest precision available at present.