At the last technology evening hosted by Comtest, Steve Sidney, director and honorary treasurer of The National Laboratory Association (NLA), gave a presentation on the role of the technical infrastructure organisations in South Africa.
Cheryl Hird (right) thanks Steve Sidney after the presentation.
Globalisation is increasing the demands on countries to demonstrate that they have the quality system to guarantee that products originating within are safe and ‘fit for purpose’. The quality infrastructure system allows countries to set standards, and test against them to determine whether products or services are fit for their intended purpose. In South Africa, we refer to the quality system as the Technical Infrastructure which includes:
• Measurement traceability.
• Technical barriers to trade.
The NLA is the representative body that evolved from the previous National Laboratory Accreditation service, after overall responsibility for accreditation was assumed by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) during 1998.
The NLA looks after the interests of the large number of laboratories in South Africa. This includes measuring, testing, calibration and verification, as well as laboratories which operate in well-defined areas of R&D in the natural and applied sciences.
We are all affected by technical infrastructure and it is important in our daily lives in areas such as trade, automation and instrumentation, medical devices, safety and environmental protection. Other topics covered by Steve included:
• Physical standards.
• Traceability (Metrology).
• Paper standards.
• Assurance of quality.
• Regional cooperation bodies.
The branch thanks Steve for this informative presentation.
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