I am often asked if all calibrations, standardizations, checks and maintenance equipment procedures (EPs) for major pieces are neatly organized and up-to-date in the R18LabQMS application? Well, unfortunately, they’re not.
With equipment related to 250+ individual tests in nine categories for Construction Material Laboratories (CML) that follow ASTM and AASHTO standards where potential changes are made on an annual basis, it would be an enormous task to maintain and update that number of equipment procedures. That being the case, we have left it up to the individual lab to create and maintain their procedures and the content therein.
Each lab is unique
Some laboratories have almost 100 percent of their EPs performed by an outside service, while other laboratories perform in-house procedures whenever possible. Either way, it’s fair to say nearly all laboratories create in-house procedures and that the process will vary from lab to lab, even within larger companies.
Type of equipment procedures
Procedure types are categorized by calibration, standardization, check and maintenance procedures, and the type of procedures for specific pieces of equipment can be found in AASHTO R18, Annex A, tables A.1 – A.9. It’s important to observe that outside services will note on the service/calibration report ‘calibration’ and not take into consideration the specific type of procedure. A good example would be calibration versus standardization.
For laboratories performing in-house procedures, it’s important to clearly define the type of procedure as defined in the AASHTO R18 Standard, Annex A.
When documenting a permanent record, there are specific requirements and information to be included on all equipment procedure forms that can be found in AASHTO R18 sections: 6.3 Procedures for Individual pieces of equipment, 6.4 Equipment Intervals, and 6.5, Equipment Records.
Frequently overlooked requirements for in-house equipment procedures are: providing the purpose, reference equipment required, tolerance, and providing written procedures. For outside services, this should be noted on the final procedure form.
Annual procedure review
It’s important to review both AASHTO and ASTM for possible changes related to equipment procedure documentation.
Using R18LabQMS as an example, when EPs are created within the application and the same EP is attached to multiple pieces of equipment and edits are made, all attached EPs are updated.
Creating and managing procedures
In our next blog entry, we will go into detail on the process of creating procedures and their related forms and attaching in-house templates within R18LabQMS that may be currently used by your laboratory.
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Q: Can I include ASTM quality standards to the R18labQMS application or would I need to maintain separate records outside of the application?
A: Great question! Yes, you can now add ASTM quality standards that act as a stand-alone quality manual. This upgrade was part of version V2.5 launched February 2023 and detailed in our blog post entitled Version 2.5 ASTM Quality Standards launch date.
Content for our R18LabQMS Users:
Passwords should be 8-70 characters with upper- and lower-case letters and numbers.
Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application.
Training – onboarding process
Getting started with R18LabQMS and what we provide regarding training, both virtual and onsite. Getting started happens within the setup process, it’s intuitive and follows the sections that require procedures within the management and technical sections. Each section number within the setup process corresponds to AASHTO R18. You can either enter your procedure Itself for each section or upload a file with the details of the procedure. I always tell labs during a demo it’s much like a ‘Turbo Tax’ experience, it walks you through each step.
Once you have completed the setup process, or wish to move on to the dashboard view, just click save progress and exit setup in the upper right-hand corner. It’s straightforward and intuitive.
Upon exiting the setup process, there will be a dialog box that pops up asking you if you would like to add additional ASTM quality standards, and their sub-standards, i.e. D3666 (aggregate).
Additional training needed to jump-start the onboarding process:
We target a specific area for training and limit the time to one hour. An example would be adding Equipment Procedures to your Equipment. There is no charge for virtual training limited to 1 hour.
We spend one day in your laboratory to review all aspects of your Quality Manual and take a deep dive into R18labQMS implementation. This training is fee-based, please inquire.
Upcoming meetings and sponsorships
San Diego, CA, September 12-15, 2023
AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast with Brian Johnson & Kimberly Swanson
Gary Irvine, from the Asphalt Institute, joins us to discuss the benefits of moving from a paper QMS to a digital system.
Please check out our most recent promotional R18LabQMS video.
For all questions regarding your quality management system, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your laboratory.
One last favor to ask, if there is a specific topic of discussion you would like to see in upcoming posts, please send us a note!
R18LabQMS Program Manager