Sheffield Assay Office, and its analytical Services division, is celebrating 40 years of continuous UKAS accreditation this year.

The institution gained its ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS, formerly NATLAS and NAMAS) on 10 September 1982 and was the 12th laboratory in the country to do so – giving the institution the number 0012 below its UKAS logo.

The Sheffield Assay Office team celebrated the landmark anniversary with 40 decorated cupcakes.

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Discussing the institution’s feelings about the occasion, a representative said: “We are delighted to have maintained our accreditation for such a long period of time, over which the requirements demanded by the standard have increased vastly.

“This is a testament to the hard work and diligence of the analysts whose knowledge, experience and attention to detail are demonstrated on a daily basis.”

Joining the Sheffield Assay Office in its celebrations, Juliette Love, section head at UKAS, said: “Sheffield Assay Office is to be congratulated, having achieved 40 years of continual accreditation, demonstrating ongoing adherence to the strict requirements of the ISO/IEC 17025 testing standard, and giving people greater confidence in the integrity of precious metals when they see the Sheffield ‘Town’ mark.”

The ISO/IEC 17025 standard confirms that a laboratory is able to provide accurate, verifiable and reproducible test results, giving the customer complete confidence.

The accreditation process relies on a third-party review by UKAS to provide assurance that a laboratory’s quality management system is up to date and demonstrates comprehensive technical competence, involving on-site assessments and proficiency testing schemes.

Examinations of the technical facilities required to produce quality data is also involved, including reviews of appropriate handling and transportation of test items, suitability of test equipment, calibration and maintenance of equipment, the technical ability of analysts, the validity of testing methods, and examination of documents and records.

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