ASTM's Proficiency Test Program focuses on the determination of melt index, density, ash, and color of polyethylene materials. It provide participating laboratories with a statistical quality assurance (SQA) tool, enabling labs to compare, improve, and maintain their performance in the use of ASTM methods against other labs worldwide.
Conducted biannually, this program provides (for each test cycle) four test samples, forms to record test data, and instructions for conducting the tests. Laboratories are instructed to conduct the tests in their facilities using the ASTM methods cited in the program and to record their test results on the electronic data forms.
Each laboratory submits completed test data to ASTM for use in generating statistical summary reports. ASTM handles all data on a strictly confidential basis with no disclosure of lab identity except for one's own laboratory. Final reports contain all laboratory test data (coded), statistical analysis of test data, charts plotting test results versus lab code and other information.
The program includes lab participation worldwide, with over 130 labs participating in the 2012 program.
Samples, test instructions and data report forms are distributed electronically to each participant on the date samples are distributed. Labs have approximately 8 weeks to submit test data with the final statistical summary reports being electronically distributed in approximately 25 days.
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