Standardizing Better Science

Since 1936, LECO Corporation has been developing and innovating high-quality laboratory equipment used around the world. Our first international office was opened in Germany in 1967, and we have our own on-site Compliance Testing Center in St. Joseph, Michigan, to ensure all global compliance standards are met in our constant commitment to excellence. 

But these buzzwords mean nothing without solid evidence to back them up. At LECO, we pride ourselves on excellence in both product and service, but what does that mean to a laboratory in Australia or a university in Belgium? The international language of standards allows us to communicate our quality in a way any scientist can understand: with proven, reliable, and repeatable results. 

International standards exist to enable an interconnected world. By having standards for the manufacture of airplane parts, for example, people can be assured that a plane made in China meets the same minimum safety requirements as one made in the United States. These standards apply all the way from an entire machine, such as a plane, to a part of that machine, such as the wing flap, to a material of that part, such as the aluminum used in the manufacturing. By creating and adhering to standards, a global confidence is built. 

A History with ASTM

LECO has been involved with ASTM International for over 30 years, with employees serving on committees ranging from cement (C01), to nuclear fuel cycle (C26), to additive manufacturing technologies (F42), to mechanical testing (E28), and more. As with our instruments, we work with ASTM to both push our analytical abilities forward with new methods and rework old methods to keep them up to date with current and cutting-edge technology. 

We consider being part of the standards-development process a critical responsibility for us as manufacturers and users of laboratory equipment. Across the world, ASTM International standards are viewed as the best way to run an effective and trusted laboratory. Ensuring those standards work with our equipment 

and are easy to understand means that our instruments become trusted for their compliance with the standards. Participating in that development allows us to become experts on the standards. We know them inside and out, and we can communicate with our customers with more than a simple “We comply with ASTM standards.” By participating in the development and writing of the standards, LECO can have an educated dialogue with our customers to explain the importance of the standards, the meaning of the nuances in the standards, and how our instruments can be trusted to provide the reliable results their laboratories can have confidence in. 

Continuity and Compliance

Adhering to ASTM International standards allows easier troubleshooting when something goes wrong. LECO makes a point of developing standards that will eliminate variability and interpretation bias. This means that lab users around the world have the confidence that they are following the exact same steps in the exact same way as everyone else adhering to ASTM standards. There is a continuity of testing from site to site and lab to lab. When a question or concern arises, we are able to eliminate the lab itself and its processes as variables to help pinpoint the cause of the differences. 

At LECO, we live by the methods we help develop. All of our laboratories use ASTM Proficiency Testing Programs to monitor our own compliance with the standardized methods and find areas where we can continue to improve. The methods we develop and share with our customers are ASTM-compliant and the same ones we use ourselves, so our customers can trust that the results we demonstrate for them are the exact same results they themselves will be able to achieve in their own labs, as though our experts were standing at their sides. 

In addition to the corporate benefits of working with ASTM, our members have also expressed immeasurable personal benefits. No one succeeds in a vacuum, and every person working on ASTM committees is an expert in his or her field. By working to develop standards in a committee with competitors, producers, manufacturers, and users, real friendships form. Ideas are exchanged and expanded, and the trust built allows a global scientific knowledge to continually grow. Our experts become better experts for having the interactions and engagement with ASTM International committees and members. 

By interacting outside of our LECO bubble, we are able to bring the world in. Working with ASTM, learning from other experts, and understanding the standards inside and out allows us to understand our customers’ needs and communicate with them in a language of standards that everyone can understand and trust. ■

Company Snapshot 

  • LECO Corporation, St. Joseph, Michigan 
  • Since 1936, millions of samples worldwide have been analyzed using LECO instruments for elemental analysis, thermal analysis, metallography, and mass spectrometry. Our comprehensive solutions for improving productivity include working with you to find the right equipment for the type of analysis you are doing — and providing you with the training, application support, and service you need to keep your lab running at its best. 
  • Number of staff: 715 (U.S.) 
  • Number of staff who are ASTM members: 5-10 
  • Trading area: Global 
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