The PACE-PTS facilitates the work of testing laboratories. The participation in round robin testing schemes is mandatory for accredited laboratories accorsing to IS/IEC 17025:2005. The participants get a realistic picture of where they need to improve performance and where they perform well. They also can assess their own performance against an average of their peers.
The results from both PACE-PTS proficiency tests carried out were released as statistics, comparing the results carried out by all participating laboratories. It showed the laboratories that needed improvement in specific fields. The released results gave each participant a chance to review their result anonymously, compare it with the results of other participants and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
It is interesting to note from the outcomes of the program that ambient temperature has significant effect on the results. Codes may need to be revised to account for typical African climatic conditions. It is also noted that lack of equipment is a major factor in some countries. In some cases existing equipment are not sensitive enough for the range of data required. The problems can only be addressed if they are first identified. Identification of the problems is an objective of the cement testing proficiency program.
The proficiency testing scheme provided a clear picture about the level of equipment for the testing. Some participating laboratories did not provide ideally equipped laboratories, but the proficiency scheme’s results can clearly identify this. This is also a strong tool for laboratories to raise funds for enhanced performances, and some participating laboratories reported that the participation helped them to purchase improved equipment. Still the observations indicate that lack of funds for equipment is one of the main obstacles to better quality and product safety.
Table showing that for most participating laboratories an enormous improvement potential can be found on the equipment side.
|Percentage of laboratories|
|in which all 17 tests were conducted .||15%||18%|
|where some eqipment does not fully comply with the specified standards.||40%||57%|
|where all tests were conducted entirely and all tests were fully complying with the specified standards||10%||7%|