How do you judge quality? When it comes to judging quality with geosynthetic products, which are often vital to meeting critical design requirements, there is no room for error. Trusting your senses or what the manufacturer tells you is simply not enough.
The Geosynthetic Accreditation Institute-Laboratory Accreditation Program (GAI-LAP) was created to actively promote the appropriate testing across a wide spectrum of test laboratories, from manufacturers to third parties. Learn more about the history behind GAI-LAP, what it means to earn certification from the accreditation program, the significance of testing and test methods, and how labs at AGRU America implements manufacturing quality control.
GAI-LAP, a response to demand for geosynthetic standards
GAI-LAP was born from numerous requests to accredit the operations of testing laboratories within the geosynthetic community. This program has monitored the testing capabilities of numerous geosynthetic laboratories for over 20 years with the overall goal to accredit labs that are performing consensus standardized test methods. It’s important to note that GAI-LAP accreditation means that the lab meets standards ranging from equipment, documentation, and testing protocol, but not individual test results. This distinction is important, because third-party testing and data confirmation is an important step in quality control in most industries and in basic science.
The first accreditation request was sent by state and regional Environmental Protection Agency regulators, during a series of courses taught nationally in 1989 (on liner systems) and again in 1990 (on cover systems). It didn’t take long for organizations to see the value in GAI-LAP.
Credibility and meeting international standards with GAI-LAP
GAI-accreditation programs are framed around two internationally known standards: ISO 9000 and ISO Guide 25. By modeling after international standards, GAI-LAP is able to bring tried and tested methods to bear for the geosynthetic testing community, creating hybrid programs as needed. The latest version of the program is modeled after ISO 17025, “General Requirements for Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories,” which is the second generation of ISO Guide 25. By its basis in this international standard, GAI-LAP and other accreditation programs form cooperative agreements in an effort toward harmonization.
GAI-LAP lends credibility to laboratories that are properly equipped and are prepared to perform the accredited tests. Additionally, by requiring labs to prepare and stay current with support documentation for testing, labs are motivated to stay current—improving the overall quality across the industry. The required documentation includes a quality manual, test-specific standard operating procedures, test reports, project file, equipment files, and corrective action records.
Manufacturing quality control
Choosing a manufacturer with capacity to perform accredited tests is an essential step toward identifying the products that meet your project’s requirements. The process of testing gives assurance that the material tested is in compliance with the specification. With AGRU America, you will have all the information you need to make an informed decision during the final product selection phase. AGRU provides drop-in specification sheets, robust GAI-LAP accredited quality control procedures, and a rich history of successful project outcomes.
See Table 1 if you are curious about the accredited test methods used by AGRU America test lab for manufacturing quality control. Interested in learning more about our products and testing procedures? Reach out to an AGRU representative today.
Table 1. List of Accredited Test Methods at AGRU America Labs as of 2017 (from reference 2).
*A, Andrews, South Carolina AGRU Lab; G, Georgetown, South Carolina AGRU lab; F, Fernley, Nevada AGRU lab
|ASTM D792||Specific Gravity||F, G|
|ASTM D1004||90-degree Tear||F, G|
|ASTM D1204||Dimensional Change||F, G|
|ASTM D1238||Melt Flow Index||F, G|
|ASTM D1693||S. C. Bent Strip||G|
|ASTM D3786||Hydraulic Burst Strength||A|
|ASTM D3895||OIT by Standard DSC||F, G|
|ASTM D4218||C. B. Content (Muffle)||F, G|
|ASTM D4491||Geotextile Permeability||A|
|ASTM D4533||Index Tearing Strength||A|
|ASTM D4632||Breaking Load and Elongation||A|
|ASTM D4751||Apparent Opening Size||A|
|ASTM D4833||Index Puncture||A, F, G|
|ASTM D5035||Textile Strip||G|
|ASTM D5199||Thickness||A, F, G|
|ASTM D5261||GT Mass/Unit Area||A, G|
|ASTM D5397||NCTL Str. Check||F, G|
|ASTM D5596||C. B. Dispersion Microtome||F, G|
|ASTM D5887||Index Flux||G|
|ASTM D5890||Swell Index||G|
|ASTM D5891||Fluid Loss||G|
|ASTM D5993||Mass Per Unit Area||G|
|ASTM D5994||T-GM Core Thickness||F, G|
|ASTM D6241||Static Puncture Strength||A|
|ASTM D6364||Short-Term Compression||G|
|ASTM D6496||Bonding Peel Strength||G|
|ASTM D6693||PO Tensile||F, G|
|ASTM D6768||GCL Tensile Strength||G|
|ASTM D7005||GC Ply Adhesion||G|
|ASTM D7179||GN Breaking Force||G|
|ASTM D7466||Asperity Height||F, G|
|FTM 101C||GM Puncture (2065)||F, G|
- R. Koerner, Y. G. Hsuan, and R. M. Koerner, “GRI White Paper #7 on Geosynthetic Accreditation Institute-Laboratory Accreditation Program (GAI-LAP).” Geosynthetic Institute. (2006). Accessed online November 8, 2017. http://www.geosynthetic-institute.org/papers/paper7.pdf.
- List of Accredited Labs. Accessed November 08, 2017. http://www.geosynthetic-institute.org/gai/lab.htm.