When you need surgery, your first priority is usually to find the best of the best: a surgeon with a solid track record, great word-of-mouth, and — perhaps most importantly — a valid medical license. Someone making a sizable investment in a fleet of construction machines wants the exact same measures of quality. Caterpillar is a name synonymous with “quality,” and that quality is set, in part, by the company’s worldwide testing and calibration labs, which ensure that Cat® products perform with excellence in the field. A number of these Caterpillar labs recently received accreditation based on International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.
ISO standard 17025 sets the requirements for the competence of testing and calibration labs, so accreditation confirms that the labs’ people and processes are of the highest quality. For the past 1.5 years, Global Product Validation (GPV) teams in the Product Development & Global Technology division have been laying the groundwork for this official accreditation, and their work has paid off. As of mid-March, all applicable GPV testing and calibration facilities received ISO 17025 accreditation:
- Three engine development labs — Global Engine Development-North America, United Kingdom and China
- Two proving grounds — Peoria Proving Ground and Tucson Proving Ground
- Powertrain and Hydraulic Systems Development Lab
- Structures Dynamics & Noise Control Testing Lab
- Manufacturing Technology Metrology Lab
This accreditation enhances the commercial viability of Cat products because of increasingly stringent requirements worldwide for products to be validated by competent labs. For example, some European countries require labs that perform a specific emissions test to be accredited; without this accreditation, Caterpillar couldn’t sell certain products in those countries. (Caterpillar now has one of only two labs in the entire United States accredited to perform that specific emissions test.)
Quality has always been a driving force at Caterpillar, which has its own system for ensuring that its products and processes are sound.
“The Quality Management System drives common processes and a common platform for achieving the quality products our customers demand,” said Global Validation Director Jim Blass, “but this ISO accreditation takes that one step farther and is an important accomplishment for our organization. It provides external recognition of our world-class quality, offering our customers proof of our competence in product validation.”