USM Philippine Rubber Testing Center (USM-PRTC) was one of the Philippine representatives during the first meeting of the ASEAN Rubber Testing Laboratories Committee (ARTLC) held on September 4, 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Together with Task Force on Rubber-Based Products (TFRBP), ARTLC is a sub-committee of ASEAN Consultative Committee for Standards and Quality – Rubber Based Product Working Group (ACCSQ-RBPWG), which provides support of national rubber testing laboratories of ASEAN Member States (AMS) and promotes laboratory conformity on international standards.
The meeting was intended for the establishment of ASEAN Rubber Laboratory Network (ARLN) under the supervision of the ARTLC.
The meeting started with the appointment of Dr. Krisda Sucheva (Thailand) and Dr. Faridah Hanim Ab Hanan (Malaysia) as Chairman and Vice-chairman of ARTLC, respectively. Representatives from the ten (10) different AMS were introduced to formally open the meeting.
Mr. Frederick John Navarro, together with the representatives of Regional Services and Testing Laboratories R12 – Department of Science and Technology (RSTL9-DOST) and Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI-DOST), presented the status of rubber testing laboratories in the Philippines, where a total of nine (9) testing laboratories – six (6) from the government and three (3) from the private sector serves as testing laboratories for raw natural rubber and rubber products.
Five (5) of the reported laboratories obtained ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accreditation. During the meeting, the members agreed that laboratories should have uniform standards for testing harmonized to ISO. The members proposed the formation of different laboratory networks based on natural, synthetic, and masterbatch, which will evaluate/ consolidate the performances of AMS laboratories for each network.
The committee also identified topics for capacity building like ISO 17043 (General Requirements for Proficiency Testing), writeshop of quality documents, risk assessment/ management, and statistical analysis/ interpretation of data from proficiency results. The meeting ended with the presentation of the three-year work program of ARTLC.
The chairman reported the discussed issues, concerns and proposals on the 29th Meeting of the ACCSQ-RBPWG of the following day. The proceedings were endorsed for adoption as part of ASEAN master plan.