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Public Affairs Office title

U.S. Army Soldier & Biological Chemical Command
U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Kansas Street
Natick, MA 01760-5012

Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
(508) 233-5340
amssb-opa@natick.army.mil

Date: December 16, 2002
No: 02-58

SSC's textile lab ISO approved

NATICK, Mass. -- The U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center's Textile Performance Testing Facility has achieved an elite status from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

In a ceremony at the facility Nov. 27, plaques were presented by a representative of National Quality Assurance, an ISO accreditation body, for meeting ISO 9001:2000 for Quality Management Systems Requirements and ISO 17025:1999 General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

"This recognition says we're a premiere textile testing facility in the industry," said Vasant Devarakonda, Technical Support Services Team leader in the Individual Protection Directorate.

Among the attendees at the ceremony were Brig. Gen. Craig Peterson, deputy commanding general for Homeland Operations; Philip Brandler, director of the Natick Soldier Center and Robert Kinney, director of the Individual Protection Directorate. ISO has members from more than 150 countries.

The facility's core team of Nancy Hibbert, Melanie King, Susan Kuriothowski, Luisa Santos and Judy Sewell spent 15 months developing and implementing a quality management system, including all documentation required by the ISO standards that focus on meeting customer requirements and enhancing customer satisfaction.

The Textile Performance Testing Facility's primary mission is to provide its customers with a full range of standard testing methodology to evaluate the properties of textile materials, such as tensile strength, abrasion resistance, water repellency and color fastness, in the development of military clothing and support items. Organizations outside the military and government are also customers.

"This recognition means that we continue to provide accurate, reliable information for anyone interested in the properties of textile materials," Devarakonda said.

"The ISO process offers us an opportunity to clearly and concisely define our quality policy and objectives with a focus to consistently meet our customers needs," Santos said, who along with Kuriothowski, was responsible for the documentation and the implementation of the quality management system.

In order to acquire the certification, the laboratory had to pass a two-day documentation review and a three-day full assessment audit. To achieve ISO 17025:1999 accreditation, the registrar observed the textile technologists conduct every test method in the scope. A total of 53 test methods are accredited.

To maintain its certification, the laboratory must pass surveillance audits twice annually to ensure it continues to meet the ISO standards, Devarakonda said.

The Soldier Systems Center is part of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM). Fore more information about SBCCOM or the Center, please visit our website at http://www.sbccom.army.mil.

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