DECEMBER 2010
                                        

Steel Tube Institute offers structural steel tubing certification program

The Steel Tube Institute of North America (STINA) is establishing a structural steel tubing (HSS) product certification program designed to provide product specifiers and users the assurance that the HSS they’re buying in the United States and Canada is produced to, and has been tested to meet, ASTM standards.

“Right now it’s virtually impossible to track the chain of supply of HSS,” said Bill Wolfe, STINA’s executive director. “It may be produced anywhere in the world, then travel through a series of distribution channels before it reaches the job site. In addition, the documentation and standards have historically been self-certified.”

Wolfe went on to explain the problems this can create. “Recently substandard product was found at job sites, which created a significant concern among specifiers and end users throughout the United States and Canada. The liability of a product like HSS can include the design and engineering firms involved in the project, as well as the fabricators, contractors and project owners. Representatives of each of these groups have expressed concern about substandard products, or products which may not meet the proper quality standards,” he explained.

The STINA product certification program will be administered by Intertek, one of the world’s largest product-testing and certification companies, with more than 26,000 people in 1,000 locations, in over 100 countries around the globe. Intertek has been testing, inspecting and certifying products for more than 100 years.

The HSS product certification program will be governed by a Certification Program Procedural Guide, being developed by STINA’s HSS Committee, with the guidance and support of Intertek.

How the Program Works

Companies who wish to qualify for HSS certification must successfully pass an initial quality control audit by Intertek, who will conduct an engineering evaluation of each of the participating company’s manufacturing locations.

The evaluation will include:

  • A review of the company’s quality control documents,
  • A review of the company’s manufacturing processes, and
  • An engineering evaluation and testing of the products produced, based on a series of specific test standards.

These reviews and evaluations will be used to produce a factory audit manual for the company, which will contain details of the:

  • Company’s production methods,
  • Production testing requirements,
  • Products that have been evaluated
  • Periodic testing that will be required to maintain Product Certification, and
  • Information that will appear on the certificates the company may use.

Once the initial quality control audit is completed and the company has received certification, Intertek will visit each of the company’s facilities twice a year in order to:

  • Review the receiving records of raw coil materials,
  • Review the production processes,
  • Review post production test reports, and
  • Obtain a sample of the tubes being produced, which will be sent to Intertek’s verification center for confirmation testing.