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Collaborative Testing Services, Inc.   anniversary

P.O. Box 650820, Sterling, VA, USA 20165-0820  1-571-434-1925

Fasteners & Metals

When you have production schedules to meet and quality standards to maintain, you can't afford any unnecessary distractions. The CTS Fasteners & Metals Program helps you quickly and reliably monitor your lab's performance so that you can stay focused on your business. Raw material manufacturers, product manufacturers, fastener manufacturers, and independent testing labs can test with confidence and know how their performance compares to other labs around the world.
There are many reasons why the CTS program has developed into the worlds premier interlaboratory program in the field. Participation brings advantages that cannot be matched by any other provider: reports that are focused on just your laboratory, dynamic eServices, samples that are retained by your lab and not returned to the provider, dependable analysis techniques, large group statistics, and the most complete scope of testing. Join the hundreds of laboratories worldwide who participate in the program and learn exactly how well your lab stacks up.

A complete list of tests is shown on the Program Schedule panel below (see tests conducted by quarter chart). 

Dimensional Tests

This is one of the more unique testing areas in CTS' repertoire. Instead of the consensus values that we use in most of our other tests, we use certified reference values and uncertainties in the Dimensional tests to help you assess your measurement accuracy.

Fasteners Tests

Established in 1990, this is the only fastener testing program of its kind: large-scale, on-going, and open to all participants. CTS provides the fastener industry with unbiased analyses of its measurement capabilities.

Chemical Tests

CTS offers six distinct Chemical Analysis tests. Samples (two per test) are distributed in solid disc form. Note that Nickel-Based, Copper-Based and Titanium Alloy tests occur once per year. Laboratories may perform wet or instrumental analysis. Refer to each test description for a list of commonly tested elements.

Hardness Tests

Each CTS hardness test includes TWO blocks that have been pre-tested for homogeneity and are ready to test. The participants keep the blocks upon completion of testing to use as future reference samples or in training exercises.

Impact Tests

You need an Impact Test to determine the toughness of a material, and you need CTS to make finding a proficiency test easy. Whether testing at room temperature or low temperature, CTS offers impact tests that will meet your needs.

Metallography Tests

Getting up close and personal with your metals? Whether you like to figure out just how deep those cases really go, or how big those grains really are, CTS can help. Some of these tests are only offered once per year so please pay careful attention to the enrollment dates. We wouldn't want you to miss out!

Tensile Tests

Whether you think tensile samples should be round or flat, CTS has you covered. Be sure to read test descriptions carefully to select the test that will meet your testing needs and capabilities.

CTS Fasteners & Metals Program History

For those involved with metals and fasteners, including raw material manufacturers, product manufacturers, fastener manufacturers, and independent testing laboratories, quality of measurements has always been critical to final product quality. Previously, many laboratories only used in-house control samples to monitor instrument performance. Although this practice helped maintain consistent measurements, it did not address measurement agreement with outside laboratories. In addition, as the manufacturing process and customer markets became more and more global, the need for better measurement control became more and more essential.

Concurrently, in the late 1980s the Naval Shipyard (NSY) laboratories were working with the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to determine what sort of accreditation was available and appropriate. Naturally the topic of proficiency testing as a requirement of accreditation came up. At that time there were no formal metals testing programs. Some trade associations with very narrow focuses had periodically conducted round robins, but nothing on-going or large-scale. By 1988 CTS reputation as a provider of statistically sound interlaboratory programs was well established. Even though CTS at that time did not have a history of starting up new programs from scratch as it were, that fact did not stop A2LA from recommending CTS to the NSY laboratories. So CTS, working with both groups, developed a program initially called the Metals Collaborative Reference Program for the NSY laboratories and their suppliers. However, all parties recognized from the start that any such program would ultimately require a broader base of participants and that CTS could not limit the materials to metals used in saltwater applications. 

Almost immediately the tests offered and materials used in the program were applicable to a multitude of industries; the number of participating labs grew exponentially. In 1990, in response to pending federal legislation for fasteners, appropriate tests were added to the metals program to accommodate the needs of the fasteners industry. The National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) and the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP), as well as A2LA, were instrumental in helping to establish the requirements for fastener testing. 

Today, the CTS Fasteners & Metals Program has a very significant international presence: more than 600 laboratories worldwide currently participate. As the program continues to evolve and expand, accreditation requirements remain the strongest influence on the program. A key differentiator for the Fasteners & Metals program: half of the tests are not destructive labs can keep the samples for their own use and/or re-check if they are flagged. For those labs whose destructive test results are flagged, re-test samples are available. These benefits, combined with the fact that new tests are added periodically as the needs of the industries change, ensure the programs status as the worlds premier fasteners and metals proficiency testing program.

CTS Fasteners & Metal Program Schedule

The Fasteners & Metals Program is an annual program and testing rounds are conducted on a quarterly basis. Subscribers participate in one or two testing cycles depending on the enrollment date and the tests' stated frequency. Enrollment deadlines and frequencies are included with individual test descriptions.
Note that data due dates occur approximately 6 weeks after a shipment date and that results must be submitted on or before a data due date in order to be included in the report.
Participants can track shipments, submit data and access reports through the CTS Customer Portal.

Enroll by December 1 of preceding year:

Includes Qtrs: Samples Ship: Data Due Report Issued:
1 late February early April late April
3 late August early October late October

Enroll by March 1 of current year:

Includes Qtrs: Samples Ship: Data Due Report Issued:
2 late May early July late July
4 mid November late December mid January

Enroll by June 1 of current year:

Includes Qtrs: Samples Ship: Data Due Report Issued:
3 late August early October late October

Enroll by July 24 of current year:

Includes Qtrs: Samples Ship: Data Due Report Issued:
4 mid November late December mid January

Tests conducted by quarter: Dimensional

Test Series Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
1001 Dimensional: Outside Diameter of Plain Plug Gage X - X -

Tests conducted by quarter: Impact

Test Series Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
1003 Charpy V-Notch (-30 degrees) - X - -
1004 Charpy V-Notch (Room Temperature) - - - X

Tests conducted by quarter: Tensile Properties

Test Series Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
1101 Tensile Properties: Lab-Machined Flat Aluminum X - X -
1111 Tensile Properties: Pre-Machined Round Steel X - X -
1121 Tensile Properties: Lab-Machined Round Steel X - X -
1131 Tensile Properties: Lab-Machined Flat Steel - X - X

Tests conducted by quarter: Fasteners Testing

Test Series Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
1201 Fastener Wedge Tensile (10 degree) - X - X
1202 Fastener Axial Tensile - X - X
1203 Fastener Wedge Tensile (10 degree) - Metric - X - X
1204 Fastener Axial Tensile - Metric - X - X
1210 Rockwell Hardness: Externally Threaded Fasteners - X - X
1211 Vickers Hardness: Externally Threaded Fasteners - X - X
1220 Fastener Double Shear - X - X

Tests conducted by quarter: Hardness Testing

Test Series Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
1301 Rockwell Hardness: C & B Scales - X X -
1302 Rockwell Hardness: B Scale X - X -
1303 Rockwell Hardness: C Scale - X - X
1311 Vickers Hardness: 10 kgf - X - X
1321 Microhardness: Knoop & Vickers X - X -
1341 Brinell Hardness X - X -
1351 Rockwell Superficial Hardness (30N Scale) - X - X

Tests conducted by quarter: Metallography

Test Series Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
1401 Case Depth - X - X
1411 Grain Size (Stainless Steel) - X - -
1412 Grain Size (Inconel) - - - X
1421 Alpha Case Depth - X - -
1422 Alloy Depletion: Inconel - X - -

Tests conducted by quarter: Chemical Analysis

Test Series Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
1500 Nickel-based Alloy - X - -
1520 Titanium-based Alloy - - X -
1540 Aluminum - X - X
1600 Carbon & Low Alloy Steel X - X -
1640 Corrosion Resistant Steel - X - X
1700 Copper-based Alloy - - - X

Summary Reports

Portal Links

Participants in CTS Fasteners & Metals Program tests can access Test Instructions on the CTS Customer Portal.

A Guide to Interpreting Performance Analysis Reports, available as well on the CTS Customer Portal, assists participants in understanding and getting maximum benefit from the individual reports issued at the completion of each testing round.