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Collaborative Testing Services, Inc.

P.O. Box 650820, Sterling, VA, USA 20165-0820  1-571-434-1925
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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). Tests that are accepting enrollments are posted in the "Shop"; the Upcoming Tests panel lists tests that are currently closed and advises of future availability.

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 five distinct Chemical Analysis tests. Samples (two per test) are distributed in solid disc form. Note that Nickel-Based, Copper-Based and Aluminum 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.

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 testís 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 mid February late March mid April
3 mid August late September mid October

Enroll by March 1 of current year:

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

Enroll by June 1 of current year:

Includes Qtrs: Samples Ship: Data Due Report Issued:
3 mid August late September mid 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:

Test Name 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr
101 Round Dimensional X - X -
115 Fastener Wedge Tensile - X - X
116 Fasterner Axial Tensile - X - X
125 Rockwell (C Scale) of Fasteners - X - X
126 Vickers Hardness of Fasteners - X - X
127 Fastener Wedge Tensile (metric) - X - X
128 Fastener Axial Tensile (metric) - X - X
129 Fastener Double Shear - X - X
150 Chemical Analysis: Nickel-based Alloy - X - -
160 Chemical Analysis: Copper-based Alloy - - - X
170 Chemical Analysis: Carbon & Low Alloy Steel X - X -
180 Chemical Analysis: Corrosion Resistant Steel - X - X
190 Chemical Analysis: Aluminum Alloy - X - -
118 Rockwell Hardness (C&B Scales) - X X -
119 Rockwell Hardness (B Scale) X - X -
120 Rockwell Hardness (C Scale) - X - X
135 Brinell Hardness X - X -
136 Rockwell Superficial Hardness (30N Scale) - X - X
121 Microhardness (Knoop & Vickers) X - X -
144 Alpha Case Depth - X - -
145 Case Depth - X - X
147 Grain Size: Stainless Steel - X - -
148 Grain Size: Inconel - - - X
149 Alloy Depletion: Inconel - X - -
105 Tensile Properties: Lab-machined Flat Aluminum X - X -
110 Tensile Properties: Pre-machined Round Steel X - X -
130 Tensile Properties: Lab-machined Flat Steel - X - X
140 Tensile Properties: Lab-machined Round Steel X - X -

If there are any tests with closed enrollment periods, they are shown here, along with future availability. Contact CTS if you have any questions.

Test 150 - Chemical Analysis of Nickel-Based Alloy

Enrollment in this 2018 test offering closed on March 1. Labs use ASTM E1019, ASTM E2465, ASTM E2594, and ISO 7530 to determine percentages of elements in samples.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 190 - Chemical Analysis of Aluminum Alloy

Enrollment in this 2018 test offering closed on March 1. Labs use ASTM E34, ASTM E1251, and ISO 3980 to determine percentages of elements in samples.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 118 - Rockwell Hardness (C & B Scales)

Enrollment in this 2018 test offering closed on March 1. The test is designed for laboratories that want to test both scales one time each year.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 144 - Alpha Case Depth

The enrollment for this 2018 test offering closed on March 1. Participants use ASTM E3 and ASTM E407 to determine alpha case depth.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 147 - Grain Size: Stainless Steel

Enrollment in this 2018 test offering closed on March 1. Participants use ASTM E3, ASTM E407, ASTM E112, and ASTM E1382 to determine grain size.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 149 - Alloy Depletion: Inconel

Enrollment in this 2018 test offering closed on March 1. Participants use ASTM E3 and ASTM E407 to determine alloy depletion depth.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 101- Dimensional

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use the ISO GUM method to determine outside diameter and expanded uncertainty.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 170 - Chemical Analysis of Carbon & Low Alloy Steel

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use ASTM E322, ASTM E415, ASTM E1019, and ASTM E1085 to determine percentages of elements in samples.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 119 - Rockwell Hardness (B Scale)

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use the ASTM Test Method E18 to determine Rockwell hardness.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 135 - Brinell Hardness

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use the ASTM Test Methdo E10 to determine hardness.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 121 - Microhardness

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use ASTM Test Method E384 to determine Knoop and Vickers hardness of materials.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 105 - Tensile Properties of Lab-Machined Flat Aluminum

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use ASTM Test Method B557 to determine tensile strength, yield strength, and elongation.

Test will be conducted during 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 110 - Tensile Properties of Pre-Machined Round Steel

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use ASTM Test Method E8 to determine tensile strength, yield strength, elongation, and reduction of area.

Test will be conducted during 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

Test 140 - Tensile Properties of Lab-Machined Round Steel

Enrollment in this 2018 test closed on June 1. Labs use ASTM Test Method E8 to determine tensile strength, yield strength, elongation, and reduction of area.

Test will be conducted in 2019.

Available again on: 2018-07-25

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.