The team at the PESC lab in Pretoria incluces (in front) Justin Marsberg (technical manager), Maria Marsberg (financial director), Dr Isbé van der Westhuizen (lab manager) and Masilo Makwela (polymer technologist); back row: François Prinsloo (quality manager & senior technologist), Graham Marsberg (MD), Godfrey Bulose (lab technician) and Sipho Zingwe (workshop assistant)

PESC lab achieves ISO accreditation – first in SA

PRODUCTIVITY Engineering Services and Consultants (PESC), an independent polymer and plastics testing laboratory, successfully obtained SANAS accreditation for ISO/IEC 17025 at the end of July, a first of its kind in South Africa.

François Prinsloo (Ndip & BTech Polymer Technology), PESC lab quality manager, says ISO 17025 accreditation is awarded for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

Owned by husband and wife team, Graham and Maria Marsberg, the laboratory is based in Centurion, Pretoria, and not only services the Gauteng region but also national and international clients.

PESC was established 18 years ago, with the laboratory founded in July 2015. The company is efficiently run by a team of highly experienced, competent staff in the fields of polymer testing, electrical and mechanical engineering. PESC applies the knowledge and experience of productivity enhancement and production monitoring in its own facility, with real-time monitoring of laboratory conditions, ovens and pressure units. The laboratory boasts new, state-of-the-art testing equipment, compliant with the latest international standards.

“The lab can do a wide variety of testing for the polymer industry, including but not limited to. quality control testing such as melt mass-flow rate, polymer density, mechanical strength determinations, carbon black content, pigment and carbon black dispersion, material melting points and oxidation induction time, material identifications, impact strength determinations, material softening point determination, ash and filler content, and many more. PESC has also recently acquired a UV testing machine to accommodate customers in need of such tests.” says Prinsloo.

Other services include:

  • Failure investigations of polymeric goods such as plastic piping, liners, synthetics, etc.
  • Customer specific and specialised audits
  • Custom equipment builds, such as hand brake testers, pressure testing apparatus, coefficient of friction testers, automation and control systems
  • Professional reporting structures specifically developed on national and international engineering and science practices

“Recent testing done by the PESC lab includes a failure investigation of plastic piping, where the lab assisted civil engineers to determine the cause of failure of an HDPE pipeline. Another interesting project we have done was to analyse synthetic leather for any possible contaminants that could have caused the material to disintegrate prematurely,” Prinsloo adds.

The lab now also offers specification development to the polymer and plastics industry, where the lab advises customers on specific testing that would be required to determine a product’s properties and performance. After some research, development and testing, PESC writes a unique standard that has been specifically developed to meet the products’, customers’  and end-users’ requirements.

“PESC realised that there was a void in the field for quick turnaround, from client sample testing to final reporting. We wanted to apply the production lessons we’ve learned and decrease polymer product testing times, so PESC uses testing facilities that are automated, yet still high-quality, following industry procedures,” Prinsloo explains.

“All the lab’s instruments comply with the latest industry standards and formed a critical part of the way towards accreditation,” he adds. “We believe that we can improve the standard of product testing in South Africa and welcome any participation from interested parties.”