Around the globe, refractory laboratories are continuously improving existing testing methods, as manufacturing innovations and the introduction of new materials drive the industry's need for precision data to ensure product quality and control costs. Without reliable data to compare the results of new testing methods, improving test quality becomes hard. The challenge in developing reliable standardisation procedures is increasing global cooperation between the refractory industry, independent refractory laboratories, end users, and standardisation organisations.
Born from the collaboration of 7 different companies and institutes, the WRA International Standards Task Force aims to facilitate standardization of testing methods at international level. Via Round Robin Tests, which are interlaboratory studies allowing to measure the repeatability (within one laboratory) and the reproducibility (comparing all laboratories) of the results, as well as the measurement uncertainty, participants can efficiently work towards harmonization, improvements and adjustments of existing standards according to the users’ needs.
The current testing methods and their corresponding standards may leave open some uncertainties regarding the needs of the refractory industry and its customers. This misalignment is partly due to national standardisation procedures, also being initiated with a commercial or academic focus. The participation of refractory industry members in standardisation organisations worldwide facilitates the co-update of desired standards and eliminates time wasted on outdated ones. This involvement in the development process could facilitate the adoption of standardised testing methods for refractory manufacturers globally and help direct the focus of new or aligned testing methods in the future.