One of the main pillars of conformity assessment is testing of products to ascertain its conformity to relevant Indian Standards. BIS has established laboratories in the country to cater to the testing need of samples generated from its Conformity Assessment Schemes. Starting with the establishment of Central Laboratory at Sahibabad in 1962, BIS added another four Regional Laboratories at Mohali, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai and five Branch Laboratories at Patna, Bangalore, Guwahati, Jammu and Hyderabad.
BIS laboratories have facilities for testing of products in the field of chemical, microbiological, electrical and mechanical requirements. In addition to product testing, BIS has established Gold jewellery testing laboratories at nine of its laboratories. The Regional laboratory at Chennai is also testing silver jewellery.
To cater to the rising need of testing under its Conformity Assessment Schemes, BIS also operates Laboratory Recognition Scheme (LRS) for recognition of outside laboratories where it is economically not viable to develop test facilities in BIS laboratories or where there is large inflow of samples. The scheme is based on ISO/IEC 17025, which is in line with the norms adopted by the NABL.
BIS has recognized 293 labs, which include reputed R&D organizations, technical institutions, Government labs and labs in private sector. The services of such laboratories are utilized by BIS.
To demonstrate its commitment to quality, and to keep pace with the National and International good laboratory practices, BIS laboratories at Sahibabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Mohali, Bengaluru, Patna and Guwahati have been accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) as per ISO/IEC 17025.
BIS labs primarily test the products for their conformity to the established Indian Standards. The number of products to be tested has increased over time as more and more products are being brought under mandatory certification of BIS through the issuance of Quality Control Orders (QCOs) by concerned Ministries/Departments. BIS Labs have also evolved by continuously endeavouring to enhance its quality infrastructure through procurement of various state of the art test equipment to cater to the need of testing products notified for mandatory certification of BIS, or identified for notification through QCOs.
BIS labs have under gone a paradigm shift both in terms of quality infrastructure as well as sample testing output. The testing output of 1500 to 1800 hundred per month in labs during pre-pandemic times have increased more than three fold to more than 6000 samples per month. BIS labs have achieved a total testing output of 68382 test reports for the year 2022 – 23.
In order to boost the quality infrastructure in the country, BIS has also revised the Fees structure of LRS and recognition fees has been reduced drastically for MSME and Women Entrepreneur. Application and processing fees for the purpose of Inclusion has been done away with in order to encourage laboratories to include more Indian Standards/products in their scope of recognition.
To enhance skill development and also as a means for identification of automated and sophisticated testing equipment for further upgradation and modernisation of BIS labs, exposure visits were undertaken by Scientific officers of BIS in Laboratories of large-scale manufacturers, reputed labs in the country and abroad for getting information in the best national and international practices.
BIS labs are developing themselves as knowledge centres by organizing interactive sessions with schools, colleges and industries in close association with the BIS Branch Offices. The interaction covers the broad discussion/presentation on a particular subject or field covering the testing requirements for that product/product group. This in turn helps in developing quality consciousness among the young people and enabling the industry by making them aware of the latest in testing infrastructure in the country.
BIS labs also undertake Skill development for Quality Control Personnel by organising the following courses:
Certificate Course for Hallmarking Professionals conducted in BIS Labs.
Certificate Course for Product Certification conducted in BIS Labs.