History of Laboratory Testing Inc
Laboratory Testing Inc (LTI) has been through many transitions in its nearly 30-year history, and also operated for eight years earlier as Carson NDT, a division of Carson Helicopter. During that time, the company evolved from a small six-person nondestructive testing company to our current full-service nondestructive and materials testing labs, with calibration and specimen machining services and over one hundred forty-five employees.
The Early Years
Lab Testing began doing business in 1976 as the NDT division of Carson Helicopter. The founders, Robert (Bob) W. McVaugh, Sr. and his partner, Frank Carson, established Carson NDT to provide commercial magnetic particle, liquid penetrant, X-ray and ultrasonic inspection services.
By 1984, Carson NDT had 20 employees and the owners needed more room for growth in services, equipment and employees. The nondestructive testing company moved from a small building on the property of Carson Helicopter to a 30,000 sq. ft. facility not far away in Dublin, PA. Around the same time, Bob McVaugh bought his partner’s share of the business and changed the company’s name to Laboratory Testing Inc.
During the rest of the 1980’s, many additional types of testing were added including hydrostatic pressure testing, chemical analysis, dimensional inspection, metallurgical inspection and mechanical testing services. Our Calibration Department, LTI Metrology, was established in 1992 to perform mechanical, force and torque calibration.
The nondestructive and materials testing labs also received accreditation from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) in 1989 and the Performance Review Institute’s National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) in 1992. Many customers were from the military, aerospace, automotive and commercial industries and required their vendors to hold these accreditations.
When the founder of Laboratory Testing Inc, Bob McVaugh, Sr., passed away in November of 1994, ownership was transferred to the next generation. His son, Mike, assumed the role of president. He had been with the company since its beginning in 1984 as nondestructive testing manager.
Under the second-generation owners, Lab Testing branched out into a number of complementary lines of business. We broadened the capabilities of our Metallography Department with failure analysis, lifetime prediction, materials engineering and materials selection services. A Machining Department was added to prepare test specimens and to perform low-stress grinding and EDM. Our Calibration Department became a distributor for Glastonbury Southern Gage (GSG), Vermont Gage, Mitutoyo, Boston Centerless, Swanson Tool Manufacturing, Starrett and other manufacturers, to provide customers with fixed limit gaging, precision measuring instruments and replacement parts at list prices.
Upgrading and Expanding
The next project included investing in new equipment and streamlining order processing. Computer hardware and software were installed throughout the company creating a fully networked computer system. This network allowed our order entry, testing, quality assurance and accounting departments to share information and avoid duplication of effort in processing customer orders.
Upon completion of this project, Lab Testing was ready for expansion, new machinery and computerization of older equipment. We enlarged the size of our Metallography, Customer Service and Machining Departments, then relocated the Chemistry Lab to a larger and better-equipped work area at our Dublin facility. By the time this expansion was completed, we were leasing an additional 4,000 sq. ft. of space in an adjoining building.
Next, our Mechanical Testing Department’s tensile testing machines were computerized for improved accuracy and speed. An elevated temperature tensile testing carousel was installed to run a number of jobs simultaneously for greater efficiency and quicker turnaround. Also, a third ultrasonic tester was installed to keep up with the increased volume of tubing and pipe orders handled by the Nondestructive Testing Department. These improvements increased our efficiency and allowed us to continue meeting turnaround requirements as sales and the number of orders grew.
Relocating to Continue Growth
Mike’s sister, Joan, joined the company as finance manager in 1998 and soon became a co-owner. Also, by the late 1990’s, Laboratory Testing Inc was out of room for additional expansion, so the second-generation owners began to search for a larger facility.
In August 1999, LTI purchased a 45,000 sq. ft. building on Topaz Drive in Hatfield, PA to provide more space for overcrowded departments and to prepare for future expansion of services. After completing renovations that included the addition of a 9,000 sq. ft. second floor on one end of the shop, installation of a three-ton crane, a new drainage system and remodeling of the second floor office space, the 75 employees and equipment were all relocated to Hatfield by the end of June 2000.
Broadening Scope of Services
On April 1, 2000, Lab Testing purchased Gage Lab Corp., a calibration company in Huntingdon Valley, PA. In August 2001, Gage Lab was merged into our Calibration Department, which expanded our scope of services to include force, torque, pressure, mass, dimensional, vacuum, electrical, temperature, flow and humidity calibrations, field and repair services and instrument replacement. Around the same time we began applying for A2LA accreditation for many calibration services, and received approval shortly thereafter.
Keeping Up with Customer Needs
Over the next six years, we focused our growth on improving capabilities to test larger materials and provide faster turnaround on large volume orders. Our purchases included a 400K tensile machine; four stress rupture machines; additional chemistry equipment; additional EDM, milling and machining equipment for the Machine Shop; another overhead crane; and a flat-bed truck, pick-up truck and 2 new vans for our pick-up and delivery service.
By the beginning of 2007, Lab Testing had added a 2nd shift in many departments to keep up with a growing number of customers, increasing orders and many requests for rush service to meet customer turnaround requirements. Even with the second shift, we needed more space in most departments.
LTI’s next project was a 12,000 sq. ft. building addition to provide the capacity to process more orders on both shifts. We also constructed an additional parking lot with 65 more spaces for employees and visitors. The project was completed in April 2008 and was celebrated with an Open House that summer.
Investment in the latest computerized equipment has continued throughout the laboratory to provide additional capacity, new capabilities and greater efficiency. We are moving into plastics testing to better service our medical, military, aerospace and commercial customers. Our calibration customers work directly with LTI for nearly all service needs, since the addition of electrical and temperature calibration and the expansion of field service.
More equipment and capabilities required additional employees which, in turn, called for more work space. In April 2011, we finished renovating a 12,000 sq. ft. nearby building for our NDT Liquid Penetrant and Magnetic Particle testing and the Accounting Department. The booming Chemistry Lab is also using a portion of the building for corrosion testing. The moves opened up space at the main building for the growing staff and equipment in the remaining labs and departments.
Another Growth Spurt Beginning in 2012
In May 2012, the building next door to our main facility, known as LTI North, became available. Since we had run out of room for more additions to LTI North, this was the perfect opportunity for more needed space. Within a few weeks, the Accounting Department moved in, followed by IT, Human Resources and LTI Metrology, the calibration and dimensional inspection division. Our newest location is called LTI East and has its own Shipping/Receiving area for Calibration orders.
The space vacated by LTI Metrology provided a perfect solution to grow the labs in Destructive Testing – Mechanical Testing, Metallography and Chemistry. One-by-one, each lab is undergoing a major overhaul and upgrade to optimize efficiency and to provide more space for future growth. Construction of the new lab for mechanical testing services was completed around mid-2013 in the former LTI Metrology location with 25 percent more work space. Metallography followed in the second half of the year with a move from the second floor to the fully renovated space previously occupied by mechanical testing. This opened up the second floor for the Chemistry Lab to expand in 2014. This last phase of the Destructive Testing expansion and renovation should be completed by early fall.
We Hope You’ll Visit Us Soon
Current and prospective customers are invited to schedule a tour of our facility. For arrangements or additional information on our capabilities and the benefits of working with Laboratory Testing Inc, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-219-9095.
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