Companies in this industry provide engineering, quality control, and certification services in a variety of industries. Major companies include National Technical Systems, Wyle Laboratories, and Underwriters Laboratories (all based in the US), along with ALS (Australia), Bureau Veritas (France), Intertek (UK), and SGS (Switzerland).
Demand is driven largely by industry and government spending on R&D to improve the efficiency of operations and develop new products and services. The profitability of individual companies depends on technical expertise and the ability to accurately predict project costs. Large labs have advantages in providing a broader range of services through multiple locations; some have strategic partnerships with major corporations. Small labs compete effectively by specializing in particular types of service. The US industry is fragmented: the top 50 companies account for about 40% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Services include chemical, nondestructive, mechanical, and electrical testing as well as calibration testing, thermal testing, and assaying. Companies build facilities to simulate various environments according to temperature, altitude, humidity, sunshine, dust, or explosive atmosphere. Items tested include high-technology products, electrical components, hazardous materials, construction materials, automotive parts, military items, housewares, and toys, as well as food, soil, and water. Testing labs test products for safety; provide certifications; and provide compatibility, stress/performance functionality, and compliance testing. Testing often involves measuring the flow of fluids, chemicals, water, steam, and propellants.