Downstream aluminium producer Sapa has reported that test results for certain aluminium extrusions manufactured in its Portland, Oregon, facilities were falsified for almost two decades.

“Specifically, we have learned that some test results for mechanical properties – ultimate tensile strength, yield strength and elongation – have been altered to change failing test results to passing test results between 1996 and 2015,” the company said on Monday November 9.

Sapa Profiles Inc (SPI), Sapa’s USA-based subsidiary, was temporarily suspended as a federal government contractor on September 30 as the Department of Justice’s Civil Division investigated a number of government suppliers.

The investigation is looking at aluminium extrusions that SPI manufactured in 2000 and 2002 and delivered to a supplier to NASA.

In response to the findings, which Sapa has blamed on “certain employees” that have now left, the company has enacted a number of measures at its US extrusion plants.

A new senior plant manager and lab supervisor have been put in place in Portland. All facilities are conducting additional training for lab technicians and installing new testing equipment while improving their ethics and compliance programmes. The company is also appointing a new vp of quality and a new director of compliance.

“In addition to these measures, Sapa Extrusion North America is undergoing audits, with support from a third-party expert, throughout our network to verify that all testing labs meet both industry standards as well as our customers’ requirements,” Sapa said.

“Any issues identified in these audits, which may have an impact on our customers, are being shared with our customers and necessary remediation actions are being taken.”

Jethro Wookey
Twitter: @jethrowookey