When & Why Invest in Calibration Services

To ensure quality manufacturing operations it is critical to make sure that your measuring instruments are calibrated properly. Measuring instruments that doesn’t read accurately can compromise the integrity of your quality assurance documentation and quality control process. Calibration

Inaccurate instruments can destroy confidence in measuring results, and at their worst, can result in manufacturing of nonconforming parts. Calibration services represent an important manufacturing discipline and it should be considered as an investment that builds the foundation upon you can built your quality assurance program.

More than simple adjustments

Calibration services determine the deviation of the indication supplied by a measuring instrument from the true value of the measurement. The results of the calibration process are used for instrumentation and gauge adjustment. However, calibration services go beyond just a simple adjustment, and provide traceability back to a master source. The calibration process comes with extra value added.

A well-trained instrumentation technician will determine the accuracy of the instrument by comparing the measurement with a recognized standard master artifact. The calibration process follows a set of test procedures that are developed for each specific instrument. The measuring operation is performed in conditions near to ideal in order to assure that the instrument is not influenced by intervening factors and the readings show real accuracy and repeatability.

When it comes to calibration services, companies like OQ International have a choice to set up their own in-house calibration laboratory, return gauges to the original manufacturer for calibration, or send gauges to commercial calibration services. Because establishing an in-house calibration service would represent a significant investment in trained personnel, equipment and facilities, using independent commercial calibration services can be a better alternative.

The importance of specialized calibration services Calibration Technician

Companies specialized in calibration services are equipped with state of the art laboratories. The lab environment is well controlled, with all the various parameters such as barometric pressure, temperature, elevation, latitude, and humidity. The accurate measurement of environmental conditions and the precision control and make the main difference between an average industrial calibration laboratory and cutting edge labs like those found in companies specialized in calibration services.

The other important consideration is equipment and instrumentation. In order to accurately calibrate precision instruments is necessary specialized lab equipment such as auto-collimators, interferometers, rotary tables, and gauge block comparators. Because this type of equipment is usually expensive it is generally found only in independent calibration labs.

How often is enough?

Although there are no rules that dictate how often should be performed calibration on the measuring instruments, the main factors that determine the calibration frequency are mishandling and usage.

There are many quality control specialists who are assuming that measuring instruments need be calibrated annually. However, that is not true and calibration process should occur at regular intervals determined on the basis of the manufacturer recommendations, purpose, stability, and usage. Whenever an even occurs that affects the instrument’s accuracy, recalibration should be performed.

There are many available companies that offer calibration services and you have to select the right one depending s upon your particular needs. Always pick an accredited calibration service. The company should provide formal evidence their competency in performing instrument accuracy assessments. A calibration service should indicate the industry standards used by the procedure and provide a report that states the accuracies of measurement results, the resolutions, and the tolerances.

Characteristics of Professional Calibration Service Providers

In today’s competitive global marketplace, high-quality services and products at competitive prices are the norm. Companies are looking for ways to free up valuable resources and reduce costs, in order to stay in business while delivering both value and quality. One way to achieve that is outsourcing calibration services that lie outside core processes.Calibrator

The responsibility to select calibration service companies as economically as possible usually falls to the quality professional in the company. He will base his decision on certain characteristics that define professional calibration service providers. For a production line running 24 hours a day certain calibration service companies can provide a shorter calibration.

Calibration Quality Standards & Device Specialization

Companies that provide this type of services are often specialized in certain specific industry requirements and quality standards dictated by the regulatory bodies, such as the automotive industry calibration program driven by QS-9000 or pharmaceutical industry calibration program guided by FDA regulations. Calibration Services

Professional calibration service providers are characterized by a high degree of technical competence of technicians and measurement results, financial stability of the company, a good quality system in place, using automated calibration procedures, the best service delivery methods and record access, ability to meet customer various needs, and quick turnaround time.

A professional calibration service provider will have established a quality system that includes both an ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation and ISO standard registration and feature a fully documented and technically capable lab. ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation is assessing how well its technicians perform tests or calibrations and requires procedures for monitoring a lab’s technical ability.

The technical competence of the calibration service provider in Illinois is a critical factor. This should imply competently trained metrology technicians as well as technically valid measurement results. The experience and qualifications of the calibration technicians are critical to ensuring valid calibrations and good metrology practices, as well as confidence in the measurement results. Technicians should have not only technical ability within their particular lab area but also demonstrate broad knowledge.

Automated Calibration Services

The capability to provide automated calibrations is also an important characteristic of a professional calibration service provider. Calibration laboratories may develop their own automated software procedures or use a commercial calibration program.

The financial stability of a calibration company is also an important aspect. On this depends the company’s reliability, viability, and flexibility. Inadequate resources allocation or financial instability could result in inadequate calibrations, excessive turnaround times, or simple lack of support.

Delivery methods and solutions for providing calibration services can also make a difference. Among the methods employed by professional calibration service providers to service their customer needs are included permanent on-site calibrations, scheduled on-site calibrations, pick-up and delivery from calibration lab locations, and ship-in/ship-out services. Some companies that provide scheduled on site calibration can also use self-contained mobile labs.

Calibration records accessibility should accommodate the customer needs. Many providers of professional calibration services offer online real time record access. This allows easy access of specific documentation and can reduce the time spent filing paperwork.

Turnaround time for calibration services can be important for customers that are working in a time sensitive field. For them can be costly to have any downtime for calibration. The instrument turnaround time according to the industry standard is five business days. However, many calibration service providers can also offer expedited service. Usually the turnaround times depend on the calibration service provider’s financial stability. A company with good financial stability will be able to better ensure that its resources, equipment and labor are available when needed.