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A Guide to Keeping Your Lab Equipment Calibrated

A Guide to Keeping Your Lab Equipment Calibrated

Laboratories rely on data and equipment accountability when running a business. Calibration allows for identifying the accuracy of the equipment. If the equipment has not been calibrated, then the work is compromised.

Many fields use instruments for critical measurement, whether in the medical field, automotive, agriculture, oil and gas, or water and wastewater; obtaining accurate measurements is essential to making decisions and performing tasks.


What is Calibration?

Calibration compares a recognized measurement, the standard, and the size of your instrument. It is the process of evaluating and adjusting the equipment to maintain accuracy and precision.


What Instruments Require Calibration?

Instruments require calibrations regularly because of the wear and tear of machinery. After a while, the equipment can stop producing accurate data, and calibrating helps adjust the tools back to precision.

One of the most common types of calibration is pressure calibration. Hydraulic pressure and pressure gauges are present in various instruments and machines across various industries.

Another frequently performed calibration is temperature calibration. Again, these types of calibrations are often performed with many tools that help with the measurement process.

Other types of calibrations include flow, pipette, electrical, and mechanical. Check the instrument’s manual from the manufacturer to understand the type of calibration and how often the device should be calibrated.


How Often to Calibrate

The calibration schedule depends on the specifics of the instrument, as well as how frequently the device is used and the environment it works. Manufacturers have recommendations and certifications that include the set requirements.

A few signs that it is time to calibrate your instrument are when the data seems questionable, before a critical testing period, and after the device has been dropped, damaged, or operates differently.


The Importance of Traceability 

We commonly use traceability when referencing calibration. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Traceable Calibration is about verifying that a provider is certified to calibrate equipment to a specific set of standards. NIST traceability is essential for quality assurance, and instruments should be calibrated to these standards.


The Benefits of Calibration

Instruments’ precision degrades over time due to many variables, including wear and tear. As the instruments degrade, so does the information you are collecting. When measuring, the data must be accurate to maintain product safety. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, the measurements must be precise for medication on the market, or individuals could be harmed very seriously.

Calibration reduces costs from errors. Defects in measurement can be costly in many production labs, causing recalls of items and reproducing the parts. Regular calibration of instruments expands their life span, saving labs the cost of constant replacement.


Schedule and Plan Calibration

Planning and preparing is the best way to ensure that your instruments are calibrated and returned promptly. Keep a schedule based on recommendations and requirements of the instrument’s next calibration date.

When it is time to send your equipment out, prepare the paperwork to initiate service. The form may be online or an actual paper called a Return Material Authorization (RMA).

This form collects all the information specifics such as model, serial number, service required, and any detailed requirements you may have.

After filling out the form and sending it, you will receive a Return Material Authorization number and instructions on shipping the instrument or instruments.


ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation

When looking for a lab to calibrate your instrument, working with an ISO / IEC 17025-accredited lab is preferable. It is an internationally recognized standard that qualifies a lab to understand the different standards and obtain the necessary knowledge. The accreditation assures the competency of a lab.

Lab standards are high, so the company that calibrates your instruments should also be. SRP control systems have been helping businesses for over 40 years, calibrating instruments in their on-site, accredited laboratory. Contact ustoday to keep your appliances accurate and reliable.

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