A Guide to Keeping Your Lab Equipment Calibrated

A Guide to Keeping Your Lab Equipment Calibrated

What Makes Pressure Reading Rates, Filters, and Data Loggers So Important in the Measurement Process

Laboratories rely on data and equipment reliability when it comes to staying in business.  If the equipment is not calibrated, then the work is compromised.

There are many fields that use instruments for critical measurement, weather to the medical field, automotive to agriculture, oil, and gas, or water and wastewater.  Obtaining accurate measurements are essential to making decisions and performing tasks.

What is Calibration?

Calibration is a comparison of a recognized measurement, the standard, and the measurement using your instrument.  Calibration is the process of evaluating and making adjustments to the equipment in order to maintain accuracy and precision. 

What Instruments Require Calibration?

There are many instrument types that require regular calibration, in particular ones that weigh, count, or measure.  The equipment that produces data will need regular calibration. 

Check the instrument’s recommendations from the manufacturer if you are unsure about how often or if it should be calibrated. 

How Often to Calibrate

The schedule of calibration will depend on the specifics of the instrument, as well as usage frequency and the environment that it works in.  Manufacturers have recommendations and certifications also have set requirements.

A few signs that it is time to have your instrument calibrates is when the data seems questionable, before a critical testing period, and after the instrument has been dropped or had an accident.

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 important for quality assurance.  The instruments should be calibrated to these standards.

The Benefits to Calibration

The instrument’s 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 it is important that the data is accurate to maintain product safety.  An example is in pharmaceuticals, the measurements must be accurate for the medicine they are making, or lives could be at stake.

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

The best way to make sure that your instruments receive calibration and return in a timely manner is to plan and prepare.  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 form called a Return Material Authorization (RMA).  The form collects all the information specifics such as model, serial number, service required, and any detailed requirements you may have. 

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

ISO/IEC 17025 Accreditation

When looking for a lab to perform your instrument calibration, it is preferable to work with a lab that has the ISO / IEC 17025 accreditation.  It is an internationally recognized standard that qualifies a lab to understand the different sets of standards and obtain the knowledge needed.  The accreditation assures the competency of a lab.

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