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Common Causes of Calibration Problems

Common Causes of Calibration Problems

Calibration is an important activity to maintain that your instruments are working correctly. Unfortunately, several common causes can lead to calibration problems. Here is a look at the different situations you may experience, the issues, and the solutions.


What is Calibration?

Instrument calibration is the primary process to maintain instrument accuracy. Calibration configures an instrument to provide a result for a sample within an acceptable range.

The calibration involves using the instrument to test samples of one or more known values. The results are used to establish a relationship between the measurement technique used by the tool and the known values.

The instrument will perform best when the intermediate points supplied in the manufacturer’s performance specifications are calibrated.


What Knocks a Digital Instrument out of Calibration?

Three main categories will throw an instrument out of calibration.

  • Component Shift – The significant components of test instruments can shift over time. This shifting is minor and usually harmless if you keep a calibration schedule. This shifting or drifting is what calibration can find and correct.
  • Drops – Dropping an instrument can create gross calibration errors.
  • Overloads – Exposing a digital multimeter to excess can throw it off. Many think this has little effect because the inputs are fused or breaker-protected. However, those protection devices may not trip on a transient. A significant voltage input can jump across the input protection device entirely.


Calibration Drift

Calibration drift is when a measuring instrument’s readings drift into an inaccurate territory over time. Drift can lead to measurement errors and related problems, including safety concerns.

Avoiding calibration drift plays an essential role in maintaining measurement accuracy. No matter the equipment type, it is a problem that you need to be on the lookout for.


What Causes Calibration Drift?

Calibration drift can occur naturally over time, particularly as the instrument gets regular usage in a lab. Therefore, it is difficult to prevent loss of accuracy entirely. However, there are some causes that your lab can avoid. Here are some of the most common causes of drift.

  • Misuse, mishandling, and neglect.
  • Environmental changes, such as in temperature or humidity.
  • Exposure to harsh conditions, such as corrosive substances or extreme temperatures.
  • Sudden mechanical or electrical shock or vibration.
  • Frequent use and natural calibration degradation over time.


SRP Has Calibration Solutions

Calibration problems can take the instruments out of the field and slow your operation. Look for an accredited company that knows your instruments to help you get back to work with proper equipment. Specifically, the best choice is an ISO 17025-accredited calibration laboratory.

The SRP control systems ltd laboratory maintains one of Canada’s most extensive equipment and calibration solution providers. By offering a wide range of calibrations and services based on a lab’s specific calibration needs, they can help you maintain integrity and calibrate speedily to keep your business running.

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