You put in the time and effort to select the best instruments for your test system. You want to be sure you can rely on those instruments to provide accurate measurements that meet your specifications.
It also means that these expensive test instruments must last as long as possible for your company. Thus, instrument calibration keeps your business profitable and in line and can save you expenses in the long run.
Explanation of Instrument Calibration
Calibration defines the quality of the measurement parameters – such as range, accuracy, and precision – as recorded by an instrument. Therefore, it forms a crucial aspect of the quality assurance and testing phase, a critical part of many industries and sectors. This makes calibration essential for every industry, especially those regulated by authorities like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
Results Can Drift
Over time, there is a tendency for results to ‘drift’ when using particular technologies or measuring specific parameters such as temperature and humidity. Therefore, to ensure confidence in the results, there is an ongoing need to maintain instrument calibration throughout its lifetime for reliable, accurate, and repeatable measurements.
Delaying Calibration Risks
Delaying calibration is a tactic businesses may consider to save money. In the short run, yes, it may save you. However, it keeps an inaccurate tool in use. Thus, the long-term effect is far more damaging. Risks associated with uncalibrated measuring devices could be much higher than the calibration cost.
- Distort findings
- Inferior work product
- Penalties for non-compliance
- Product recall
In pharmaceuticals, any product quality change can directly affect the health and lives of the users.
Reasons that Can Affect the Calibration Timeline
Your equipment and instruments have suggested recommendations from the manufacturer about how often they need to be calibrated. Whether that calibration timeline is monthly, quarterly, or yearly is based upon several factors. However, there are situations where the timeline will need to be altered.
- Workload: If the instrument is used a lot, it should be calibrated more.
- Environment: If you use a tool in extreme environmental conditions, it should be calibrated more than used in stable conditions.
- Transportation: If the instrument is transported frequently, it must be calibrated more often.
- Accidental Drop: If you drop a device, it must be recalibrated.
- Checks: For some instruments, it can be checked against another instrument. Temperature sensors can be checked by using an ice bath. This intermediate check will let you know if it needs full calibration.
How Calibration Saves Your Equipment
After an instrument is no longer manufactured, repair and calibration services help extend the life of your test system. This makes the transition seamless when you are ready to migrate to new instruments or in the budget to acquire new instruments.
Parts can go out of tolerance; however, by having them tested regularly, an ISO 17025-accredited lab will be able to pinpoint the problem, so rather than having to get a completely new piece of equipment, you can repair or recalibrate the one you already own.
Calibration results will be given in a document recording before and after an adjustment if an adjustment is made. Thus, they give you a complete record of the instruments for a database and any audits. Think of instrument calibration as an insurance policy. It can save you from having more costly issues in the long run.