How to Choose Between In-House Calibration or Outsourced Calibration

How to Choose Between In-House Calibration or Outsourced Calibration

How to Choose Between In-House Calibration or Outsourced Calibration

No matter what industry you are in when it comes to the calibration of instruments, there are two choices, in-house or outsourced calibration.  In-house calibration is when the company prefers to calibrate the instruments on its own.  Outsourced calibration is when a third-party calibration laboratory handles the equipment for you.  There are benefits to each method however, there are considerations that must be well-thought-out when choosing what will work best for your business.  Here is a guide to choosing between the two options.

Questions to Ask

The first step in choosing is to answer a set of questions or researching the answers to these questions for each instrument that needs calibration.

  • How much money are you willing to invest in each instrument?
  • What your use of the instruments are?
  • How often is the instrument in use? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?
  • How often does the manufacturer recommend calibrating the instrument?
  • Does the instrument need to be calibrated to a standard?
  • Do you have employees trained in calibration?

Causes of Why an Instrument is Not Performing

Improper calibration or an absence of calibration can lead to hazards within the lab, or out in the field.  There are several reasons as to why an instrument is not performing as it should.

  • Overdue Calibration – Depending on the instrument and usage will affect the recommended time that an instrument needs calibration. When an instrument has gone a prolonged amount of time without calibration, it will not give reliable data.
  • Not Used for Intended Purpose – There is a definite calibration accuracy that they manufacture an instrument at. Using an instrument at a different accuracy will not give the correct information.
  • Over Calibration – Calibrating an instrument past the date throws it off so can over calibrating an instrument.
  • Incorrect Calibration – Every instrument has a specific way that needs to be calibrated. Therefore, it is critical that the engineer who is calibrating understands every type of calibration.  If an instrument is incorrectly calibrated, it can have severe consequences for employees and the workplace, or the customers.

In-House Calibration

There are many pros and cons to setting up an in-house calibration lab.  Performing calibrations is a little more complicated than just a quick test.

The first consideration is the costs that go into in-house calibrations, specifically the lab equipment and the employee training.  Employees in-house will need to receive training and certifications to perform calibrations.  Calibration equipment is a pricey endeavor and it will need to be done within a climate-controlled lab.

Calibration of instruments is on a set time schedule. If you allocate calibration to employees already on staff, will it be more tasks added to their regular workload?  Determining who has extra time and adding to a lab’s workload may not make your business more efficient.  In fact, it could make your productivity slow down during times of calibration, especially if there is a lot of instrumentation that needs regular calibration.

Outsourced Calibration

An outsourced lab should be accredited by a recognized body.  By using an accredited ISO-IEC 17025 lab it ensures that the lab will be able to carry out the calibration and testing to industry standards.  This ensures that the lab cares about quality management.

They equip outsourced calibration labs to follow the different industry standards and regulations.  The lab should also meet the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regulations.

When you send instruments to an accredited lab, you will get guaranteed quality assurance.  The difference in this option is that the lab has the accredited staff and system to be able to do the required work.

A calibration lab understands the documentation and certification requirements that businesses need with each instrument.  The paperwork not only ensures that the instrument was properly calibrated, but is also an official record that is placed on file.

Work With an ISO/IEC 17025 Accredited Lab

Whether your business decided on in-house or outsourced calibration, it is critical that all instruments receive the proper calibration.  If you choose to outsource your calibration, find an accredited ISO/IEC 17025 lab that specifically meets regulatory standards and provides the documentation you need.  SRP control systems understand instrument calibration and have been helping businesses for over 40 years with their on-site accredited laboratory.  They recognize that not only you will need quality work but handled it quickly to keep production running smoothly.  Contact them today.