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What are the Differences Between Calibration, Inspection, and Testing?

What are the Differences Between Calibration, Inspection, and Testing?

With all the terms and different requirements for a lab, it can be overwhelming to keep it all straight. Calibration, inspection, and testing all ensure that your equipment is checked for accurate details. However, the differences are significant.  

What Does Calibration Mean?

Calibration is a comparison of something to a standard. When a measurement device is calibrated, it’s compared to an accepted standard and, if necessary, adjusted. Calibration procedures are based on the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Calibration is a longer, more detailed process resulting in a calibration report which gives a pass or a fail for each specific function. A device that fails to meet the specifications is adjusted. Calibration is not one that you can not test. Incorrect measurements can cause lost time and money and result in undetected hazardous conditions. It must be calibrated regularly whether the equipment is used in laboratories, factories, on-site, or even at home.

Instrument calibration is done on different types of instruments across sectors. This includes pressure calibration, temperature calibration, flow calibration, electrical calibration, and mechanical calibration. It is imperative to use a lab that has ISO 17025 accreditation. This accreditation means that a third party has evaluated the laboratory’s quality management system and technical competence. 

The lab has met the requirements and is deemed competent to produce calibration and testing results. 

What is an Inspection?

An inspection is an evaluation of conformity. This is done by measuring, observing, testing, or gauging characteristics. Then, the results are compared with specific requirements to establish whether it achieves agreement for each characteristic. Maintenance and inspection of equipment are essential; however, they are not a requirement like calibration.

How is Testing Different?

A technical operation determines one or more characteristics of a given product, process, or service according to a specified procedure.

What Does Functional Testing Determine?

What functional testing determines is if it is functioning correctly. The testing involves exposing the item to a stimulus and verifying that the equipment responds accordingly. These tests are on a pass-or-fail report; if they fail, they are repaired or adjusted as necessary. Voltage detectors and various meters are typically subjected to this type of testing.

Accreditations and Lab Standards

When having your equipment calibrated, inspected, or tested, the most important thing as a laboratory manager is to verify that the company has an ISO 17025 accreditation

You also will want to check that they are an ISO 9001 registered company. They define ISO 9001 as the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system. It demonstrated its ability to provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. Your lab’s equipment is critical in efficiency and effectiveness, so understanding the different regulations and requirements is needed. As well as working with a lab like SRP Control Systems that understand accuracy and quality is vital to their clients.

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