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What is Calibration and Why It is Critical for Your Lab?

What is Calibration and Why It is Critical for Your Lab?

Calibration is the act of testing and adjusting the precision and accuracy of an instrument. It is used in research labs to ensure correct data. Understanding calibration, how it works, and why it is critical will help you run a more precise and accurate lab.

Calibration in a Lab

Instrument calibration is needed to reduce the bias in an instrument’s readings. Both precision and accuracy of instrumentation are necessary. Precision is the degree to which repeated measurements without changing conditions will show the same result. Accuracy is the degree of closeness of measurements of a quantity to its actual true value.

Calibration compares a standard measurement to the measurement taken by your instrument. While the accuracy of your device may not be the same as the standard, there is an acceptable accuracy ratio. Your instrument will need to measure up to the requirements.

All instruments that require calibration have a different set of standards, and it takes specific knowledge. Therefore, you will need to get your instruments calibrated by experts. An ISO 17025-accredited lab meets these requirements.

You will need to send out your items to the lab so they can calibrate them. After calibrating, the lab will return your instruments with a report of the errors they found and the reduced errors.

Why Does it Matter?

There are several significant reasons why having your instrument calibrated is essential.  

  • Saves Money – When inaccuracies are discovered, they will stop production whether you are a manufacturer or in a research lab. The longer it takes to notice the inaccuracies, the more costly the mistakes will be. This is why routine maintenance is so essential.
  • Safety – In many lab scenarios, dangerous materials are being processed. Having inaccurate data can put the lab staff in danger. 
  • Calibration allows for getting accurate numbers, which keeps everyone safe.
  • Instruments Last Longer – Instruments can degrade for several reasons, including how much you use them and the environment in which you use the equipment. Calibrating your equipment and keeping it up to standards can help the length of usage. You are saving yourself the trouble of buying new instrumentation.
  • Certification – In several industries, you must be certified for specific tasks. In this case, you must have up-to-date instrument calibrations to stay in business.

When Should You Have Your Instruments Calibrated?

Your equipment requires regular calibration. How often depends on how frequently you use it and how quickly it degrades. 

Manufacturers have recommendations for calibration, and certifications have set requirements. Key indicators that your equipment may need calibration.

  • Before Critical Testing – If you are testing for highly accurate data. Then it may be worthwhile to send the instrument out before beginning to experiment.
  • Data is questionable – When the data results seem very doubtful.
  • After an incident – If the instrument has been dropped or some accident occurs.

Accredited Calibration Services

You need to find a company that is an ISO 17025-accredited lab. You will want to research their best practices and turnaround time. Coordination of handling your equipment is critical, as well as the lab’s location. The longer your equipment is gone the less productivity. 

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