What is the Difference between Monitoring, Measurement, and Calibration?

What is the Difference between Monitoring, Measurement, and Calibration?

What is the Difference between Monitoring, Measurement, and Calibration?

We use the term monitoring in almost all processes in the ISO standard, and it always comes with measurement or calibration.  Monitoring and measurement are the two most performed activities within an industry.  They also specifically have a direct connection to calibration.  This is why understanding how they relate and the differences between them is important when it comes to instruments and equipment.

What is Monitoring?

Monitoring is the process of analyzing, evaluating, and interpreting data results from a measured parameter within a specified time to verify conformity.

Measuring Defined  

To discover the exact size of the amount of something.  Every monitoring activity needs measurement results in order to have valid data for analysis and evaluation.

What is Calibration?

The comparison of the unit under calibration reading to the output reading of the reference standard.  Once we know the true value, we can determine the error, verify if it is within tolerance or specification, and make an adjustment if needed.

When performing a measurement, we use measuring devices, equipment, and instruments.  Measuring resources that must undergo calibration to deliver reliable results.  During monitoring activities, we use calibrated measuring instruments to achieve confidence with our monitoring results.

The Importance of Monitoring and Measurement in the Calibration Process

The reason that monitoring and measurement are significantly important to the process in calibration are to:

  • Improve or make processes better.
  • Preserve quality.
  • Significantly determine any defects.
  • Maintain safety.
  • Ensure the effective operation and control of these processes.
  • Verify the conformity of products and services to the requirements.
  • Safeguarding monitoring and measurement resources from adjustments, damage, or deterioration that would invalidate the calibration status and subsequent measurement results.

What Equipment Needs to be Monitored?

A list that will help determine what should be monitored includes:

  • All instruments that specifically can affect product quality.
  • All measuring instruments that are used to determine a pass or fail result.
  • Reference standards used to calibrate working instruments.
  • All instruments that have an effect on the validity of the laboratory activities, such as calibration, verification, sampling, and testing.
  • All measuring instruments that are used for calibration, verification, sampling, and testing activities.
  • Monitoring safety instruments.

What Measuring Resources Do Not Need Monitoring?

An instrument that does not need monitoring could mean that it does not need calibration.  Therefore, these monitoring and measuring instruments have no effect or direct impact on the safety or quality of products.

Anything, where calibration is not required, can be removed from the monitoring list.

Monitoring and Measuring per ISO 17025 Requirements

These requirements are applicable to ISO 17025 and ISO 9001 for monitoring and measurement activities.  Therefore, the four main categories are:

  • Monitoring and measurement of the process performance – This includes objectives monitoring, analysis of risk and opportunities, competence, proper-handling, and nonconforming calibration work.
  • Monitoring of measurement resources – The control of monitoring and measurement equipment. This ensures the confidence of reference standards, calibration status, traceability, calibration interval, and measurement uncertainty.
  • Monitoring of Facilities – The effective separation between areas with incompatible laboratory activities, including security and safety of laboratory activities.
  • Observing the validity of results – The monitoring specifically includes functionality checks, intermediate checks, calibration method validation, proficiency testing, and comparisons.

Monitoring and Measurement Both are Important to Calibration

When it comes to calibration requirements, both monitoring and measuring must be implemented.  Monitoring and measuring are often both used to reference, so it is in almost every process within an industry.