Why Calibrate an Instrument?
Edward Simpson posted on July 31, 2013 | 41273 views

Calibrating an instrument involves comparing the measurements of two instruments; one with a known magnitude or correctness (standard device), against which you measure the unit under test.

Calibration has been defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures as an “Operation that, under specified conditions, in the first step, establishes a relation between the quantity values with measurement uncertainties provided by the measurement standards and corresponding indications with associated measurement uncertainties (of the calibrated instrument or secondary standard) and, in the second step, uses this information to establish a relation for obtaining a measurement result from an indication”.

Why should We Calibrate?

Calibration is required for:

  • Testing a new instrument
  • Testing an instrument after it has been repaired or modified
  • Periodic testing of instruments
  • Testing after the specific usage has elapsed
  • Prior to and/or after a critical measurement
  • When observations are not accurate or instrument indicators do not match the output of a surrogate instrument
  • After events such as:
    • An instrument has had a shock, vibration, or exposure to adverse conditions, which can put it out of calibration or damage it.
    • Sudden weather changes


Risk Involved in Not Calibrating an Instrument

  • Safety procedure: In case of instruments involving perishable products such as food or thermometers with area of sensitive nature, uncalibrated instruments may cause potential safety hazards.
  • Wastage: If the instrument is not perfectly calibrated, it might lead to potential wastage of resources and time consumed in the operations, resulting in an overall increase in expenses.
  • Faulty or Questionable Quality: If the instrument is improperly calibrated, the chances of faulty or questionable quality of finished goods arises. Calibration helps maintain the quality in production at different stages, which gets compromised if any discrepancy arises.
  • Fines or litigations: Customers who have incurred damage may return the product against a full refund, which is still alright; but if they go for litigation due to damages, you could be up for serious costs in terms of reputation and restitution payments.
  • Increased downtime: Poor quality of finished goods is the first indicator of disrepair in your equipment. Regular calibration programs identify warning signs early, allowing you to take action before any further damage is caused.

The calibration of instruments is the most basic maintenance requirement, which is an established procedure that every business using machinery or instruments must conduct periodically as specified in their machinery or instruments requirement.


Author Bio:

Edword Simpson works as a technical engineer for RS Calibration Inc. Besides being an engineer, he loves to write on topics related to calibration mechanics. You can contact Edword at edword55@gmail.com with your queries.

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