Why is equipment calibration important?
Calibration, as defined by the International Vocabulary of Metrology (VIM), is: “The set of operations that establish, under specified conditions, the relationship between the values of a quantity indicated by a measuring instrument or measurement system, values represented by a materialized measure or a reference material, and the corresponding values provided by standards” (source: VIM dictionary). In summary, it compares the reading value of an instrument against the value of a previously established standard.
In calibration, metrological traceability is a concept that is highly relevant and must be taken into account. According to ENAC, it consists of: “An uninterrupted and documented chain of calibrations to a reference (measurement standard, practical realization defining a unit of measurement, or a measurement procedure), using (documented) measurement procedures that allow relating the measurement results, generally to units of the International System (SI), legally established in Spain, with a known and documented measurement uncertainty” (source: ENAC).
Laboratories and entities have various instruments and process tools that are regularly calibrated. Factors such as aging of components, temperature and/or humidity conditions, or mechanical stress can gradually worsen the performance of measuring equipment. Any deviation or issue can lead to errors or problems in conducting tests and/or deviations from the required specifications.
The UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025, an international accreditation ensuring technical competence, states that all equipment whose accuracy or measurement uncertainty affects the validity or metrological traceability of results must be calibrated. For this reason, laboratories must establish calibration programs. These programs should be reviewed and adjusted accordingly with one ultimate goal: maintaining confidence in the equipment. When performing calibration, the laboratory can do it:
- Externally in an accredited laboratory or one that meets the requirements of NT74.
- Internally by developing the part of the traceability chain under its responsibility.
In summary, periodic calibration of measuring and testing equipment is essential for:
Fine-tune your lab with our spreadsheetsfor calibration and measurement
- Calibration of balances
- Calibration of ovens, stoves, refrigerators, etc.
- Calibration of both fixed and variable volumetric material 8655
- Calibration of pH meters
- Calibration of temperature equipment with repeated measurements
- Control and maintenance of a UV-Visible instrument
- Calibration of turbidimeter
- Calibration of thermohygrometers (humidity)
- Calibration of flowmeters
- Direct measurement of sound level
- Estimation of uncertainty in direct measurement
- Measurement uncertainty in the verification of fuel dispensers and similar devices, and additive substances
- Estimation of uncertainty for a reference value obtained by addition
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