What is Calibration?

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Calibration is technically just a way of measuring that ensures measurements match from one method of measurement to the next.  For instance, a person that weighs 135 pounds would measure in at 135 pounds on a properly calibrated bathroom scale; but if it was improperly calibrated, it may show them weighing more or less than they actually do.  With that being said, calibration is really important.

Instruments are often measured according to a standard to ensure their accuracy.  The standard is simply an instrument that is known to be accurate.  These standards may be varied from one geographic location to the next.  There are also different industry requirements depending on the industry.  For example, medical and healthcare equipment may be held at a higher standard for calibration accuracy.

Types of equipment requiring calibration include electrical instruments, pressure equipment, temperature equipment, high voltage equipment, torque equipment, dimensional equipment, detection equipment, and testing equipment – among others.

Calibration vs. Adjustment

Typically, calibration is the process of measuring an instrument’s accuracy, but it is often followed up by making adjustments to ensure that the instrument is accurate.  Adjustments should only be made by professionals who are skilled in the calibration industry, such as Calibration Lab.  After adjustments are made, typically the machine is calibrated again to ensure accuracy.

How often is Calibration Required?

Calibration is not a one-time thing.  Many instruments must be calibrated often, depending on the particular requirements of the industry.  It is important to be aware of the calibration requirements for certain instruments to stay compliant.  Some instruments may even go through something called a pre-calibration test.  This is where they ensure that the instrument is read to be calibrated.  This avoids attempts to calibrate equipment that may not be in proper working condition.

Why Calibration is Very Important

We already discussed the fact that often times, instruments must be calibrated more than once.  This is due to the fact that accuracy of results tends to shift over time.  This can be due to a lot of factors, including how often the instrument is used, and the conditions under which the equipment is used.  To ensure that results remain accurate, even with changing conditions, calibration is important.

This helps to cut down on errors, and also keeps a certain level of quality control.  Let’s take, for example, the restaurant industry.  If certain refrigerator items must be kept at a temperature below 45 degrees, and the refrigerator is improperly calibrated, there may be no way to ensure that the food was kept at a safe temperature.  This may make it unsafe for consumption, and can lead to a plethora of problems.

While we gave the example of the importance of calibration in the restaurant industry, it is also important in many other industries.  It is especially important in the medical industry, as healthcare related devices really need to be calibrated properly in order to give the most accurate results.  Accuracy in medical testing can make a big impact on treatment options, and it can ultimately make the difference between life and death.

Getting Your Instruments Calibrated

Calibration should be left to professionals.  By sending devices to a professional calibration company, you can have peace of mind that the calibration was done based on international or national standards.  This also allows you to trace the accuracy of your equipment.  Most calibration companies keep records of calibration, so that you can see when the instrument was last calibrated, and whether or not it required any adjustments.  It just helps to have a paper trail of these things, considering how important calibration really is.