Calibration laboratory

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A cal­i­bra­tion lab­o­ra­to­ry is a place for per­form­ing cal­i­bra­tions. In cal­i­bra­tion lab­o­ra­to­ries in metrol­o­gy, the ex­tent to which the re­sult of a mea­sur­ing de­vice or the mea­sure­ment of an ob­ject de­vi­ates from an­oth­er mea­sur­ing de­vice or an­oth­er ref­er­ence ob­ject is checked and doc­u­ment­ed. In metrol­o­gy, the doc­u­ment­ed com­par­i­son of the mea­sur­ing in­stru­ment or ob­ject to be cal­i­brat­ed with a trace­able ref­er­ence in­stru­ment or ref­er­ence ob­ject (stan­dard) takes place in a cal­i­bra­tion lab­o­ra­to­ry. In this process, the ref­er­ence de­vices (cal­i­bra­tors) used in a cal­i­bra­tion lab­o­ra­to­ry can mea­sure with high­er ac­cu­ra­cy than the de­vice or com­po­nent to be cal­i­brat­ed. Ref­er­ence mea­sur­ing de­vices can be equip­ment, mass­es, me­chan­i­cal com­po­nents, phys­i­cal ref­er­ences, ref­er­ence flu­ids, or ref­er­ence gas­es. Cal­i­bra­tion lab­o­ra­to­ries should have ac­cred­i­ta­tion. To­day, such ac­cred­i­ta­tion is car­ried out ac­cord­ing to glob­al­ly uni­form prin­ci­ples and is based on the in­ter­na­tion­al stan­dard ISO/IEC 17025.

Why should a calibration be performed?

Cal­i­bra­tion is the on­ly way to en­sure that the mea­sur­ing in­stru­ment re­al­ly does mea­sure cor­rect val­ues. It is well known that mea­sur­ing in­stru­ments lose their ac­cu­ra­cy over time. This hap­pens re­gard­less of the qual­i­ty and age of the de­vice. That is why reg­u­lar (pe­ri­od­ic) cal­i­bra­tion is a fixed pro­ce­dure in many com­pa­nies to en­sure the qual­i­ty of the process. The claimant is usu­al­ly the company’s own qual­i­ty de­part­ment. But al­so with­out an own qual­i­ty de­part­ment the de­mand is made quite fast by the own cus­tomer. Com­pli­ance with en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions is yet an­oth­er rea­son for reg­u­lar cal­i­bra­tion. In case of non-com­pli­ance, con­se­quences fol­low quickly. 

Costs for regular calibration

The ex­pens­es for the re­cur­ring cal­i­bra­tions in con­nec­tion with the doc­u­men­ta­tion, etc. can be de­ter­mined and con­sid­ered very eas­i­ly. On the oth­er side, how­ev­er, are the per­haps high­er costs in­curred by nu­mer­ous in­cor­rect mea­sure­ments. Has the prod­uct qual­i­ty de­creased? Have com­plaints arisen as a re­sult? Are cus­tomer com­plaints aris­ing? Do ma­jor re­calls have to be ini­ti­at­ed? Have we suf­fered dam­age to our im­age? Has eco­nom­ic dam­age oc­curred? Have hu­man lives been put at risk?

The risks and con­se­quences should there­fore be weighed up holis­ti­cal­ly in or­der to de­cide whether or not to car­ry out a calibration.

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