Just what is a calibration service? What do they do, why should you hire them and what can you expect from a professional calibration service?
Well, it’s easiest to think of it this way. If accurate measurements are at the heartbeat of your company, then a calibration service is a regular check up on that heartbeat!
What is Calibration?
At its most clinical, you could say that calibration is the association between measurements.
Like we said, very clinical!
In practical terms, calibration is all about ensuring that any instruments you use in your business give you a true reading. As one example, if you ran a bakery and your staff were measuring flour and sugar they would use scales to weigh out the correct measurements of the ingredients.
If they measure out 1 kilogram of flour on their scales, then you would expect that the container they weigh the flour into now contains 1kg, right?
Unfortunately, and for a variety of reasons this is not necessarily the case – and this is where a professional calibration service comes into play!
What is a Calibration Service?
At its most basic, a professional calibration service will ensure that the measuring scales we are talking about in this example are measuring out exactly what they say they are.
They do this by providing what is called a “Standard” – in this case a standard weight. They will use this to calibrate weighing and measuring machinery.
How would a professional calibration company ensure that the bakery’s scale are weighing out that 1kg of flour the staff were aiming for? One simple reason way is to put a weight onto the scale that is exactly accurate – i.e. a 1kg weight that weights exactly 1kg.
The measuring scale is then calibrated so that it accurately weighs at 1kg. A range of weights can be used to ensure total accuracy.
Do they Only Calibrate Weighing Scales?
Oh no – in fact weighing scales are probably one of the easiest measuring tools to calibrate – that’s why we used them as an example!
In reality, a good and professional calibration service company will be able to calibrate near enough any tool or piece of equipment that provides a measurement.
So this could be a measurement of weight, it could be measurements of:
- Temperature such as digital thermometers and temperature probes
- PAT (Portable Appliance Testing)
- Equipment to measure pressure, such as pressure and vacuum gauges, Relief valves and digital manometers
- Torque wrenches and screwdrivers
- Voltage testers, including High Voltage capable tools
- Gas Detection tools
Essentially, if your business relies on measuring using equipment – whether this is temperature, pressure, torque, whatever – then you need those tools to be as accurate as possible.
Why Use a Calibration Service?
If you need complete accuracy then the best way to achieve this is via accurate measuring tools. The best way to have accurate tools is to ensure that they are regularly calibrated by a professional service.
First off, a calibration service can offer what is called a pre-calibration. This is used on box fresh tools and equipment to establish the calibration thresholds and to ensure that the tool is ready to go and provide accurate measurements immediately.
Over time, a measuring device can “drift.” This just means that as times passes, the equipment can move away from its original calibration point. Once this happens, the measurements are going to get less and less accurate – until they reach a point when they are all but useless.
The calibration service will work to both return the equipment to as true a calibration as they can, and to minimize drift as much as possible until the next calibration.
In this way you can truly trust that the equipment you are using is giving the truest measurements possible – each and every time.