How Often Do You Need to Calibrate Instruments?

Do you use measuring instruments at work? Or do you operate machinery that needs to operate strictly to defined tolerances? In industry, it will be very surprising if you don’t, and it happens in all areas of the commercial world, too.

In fact, instrumentation that needs to show a measurement within certain tolerances is all around us, but we may not realise it. Think about your kitchen: the heat display on your oven may not be entirely accurate, but it will be to a certain degree, and that will be determined by an industry standard which sets the level that all such devices should follow.

In your car, you rely on a number of measurements that need to be accurate: your fuel gauge, for example, will show you how much you have left, and sometimes how far you have to go. Your oil tank will also carry a measuring device, and the temperature of your car – plus many other factors – will be measured on a constant basis.

But what if any of these measurements were inaccurate? Indeed, what if you work in industry where you rely on your output to be within the tolerances prescribed, but in fact they are not? This is where calibration comes into the picture.

Calibration Explained

Take a look at your watch, or a nearby clock. How accurate is it? No clock keeps time 100% correctly, although some are better than others. A traditional, wind-up manual watch will be accurate only to a certain degree, and will require resetting every now and again to display the real time. This is what calibration is all about: making sure that a device is starting from the right position.

Another example: a digital micrometer, used in many areas of industry and commerce to measure small gaps. These devices need to return a level of accuracy that has a very small tolerance, but what happens if they are not measuring from true zero? The results, no matter how small, of such inaccuracies can have far reaching consequences, and the same applies to production machinery that may also not be true.

In all of these cases, regular and correct calibration is required, and whether you have the people in-house to get it done, or you engage the services of a third party, it is important that you understand that calibration of all measuring equipment, gauges and production equipment – as well as timing devices – is done so on a regular basis.

How Regular is Regular?

The regularity with which you choose to calibrate your machinery and equipment depends upon the purpose. Measuring instruments should be checked against the standards every now and again, depending upon how much they are used, while for production machinery, it may be essential to check the calibration at the outset of every production run. There will be industry standards prescribed that should help you, or you can contact the experts at Powerpoint Engineering and get advice on your calibration needs.

It is sometimes the best way to get a third party involved, especially for one-off calibrations that will not need doing for a while. For daily calibration needs – for milling machines or other precision items – you need to make sure your operators are suitably trained in the calibration procedure.

Also, you need to remember that any meters or measuring devices you use – electrical or manual – also need to be calibrated, as all can be subject to drift over time. For expert help, get in touch with one of the calibration companies that offer a full range of services, and they will be more than happy to make sure you are doing things correctly.

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