View A Video on Calibration Services - A Quick Introduction
Calibration is the process through which instruments are measured and adjusted to match accepted measurement standards ensuring precision and accuracy. Measurement standards are normally set by the manufacturer and the industry. Once a margin of error between the devices has been determined, the measurements are adjusted to be identical in order to continue with a standard, high-quality output. Instruments that need to be calibrated require either a field visit from a technician or are sent to a calibration laboratory. Electrical signals are used to calibrate machines, equipment and instruments. Devices dependent on pressure, temperature or speed are calibrated to make sure devices are running efficiently, cost-effectively and up to safety and manufacturers' standards. Pipette calibration is used in medical and biological laboratory settings while torque wrench calibration is common with the use of nuts and bolts. Load cell calibration helps produce accurate weight measurements and a hardness test determines the hardness of a material in order to examine how well it resists deformation. Almost any component that takes measurements needs to be calibrated at some point. Because accuracy is essential to the performance of measurement tools and devices in many industries, regular calibration is necessary to maintain quality standards and quality assurance. In fact, many industries recommend and require that certain components are regularly calibrated.
Rather than be calibrated at a work site, devices and instruments can be sent to a calibration laboratory for professional service. A pipette, an instrument that is used in a medical setting or for molecular biology, holds and dispenses measured amounts of liquid. It must be calibrated exactly to ensure it is dispensing correct volumes of liquid. This calibration takes place in a laboratory. Pressure calibration is performed on instruments and devices that measure pressure, while temperature calibration is done on temperature-measuring instruments or devices such as a thermocouple or a resistive temperature detector. Speedometer calibration is the process of adjusting speedometers to match industry standards of precision for measurements of speed and distance. The accuracy of a speedometer is important to help car owners drive safely within legal speed limits and also because the speedometer works in conjunction with the car's odometer. Because torque is the product of force and distance, a torque wrench can be calibrated using an accurately measured weight and a known distance. Torque wrench calibration is common because the tools are widely used for the correct tightening of nuts and bolts. This is important because if a torque wrench incorrectly displays the force it may lead to under-tightening, which does not provide the proper thread loading or over-tightening, which stretches the fastener beyond its limits that may cause it to fail.
A hardness test, which is similar to calibration, determines the hardness of a material. This test examines how well a material resists deformation. Hardness tests are used to investigate strength of a material for a part instead of its performance. Scratches or indentations in the material's surface identify its key traits and are often unseen with an unaided eye. Because of the wide variety of industrial tools, processes, machines and equipment, different calibration devices are necessary to accommodate them. A load cell is a transducer that converts a force acting upon it into an analog electrical signal. This helps produce accurate weight measurements. Machine calibration is necessary because over time, a machine's performance degrades due to the wear and tear of industrial use. Vibrations, repetitious movements and pollutants can have a negative impact on the accuracy of machinery; calibration readjusts it. Equipment calibration is a very general category that includes devices, tools and instruments that exert or read measurable amounts of force, energy, current or flow. Instrument calibration makes instruments more precise, which is essential to the performance of measurement tools and devices in many industries. Calibration devices can be handheld, portable or a fixed design. Handheld devices are small, compact and are manually operated. Portable devices, in comparison, are designed to move from one place to another; they may have wheels or handles to add mobility. Fixed instruments are mounted and remain in the same place.
Calibration services have improved greatly since the rise of electronic technology. Sensors and transducers are able to provide measuring techniques that produce precise results better than any previous method. The tools and instruments that require calibration have also benefited through technology and are capable of taking measurements in a variety of locations for a range of specific needs. Before electronic calibration devices, sets of weights were used to estimate loads and perform basic calibrations, but today's high speed, high performance and high tech equipment requires precise settings and exact numbers. National associations and government-enforced agencies like the National Institute of Standards and Technology promote unity by setting their own standards and requiring that companies regularly maintain and calibrate critical components for safety and consistency reasons. Devices that perform calibration services must be very accurate; otherwise the calibration will be inaccurate. Although calibrating services are an effective way to increase the quality of various devices, they are not always one hundred percent perfect because it is not possible to know every factor that may affect the calibration process. This uncertainty must always be taken into account when considering such operations. The possibility of error is always present even with the most sensitive devices. Furthermore, the calibration services are only as good as the standards by which they are guided, so it is important to know exactly what must be done to generate accurate performance and measurements.
Calibration Service Types
- Calibration is the process through which instruments are adjusted to match manufacturing standards.
- Calibration laboratories are companies that provide calibration services.
- Equipment calibration is the process through which pieces of equipment are adjusted for precision.
- Hardness tests evaluate the hardness and/or tensile strength of a material.
- Instrument calibration is the process through which instruments are adjusted for precision.
- Load cell calibration is the process of making the measurements of force, torque and weight as accurate as possible for the load cell.
- Machine calibration is the process of adjusting machinery to a set of known standards to increase the accuracy and precision of the operation.
- Pipette calibration tests pipettes to ensure that they are able to contain and dispense precise volumes of fluid.
- Pressure calibration is the testing of pressure instrumentation for accuracy.
- Speedometer calibration is the process of adjusting speedometers to match standards.
- Temperature calibration is needed for all devices that monitor and use variance of temperature.
- Torque wrench calibration is the process of adjusting torque wrenches so that the amount of force applied is displayed correctly on the tool.
Calibration Services Terms
Accuracy - A tolerance limit that defines the deviation between an output's measurement and the actual output.Alignment
- Adjustments that bring a device to proper operation. Analog Measurement
- Measurement device that creates a continual output reading of the internal input signal. Axial Strain
- A strain on the same axis as the applied load or in the same direction of the load applied. Calibration Curve
- A record of the comparison of a device's output to the result of standard tests. Capacitor
- A storage device of energy. Compensation
- Using various devices, materials and processes to reduce known errors of a source. Equilibrium
- A state of balance or a steady state not undergoing change. Fatigue Limit
- The maximum amount of stress and deformation an object can handle. Hertz (Hz)
- The measurement of frequency in cycles per second. K-Factor
- The harmonic content of load current, which determines the safe maximum load on a power source. Mean Stress
- The difference between the maximum and minimum stress that an object can handle. Metrology
- The science of weight and measurement, or a system of weights and measurement.
Nonlinearity - The maximum deviation on a calibration curve from a straight line that is drawn among various outputs of a device, expressed as a percentage.
Output - The signal or measurement that is produced by a device.
Range - The span of values at which a meter or device will read accurately without overloading.
Resistor - Electrical load or impedance device.
Resolution - The minimal change of output in a device that is detectable.
Torque - The measure of force applied that causes rotational motion.