Calibration is the direct comparison of the output of an electronic device or instrument and the accepted output of the device set by the manufacturer and industry. If there is a determined and verified difference between the outputs, the instrument will need to be tuned or calibrated in order to conform to the standard set by the manufacturer. Calibration devices come in many different designs including handheld, portable and fixed. Handheld devices are small and compact and are operated manually. 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. This process creates instruments that more accurate and precise, which is essential to the performance of measurement tools and devices in many industries.
Instrument calibration is the process through which electronic instruments are adjusted for precision and accuracy. Calibration tools use electronic signals to measure the output of an instrument; this measurement is then compared to established standards set by the manufacturer. Speedometers, ovens, lasers and scales are examples of instruments that can be or need to be calibrated.
Almost any component that takes measurements needs to be calibrated at some point; many instruments require monthly or yearly calibrations. Many industries maintain quality standards through regular calibration of necessary components to maximize output and cost effective practices. Some examples of instruments that require regular calibration are speedometers, thermometers, scales, commercial ovens, lasers, acoustic and vibration testing equipment and various other gauges. Equipment calibration is used industrially, commercially and residentially. Instruments that can be calibrated range from gas and electrical meters to pipettes to heavy duty electrical pieces. In order for calibration to be successful, it must be consistent and systematic. Calibration requires a willingness to look into any unexpected deficiency and correct it.