Establishing a Calibration Cycle
Question: How often should I calibrate my devices?
One of the most common questions we are asked is: “…how often do I need to calibrate my instruments?” Well, guess what, there’s no simple answer. Each customer’s situation is unique and the situation for each individual tool or gauge is unique as well.
You need ask yourself:
What are the requirements of my quality system?
What are the requirements of my customers?
What is the stability of my instrument?
What is the skill level and training of my people? (those using the calibrated devices?)
What are the consequences of an out of tolerance condition on my process or product?
What are the recommendations of the manufacturer?
What is the current calibration history for the gage in question?
Are there any special environmental considerations that may affect the device?
Answer those questions and you ‘re on your way to developing an effective and economical calibration cycle for your instrument or device.
So, as you can see, there’s no simple answer to the seemingly simple question and each situation is different. Most customers use an initial calibration cycle of 1-year and then use calibration history to adjust their calibration cycles for longer of shorter periods within the guidance of their quality system. You need to do what’s best for you and your specific application.
J & M Instrument Service, Inc. utilizes the “Edison Mudcats” Metrology Suite to perform calibrations and generate calibration reports. Using this software, we have the ability to mine historical calibration data to produce calibration reliability reports by make, model, by customer, or over our entire customer database. After we’ve been calibrating your instruments for a while these reports can then be used to help you develop the most cost-effective calibration cycles, without seriously jeopardizing quality.