The (unexpected) impact of equipment calibration

An ABM technician calibrating automotive equipment

Calibration may not be a sexy word.

But what if regular calibration of your equipment and instruments had a more significant impact on your business than you think?

If your equipment is mission-critical to your business, you might be surprised about what can happen if it’s not calibrated regularly.

(Hint: It’s not just a technical compliance issue.)

What is calibration?

Let’s start by getting clear on what calibration really means. In essence, calibration involves comparing two measurement devices against each other and documenting the comparison. In particular, it requires comparing the device to be calibrated against a more accurate, traceable reference standard, called a calibrator. Critically, the calibrator must have valid traceability to relevant standards – otherwise, you won’t be able to trust the results.

Where is calibration relevant?

Put simply, calibration helps to ensure accurate measurements. And accurate measurements are fundamental to the quality, safety and innovation of many of the products and services we use and depend on daily – from the precise measurements required in research and development to the production of products and services across the globe.

Some examples of areas that require precise calibration include:

  1. Transport systems (e.g. cars, trains, planes, buses, petrol pumps, etc)
  2. Electronics (phones, telecommunications services, computers, appliances, and test and measurement devices)
  3. Pharmaceutical products and medications
  4. Medical devices (eg. pacemakers, sterilization equipment, etc)
  5. Aerospace systems (eg. rockets, satellites, etc)
  6. Food production, shipping and storage
  7. Scientific research, development and innovation

The unexpected benefits of calibration

While at first glance the primary purpose of calibration is simply to ensure precise measurements, the flow-on benefits of calibration (and the negative ramifications of failure to calibrate regularly) are surprisingly far-reaching.

Boosting revenue

You might not typically think of calibration as a revenue-generating activity in your business. But the reality is that it can enable businesses to increase revenue by helping manufacturers and service providers produce quality products and services that elicit positive customer reviews and loyal customers. It goes without saying that flipside is also true: failure to calibrate can result in decreased revenue for the same reasons.

Cutting costs

Calibration can also help organisations cut costs by reducing manufacturing errors and recalls. It can also save money by avoiding false acceptance and rejection of products, and by extending the useful life of production equipment.

Ensuring compliance

Regular calibration is also critical to ensure compliance with relevant regulations, standards and your company’s quality system. And even if you don’t have a quality system, often your customers will.

Fostering innovation

Calibration of equipment and instruments helps to foster innovation and technology development. Accurate measurements enable researchers to learn from experiments, advancing their knowledge and application to new scenarios – from new drugs and medical devices to micro chips and computer technology.

Staying Safe

Finally, calibration can have an enormous impact on the safety of both your employees and customers. In high-risk industries that use of volatile materials or dangerous equipment – like the oil and gas, chemical and petrochemical and energy industries for example – poor calibration can actually be life-threatening.

What next?

If you need any advice about how often you should calibrate your specific instruments, just get in touch with our expert calibration technicians. We’d be glad to help.

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