Calibration - What Can Go Wrong? How to Minimize Risk
Harry Spinks, Quality Consultant, TechTrology LLC, Oakdale, MN, USA
Keywords: Calibration, Quality, Measurement
Equipment calibration is a fundamental requirement for manufacturers and equipment service organizations. If your equipment isn't calibrated to meet your requirements, your product or service is at risk. This may adversely affect your product, service, and customers. Yet, many organizations don't understand the risks associated with equipment calibration. They assume that their equipment is "good" because they have a NIST traceable calibration certificate. That's not always the case.
Who's your calibration expert? Do you rely on calibration/metrology professionals within your company, your engineering (design or manufacturing) department, your quality or equipment maintenance department, or an outside service provider? In any case, you need to ensure that your equipment is calibrated to meet your manufacturing and servicing needs. And calibrated to "manufacturer's specifications" may not meet your needs. Have you verified your calibration requirements? Or did an engineer identify the equipment to buy without a specifications analysis?
How do you qualify your calibration service supplier(s)? Are they ISO 9001 certified or ISO/IEC 17025 accredited? It makes a difference. Accreditation provides a greater degree of confidence that the calibration provider is competent to calibrate your equipment. Do you compare an accredited calibration provider's scope of accreditation to your requirements? Do you know what a scope of accreditation is? Or how measurement uncertainty may impact your product?
Who does the internal audit on equipment calibration? They may be trained to be in internal auditor, but are they trained in calibration? Do they know what to look for? Most auditors do not understand calibration. The minimum requirements of ISO 9001 are not enough to ensure that your equipment meets your product and process requirements.
In this presentation, you'll learn about risks associated with outsourcing calibration and how to reduce them and what to look for in your calibration provider (external or internal). Just as there are risks with outsourcing calibration, there are many of the same risks with internal calibration (insourcing). You’ll also learn how to identify your equipment calibration requirements and ensure they are met.