Many industrial processes require painstaking precision. The equipment used to mix various chemicals to make compounds from pharmaceuticals to specialty solvents must be accurate. Slight deviations can cause problems in downstream processes or in the quality of end products. The methods by which these critically important elements are maintained include regular adjustment and careful monitoring. Specialty calibration equipment that has been tested to scientifically precise standards is used to accomplish these tasks.
National and international standards organizations maintain test equipment used to calibrate field instruments. Instrumentation technicians are normally responsible for regularly scheduled re-calibration of field devices. For instance, calibration cylinders Ontario may be sent to Measurement Canada laboratories or other recognized facilities to be checked for accuracy and calibrated. In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), part of the US Department of Commerce, serves the same function.
Field calibration equipment loses accuracy over time. The level of precision required of this equipment demands regular checks and certification. Deterioration in accuracy is caused by wear of internal parts and accidental damage during use. Requirements for regular comparison to recognized standards are triggered by different circumstances.
Changes in Field Conditions
Instrumentation technicians are often the reason that field equipment is sent for recalibration. These professionals work with the devices daily and often recognize when equipment begins to deviate from normal operation. Technicians normally have established procedures for requesting that field instruments be recalibrated.
Calibration equipment manufacturers typically publish guidelines and recommended procedures for the instruments they make and sell to industry. These guidelines are established based on the known mean time between failures of critical components in the equipment.
Legal Requirements for Recalibration
Some countries have formalized the requirements levied on industry to maintain accuracy in measurement devices. Laws are enacted to enforce these standards to ensure fairness and safety in commerce. Companies that provide products and services subject to these laws can be held accountable if they fail to follow the requirements spelled out within the legislation.
Critical accuracy is required by many different industries in the manufacture and sale of goods to the public. Maintaining a system of standards helps ensure fairness and safety for workers and customers of these industrial interests. Establishing standard operating procedures to enforce regular maintenance of instrumentation is a way to keep the scales of industry accurate.