Accuracy and precision count
Whichever industry you work in, precision and weighing accuracy count. If you cannot prove or account for the accuracy of the measurements you are taking on a daily basis, then you run the risk of serious quality, operational and customer issues.
The accuracy of your measuring equipment becomes less reliable over time. This is down to a number of natural and environmental factors.
During the course of normal wear and tear, your scales will deteriorate. In the case of severe mechanical shock, or use in hazardous and/or flammable environments, this can happen quite quickly.
Before-use, in-house testing can be useful
Whether deterioration occurs instantly or over a period of time, measurements can naturally drift and not be spotted.Periodic calibration will highlight any issues, but this can also be backed up with your own before-use, random testing to ensure any major problems can be immediately dealt with.
What are the key business benefits of calibration?
Aside from the legal complications, practical and customer issues that ‘out of calibration’ equipment can lead to, accurate weighing leads to multiple business benefits.
1. Cost savings – by avoiding process and manufacturing problems, significant financial gains can be secured.
2. Detecting aged equipment or scales that need repair. Natural drift is confirmed during periodic calibration – this may have been undiscovered without it.
3. Quality compliance – quality compliance is a huge marketing and business benefit. Calibration records will be checked during quality audits hence you do need to ensure records are up-to-date and accessible for relevant equipment.
4. Reliable measurements – your final product is less likely to be compromised if weighing scale equipment is routinely calibrated.
5. Process and financial improvement – interpretation of calibration results in relation to defined tolerances, improves process control and accuracy – and ultimately profit.
Understanding how calibration works
In its simplest form, calibration is a quantitative comparison. Reference weights will be placed on the loading surface of your weighing device and a reading will be taken.
An error is defined as a difference between the measured value (the reading) and the true value (the reference weight).
Tolerances determine whether or not your balance or scales meet a particular set of process requirements. Tolerances stem from a variety of sources, including legal agencies, manufacturing industries, and the process itself.
How often does my equipment need to be calibrated?
This will depend on the nature of your equipment, how often it is used, where it is used, the environment, etc.
The best way of proceeding is to ask the advice of your UKAS-qualified calibration engineer. For instance, even if you are using the same scales in different environments, the calibration requirement may vary, ie: scales may react differently in hot, humid environments, but less so in a cold, refrigerated area.
Who is UKAS?
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (or UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the United Kingdom.
UKAS is recognised by UK Government. They assess organisations that provide certification, testing, inspections and calibration services, against agreed international standards.
Any business claiming to carry out UKAS authorised calibration inspections must be a UKAS accredited laboratory.
Authorised UKAS calibrations must be carried out on site. Many UKAS-calibration providers have had their laboratory testing facilities assessed as part of their approval.
Calibration before use, or following significant movement
Even before industrial weighing scales are used for the first time, or if they have been moved from one site to another, the operating manual may recommend that they be calibrated or re-calibrated. Why? Even small changes to the device, in terms of location or deterioration caused by excessive movement, can have big consequences in terms of the measurements you take and the products you sell on.
So calibration is essential for today’s successful businesses. Without it, measuring and weighing would be down to pure guesswork and that’s not something to be recommended.
Whether you own your industrial weighing equipment, are considering scale rental, weighing scales hire, or short-term scale hire, calibration is essential.