Thursday 19 May 2016

Should You Try New Approaches to Instrument Calibration?

Validation and instrument calibration are a necessity in every manufacturing and production unit. Calibration procedures have witnessed some changes and new techniques have been introduced. New approaches such as instrument diagnostics and calibration analysis have significantly improved efficiency. Read on to know more.


It is essential that instruments and devices used in your company are routinely calibrated to ensure that you get accurate measurements. However, it should be noted that not all instruments need to be calibrated at the same time or with the same frequency. Instrument diagnostics is the practice of analyzing the level of calibration different instruments require and which instruments can be shifted from periodic schedule to on-demand calibration.

While some devices have to be calibrated periodically without fail, the less critical instruments can be monitored carefully to observe if they indicate any change that needs immediate attention, which then should be calibrated as per requirement. On-demand calibration will eliminate hundreds of unnecessary calibrations per year. Instrument diagnostics ensure that efficiency is increased by folds, without compromising on the quality.


Calibration was a manual process and so was documenting. With automation, it became possible to achieve paperless calibration where the data pertaining to calibration can be recorded, stored and documented electronically. Paper is completely eliminated which helps in saving money.

The calibration process can be significantly streamlined by optimizing periodic calibration schedules, synchronizing instrument data in the calibration management system and using documenting calibrators. Paperless documentation allows technicians to access the required information and upload calibration results from any location, at any time. Further, it eliminates the necessity for administrative technicians and staff to manually fill out the data which usually takes a lot of hours. Needless to say, paperless calibration is faster, efficient and streamlined.


If possible, the interval between calibrations can be extended to reduce the overall number of procedures that are performed annually. These extensions are done in a manner that they remain in compliance with company regulations and policies. Calibration analysis identifies those instruments that don’t need to be calibrated as often as the others. This is achieved through an on-going, computer-driven analysis of the available historical data.

Calibration analysis includes safety and quality related instruments which need to be calibrated on a schedule but it has to ensure that the calibrations are done on the right schedule. It doesn’t matter if you calibrate some instruments on a yearly basis instead of calibrating every six months, but you have carefully monitor and check if they are performing as designed without compromising or affecting the quality between calibrations.

Results of Practicing New Approaches of Calibration

A number of critical instruments were observed to study if they showed any tendency to under-performed when the calibrations intervals were extended. All the product-related instruments were studied and depending on the result, they were moved into the ‘on-demand’ schedule. It was ensured that none of the instruments were over-calibrated or under-calibrated. Instrument calibration and diagnostics showed promising results and an increased efficiency by facilitating the following:

Reduced the time spent per calibration by at least 15 minutes, which equated to hundreds of hours saved per thousands of calibrations

Thousands of sheets of paper were saved per year
Over 200 hundred calibrations eliminated every year by extending calibrating intervals

A minimum of 500 hours saved per week due to elimination of manual data entry

Reduction in human errors

At least 30% of instruments (not related to safety and quality) shifted from scheduled calibration to an on-demand schedule, annually saving up to approximately 300 hours.

Author Bio:

Edward Simpson is a seasoned Calibration and Technical Engineer working for RS Calibration Inc. Edward has a knack for finding faults in machines and does not rest until they are rectified to perfection. He lives in Pleasanton, CA and can be contacted anytime for matters related to machines on his email He also invites people to visit his company to learn more about the type of calibration work he does.

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