Any business that uses weighing instruments must have a process for calibration to ensure that the device is accurate. Customer requirements are generally considered to be an important consideration when outlining calibration procedures. Calibration is vital for certain businesses where even a few milligrams or ounces can make a major difference in profits and toxicity; for example in the jewelry or pharmaceutical industries.
Based on the type of calibration procedure being used, sufficient information needs to be provided to staff and any personnel involved in calibration. Calibration is not a one-shot deal but must be done on a periodic basis. In the long run, periodic calibration also results in a longer lifespan of the scale.
Essentially, assessing your calibration service is imperative for the success of your business.
Here are five tips to assess your calibration service:
1. Calibration by Weight
There are several methods of calibrating a scale or a balance. Most business-owners use approved calibrated weights, which are available in many weights ranging from 1 gram to 1000 grams. One should always use a full set of weights compatible with the scales weight capacity to ensure accuracy.
2. Approved Test Weight
It is necessary that you use test weights that are approved by your local metrology association (e.g., ASTM, OIML) in order to have your balance or scale certified. There are other non-approved test weights available which may be cheaper and may even serve the purpose but which may not be certified.
3. External Calibration
This is usually a manual process where you use a set of approved calibration weights. If you use external calibration, you need to know that these weights must be kept in a dirt-free environment and the weights should be carefully maintained to ensure that they do not gain or lose any mass. Otherwise, their use is invalid.
You essentially place the calibration weight and balance your scale. For example, if the calibration weight is 100 mg, then the weight set on the scale is 100 mg.
4. Internal Calibration
Internal calibration permits the weighing device to calibrate itself automatically without the need for external weights or any type of manual input. If you use internal calibration, you have the option to use several types of machines with varying technology. However, the type of internal calibration you choose depends on the make, model, and price of your scale. There are also some scales and balances that permit you to set calibration at specific time intervals – just like updating your computer with an anti-virus program.
Most of the internal calibration can be done with the press of a button which then uses built-in calibration weights to check the accuracy of your machine.
There are many online tutorials on YouTube and other platforms that are published by the equipment manufacturers. These tutorials guide you through the external calibration process and can become more familiar with the calibration method you use.
The importance of balanced calibration cannot be understated.
In general, external calibration is less costly, even after the purchase of the calibrated weights but the process is labor intensive and requires time and dedicated staff. External calibration requires one to maintain proper care of both the balance and the weights, but the process of calibration is relatively easy. Internal calibration is ideal for those who do not have the time or the resources to calibrate the device manually.
However, it is important to know that internal calibration does vary with motion, changes in temperature, and even fluctuating power. More importantly, machines with internal calibration tend to be more expensive.
Finally, do read the instructions manual of the machine you buy and follow the guidelines.