How to Calibrate an Electrical Instrument
If you take a moment to think about it, you may be surprised how much you use measuring devices in your everyday life, without even realising it. Let’s say you drive to work: the fuel meter on your car is constantly telling you how much you have used and have left, and the mileage readout tells you how far you have gone. There are other measurements being taken on your car all the time – the temperature, the oil level, and so on – and it’s not just in the car.
At home, you have electricity and gas meters, that record the amount of energy you use. And at work, things can get really complex! Many areas of industry and commerce rely upon measurements to provide efficient and accurate service. Many professions use measuring devices as a routine – engineering, for example, relies heavily on accurate measurement – but what if those measuring devices were not accurate?
The simple fact is that, over time, even the most sophisticated devices will stray from their required levels of accuracy. This is inevitable, yet the variation can be so small that it remains unnoticeable. Minor inaccuracies such as this can still lead to major problems, so you need to make sure that all your equipment – both for measuring and production – is operating within its given tolerances.
What is Calibration?
As we have said, all instruments and devices will drift from their original required point of accuracy over time. We mentioned your car: when it comes out of the factory everything will have been correctly set – calibrated, indeed – to the required tolerances. In a few years, you cannot expect your gauges to be as accurate as they were when they left the showroom, as many miles of constant movement of the tiny parts involved will lead to wear and tear.
It’s the same with many items of measuring equipment and production machinery; over time, they exceed their tolerances, which leads to problems in the finished product. Every product has a tolerance level – be it the panel fit of a car, or more minor tolerances in different items – and each one will have a standard level of tolerance that is permitted.
Calibration is simply the measurement of this tolerance, and the rectification of such, where needed, and it makes a great deal of difference in terms of whether the job will be done correctly or otherwise. Tolerance differs greatly across industries – a watchmaker, for example, will have much smaller tolerance levels than someone making larger items – but all are very important, and the value of calibration is knowing that every time a process is carried out, the same results will follow.
Who Should Calibrate?
You can train you operatives to perform calibration of their equipment in house if you wish, and with less complex equipment it is not difficult to do. There are training courses in how to use the correct calibration equipment – which will vary from job to job – that can be carried out in-house, and that will give your team the skills and understanding necessary to make the right decisions and set the calibration levels to the required standard.
Alternatively, you could engage the services of a professional outfit offering calibration services – like Calibration Lab. There are several benefits to this. One is that you get professional attention throughout, with experts who are fully trained in using the most up to date measuring equipment, and you do not have to dedicate any of your team to calibration when they have other roles to play.
If this sounds like your ideal route, check it out now, but whatever you decide to do make sure your equipment is calibrated on a regular basis.