Why It's Important to Keep Your Scales Calibrated

Why It’s Important to Keep Your Scales Calibrated

December 3, 2018

When dealing with scales and similar equipment, calibration is the most critical variable to keep in mind. Without proper calibration, you can’t expect accurate readings, which means you can’t trust the equipment you’re using or the outcomes it provides.

Even if you adjust your scales regularly to avoid imprecise measurements and all of the ramifications that come with them, you still need to hire a professional calibration service.

That’s because there’s a difference between merely adjusting your scales and ensuring they’re calibrated, especially if you’re in an industry that requires them to be legal for trade. And in spite of numerous articles online on DIY scale calibration, it’s vital you leave this essential service to someone with training and experience.

What is calibration?

Calibration is defined as the comparison of measurement values from a device under test against values of a calibration standard of known accuracy. In simpler terms, calibration involves using a proven standard to reset the accuracy of a comparable measurement instrument.

Proper calibration involves two main variables: Traceability and Certainty. The standard used for calibration needs to be traced back to a precise standard (usually through NIST), and all variables must be accounted for during the calibration, providing absolute certainty of the results. Together, these two variables ensure proper calibration and accuracy from instrumentation.

Why is calibration so important?

There are so many reasons calibration of your equipment is essential, that vary widely depending on the instrumentation and industry. Here are three examples of the role calibration plays in maintaining the efficacy of equipment in specific industries:

  1. Within the food industry, precise measurements of ingredients are required to produce identical batches of product. If the flow rate systems or scales used to measure ingredients are off even slightly, it could taint the entire production. Research shows that food recalls effect 58% of businesses in the food industry. Furthermore, 21% of consumers say they’d never buy anything from a business who’d been subject to a food recall.

 

  1. If you work in manufacturing, you know that there are hundreds or even thousands of gauges and that the stresses of routine operations are going to cause extreme wear and tear. If the accuracy of even one pressure gauge isn’t correct, lives could be at risk. For example, industrial release valves open to release pressure that may otherwise lead to an explosion. A gauge that’s not correctly calibrated may not trigger the release, creating an accident that could’ve been avoided. Even if you perform regular maintenance checks on your equipment, that’s not enough.

 

  1. Structural engineers know that you can’t just wing it when it comes to concrete. There are complex equations involved as well as tests to ensure a particular mix will hold up and achieve the required compressive strength. Even slight variations in the amount of sand, cement, water, and any other materials could mean the difference between a sound structure like a large building or bridge, and complete collapse that could cause injury or loss of life on a large scale.

The reality behind calibration is that it’s essential for many important reasons, including, but not limited to safety, legal compliance, quality control, and financial concerns.

Always choose professional calibration

With so much riding on traceable, accurate calibration, there’s no substitute for a professional. Not only will a seasoned metrology expert be able to deliver a complete range of calibration services, but they’ll also be able to do it with traceable certificates and to a degree of certainty that’s not possible otherwise.

The result of professional calibration is peace of mind—confidence that you’re staying compliant with industry regulations, safe against potential problems, accurate when it comes to monetary concerns and reliable when it comes to your reputation.

Calibration and metrology are much more complicated than we could explore in this article. To learn more about the calibration process and why it’s so important,  contact the team at Texas Measurement & Calibration Solutions, LLC, or leave your question in the comment section below.

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