ONLY THAT WHICH IS MEASURED CAN BE IMPROVED
While our country seeks for ways to bear this economic downturn, companies will have to find efficient ways of maximizing profits while reducing expenses. Transportation, industry, trade – everything our economic world revolves around is affected by measurement. A price is attributed to a quantity of goods when traded or used.
What measures that quantity? The answer is ‘some piece of equipment or instrument’. Is this equipment an array of impeccably flawless machines always correctly quantifying amounts? The answer is ‘No’.
Equipment and instruments need to be serviced, validated, calibrated and kept in check. Calibration is about quality control, proper measurement and knowing every detail about quantifying your product and service. Calibration is the key to stepping ahead of the competition and maintaining a good brand.
What is Calibration?
A calibration is an operation which establishes a relation between values indicated by a measuring instrument and a known measurement standard. The result of a calibration is uncertainty – the range in which you can expect your measurements to deviate. A calibration should not be confused with adjustment of a measuring system, often mistakenly called “self-calibration”, nor with verification of calibration. A calibration is not just a mere comparison between a known and an unknown but a scientific calculation itself.
If instruments are not calibrated routinely they can ‘drift’ due to environmental effects such as temperature, pressure, dust, etc. Thus its inaccuracy of measurement will increase over time and will become unreliable. Here are 3 ways in which calibration can affect your profits.
- Inaccurate equipment – profit/losses, inefficiencies
In a production factory type environment, equipment which is not properly calibrated can lead to large energy and product losses. For example in a bottled water production facility, if a piece of equipment which fills water in bottles is overfilling the bottles, a few milliliters of water is going to be wasted each time a water bottle is filled, eventually adding up to liters and hundreds of gallons of water being wasted each day. Not only is this a loss in profit for the company, it’s also bad for the environment as most bottled water comes from naturally occurring spring water. Proper measurement and calibration can ensure that water is filled to the correct level each time, leading to no wastage of water. Similarly in an environment where powdered milk is being packaged by weight, a lack of calibration can lead to the customer getting more milk per pack or less milk in some cases. This can lead to either the customer or the company losing money. In like environments, similar problems can occur in product packaging and weighing. These problems can easily be controlled by routinely calibrating equipment to track drift.
- Quality assurance – accreditation
Once a company is producing reports to clients which contain measurements, the validity of those measurements presents a risk to the client. If that client cannot quantify how much error is associated with tests being done, they are unsure of how that affects a product or processes they control. For a company to become ISO certified and especially ‘ISO 9001:2015, Quality Management’, the standard requires that for all equipment to produce valid results, they must be routinely calibrated and verified. Specifically this is found in ISO 9001-Clause 7.6, control of monitoring and measuring equipment. This must also be done at regular intervals so that control can be established over results being produced. If your company is moving toward ISO 9002:2015 accreditation then calibration of equipment will become key to minimizing risk to customers.
- Metrology Act of Trinidad and Tobago
Proclaimed on the 1st of May 2015 this act defines the International System of Units (the SI Unit) to be the primary system of measurement in Trinidad and Tobago. It sets out the specific units that should be used when trading for example; the kilogram for measurement of mass and Kelvin for temperature. It states the Bureau of Standards can appoint inspectors of Metrology for proper administration of the act. These inspectors will also have the power to request documents describing the accuracy of equipment being used for trade and also detain that measuring device or goods which he believes has violated that act (Act No. 18 of 2004, Page 349). Though not fully enforced at this time, accurate and precise measurement backed by well maintained equipment for the purposes of trade will not only be best practice but enforced by law. The principle behind this act is for all trade to take place at a point where each party received the same value for money.
As companies strive to become more competitive, costs and quality of work will become increasingly important. It is only when a parameter is measured, can it be controlled and improved. Calibration of instruments helps track drift, minimize it and ensure the validity of results produced by any equipment or processes. Without accurate data you cannot have confidence in service.
For more information about calibration and how it can help you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 299-0210 ext 5048. We are always willing and able to find the best possible solutions for your calibration needs.