If a business uses scales at various stages of operations, calibrating these scales is essential. Regardless of if the weighing instrument is designed for heavy use, its accuracy will eventually decrease. Exposure to factors such as electric shock, mechanical shock, moisture, and dirt will further hasten the scale’s degradation.
What is scale calibration?
Calibrating a scale involves a specific process conducted by a technician. There are regulatory standards that these technicians need to follow for scale calibration. Since accurate measurements are critical in production quality, businesses that do not use calibrated scales will encounter problems such as poor product quality or product recalls.
Types of scale calibration
A brand-new scale usually undergoes factory calibration, which means that calibration occurred while the instrument was still in the manufacturing facility. However, when the product was transported and ultimately delivered to you, the accuracy of the scale may have been affected by a variety of factors. For example, the elevation of the factory is different from your facility, which could impact the scale’s performance.
Instead of relying on factory calibration, every new scale should undergo on-site calibration as well. There are third-party services that perform calibration on-site to ensure that the equipment functions with optimum accuracy. In choosing a calibration service, you also need to make sure that they also perform additional services, including repairs and adjustments. Some scales are tested and calibrated using weights like 25 lb calibration weights.
Benefits of a calibrated scale
Scale calibration, when conducted by a reputable provider has the following benefits:
- Pass both external and internal compliance audits
- Prevent waste and save costs
- Reliability and consistency with measurements
- Improved operational standards
- Increase in profit
- Timely detection of defective equipment that needs replacement or repair
Calibrating weighing scales in industrial settings is also crucial to maintain safety standards in the workplace.
Frequency of scale calibration
Whenever a scale is calibrated, there is a calibration certificate issued. In most cases, the report will indicate the validity of the calibration. However, in determining the right calibration interval, you need to take into account specific risk factors. The higher the risk factors that affect the scale’s performance, the more frequent you need to calibrate.
Not following a risk-based calibration interval is risky. There are many issues which could arise when leaving scales uncalibrated. Some examples of these problems are:
- Frequent downtimes
- Products do not meet quality standards
- Not meeting compliance requirements
- Failed audits
There are also external factors, such as environmental conditions which add to the scale’s wear and tear. Therefore, it is necessary to assess the risks first and follow the recommended periodic scale calibration.
Is scale calibration different from scale adjustment?
It is common to confuse the terms ‘adjustment’ and ‘calibration’ when working with weighing scales. By strict definition, calibration refers to the process of determining how the equipment behaves. An integral part of calibration involves deriving measurement uncertainty. Without measurement uncertainty, you cannot call it a calibration but merely a spot check.
On the other hand, adjusting a scale means that you are only modifying the measurement indications so that it complies with the standards in place.
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