Calibration Explained


For those who work in laboratories, or use laboratory-type equipment, understanding calibration is essential. Proper calibration is the best way to ensure that equipment can accurately report results, and without it errors will inevitably begin to creep into research data.

If you’re a beginner to the art, then here are a few questions to improve your understanding and ensure that your instruments work without a hitch…

What is Instrument Calibration?

Instrument calibration is the process used to maintain experimental accuracy. Properly calibrated, an instrument will always deliver a result within an acceptable range, ensuring that any research is precise and useful for the purposes of those carrying it out.

The exact procedure used to calibrate an instrument varies from product to product, but it usually relies upon specialist tools from companies like MCS Test Equipment. These tools work by ‘teaching’ the instruments to produce results that are more accurate than they would otherwise be. This means that when samples of unknown values are tested, the equipment is able to deliver a reliable result.

Properly conducted, this process should eventually eliminate all instrument error.

Why is Instrument Calibration Important?

Although we expect products to work accurately from the word ‘go’, failing to properly calibrate equipment can lead to it producing test results that vary from the sample value. The effect of this is very simple: it leads to errors.

Calibration reduces, if not entirely eliminates, this issue, ensuring that the product produces results that are within the manufacturer’s accuracy specification, and which can be relied upon to be correct.

How Frequently Should Calibration Occur?

The most correct response regarding frequency of calibration is that it should be carried out whenever it needs to be, but this is unhelpful for all but the most astute operators of tools that need calibrating.

In the case of the most precise instruments, such as those used in laboratories, for example, this procedure may need to be carried out daily. Even if this is not the case, it is useful to conduct daily checks for at least a fortnight initially, in order to establish whether or not performance is stable. If it is, then calibration can be implemented less frequently; if it is not, then recalibration is warranted.

For those who must use these instruments in a professional capacity, establishing a system of testing is often fairly simple, as this is likely to be dictated by standard laboratory operating procedures.

Make sure that you understand the necessity and importance of calibration today in order to ensure accuracy and precision in your every endeavour.