8 Essential Questions to Consider before Hiring a Calibration Services Provider

Equipment calibration is an essential process for all companies in the food and pharma sectors, since it tests the performance of machinery and equipment. In an industry where product quality is closely tied with consumer health and safety, the accuracy and reliability of manufacturing equipment are crucial factors.

When you’re looking for a calibration service provider, consider these 8 important questions:

1. Does the Lab Have Accreditation?
Accredited service providers and calibration labs have gone through a rigorous process of testing to gain certification according to industry standards. This indicates that they have been deemed competent enough to provide quality calibration services by a third-party authority or organisation. Ask the lab about their accreditation status, and look for ISO 9001 as well as ISO/IEC 17025 certification.

2. How Much Equipment Can It Calibrate?
In a manufacturing or processing setup, there’s more than one piece of equipment that requires regular calibration. Check whether the lab can offer equipment calibration for all the key machinery you use, or at least a majority of it. When one service provider takes care of all your calibration needs, the time and cost savings are far greater, and operations can continue seamlessly with minimal disruption.

3. Can It Cater to Your Specific Needs?
Other than the quantity of equipment that needs to be calibrated, your service provider should also be able to take specific options, ranges, parameters and accuracies into account, as per the specifications you set down. This is especially important for equipment designed to perform specific tasks, so create a list of your requirements and discuss them with the lab.

4. Are the Calibration Standards Traceable?
In heavily-regulated industries like food and pharma, measurements taken by your equipment (as well as the standard device used for equipment calibration) need to meet national or international standards. Not only is this part of cGMP guidelines, but a calibration report with an unbroken chain of reference to industry-accepted standards gives you greater peace of mind about equipment accuracy.

5. How Detailed is the Report?
You may require a lot of detailed information and feedback (based on industry regulations, customer needs, audits, etc.), only to find that the equipment calibration report covers the bare basics alone. Request the lab for a sample report to check whether in addition to test results, it includes equipment information, test specifications and coverage, details about traceability and tolerances, etc.

6. How Long Will It Take?
Since you need to plan for scheduled maintenance or downtime when you’re having equipment calibrated, ask the service provider for an estimated completion time frame. Include potential delays (like transporting equipment to and from the lab, repairs or adjustments, etc.) in addition to calibration time. The longer it takes, the longer your operations are halted, so look for providers that offer expedited or onsite calibration services.

7. Does the Lab Also Conduct Repairs or Adjustments?
In case any device fails to meet performance standards (within specified limits and accuracies) during equipment calibration tests, getting it repaired or adjusted on the spot will save you a lot of time, effort and money. Looking for another vendor and then sending the item in for repairs also means your production processed might be halted for longer than necessary, affecting turnaround time and profits alike.

8. Is Calibration History/Data Computerised?
If a calibration lab uses software designed for asset or inventory management, it’s easier for you to track and monitor equipment calibration history. It’s especially important for larger manufacturing plants or those spread across multiple geographical locations. Specialised software lets you check everything in one place, right from past, upcoming or in-progress calibrations, to detailed reports and certificates.

At RS Calibration, we are fully equipped to handle your onsite and laboratory calibration requirements. We are a fully accredited lab, and our team of experienced technicians is dedicated to offering speedy, reliable and accurate calibration services. If you want to know more about how we can help you, contact us now!

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