Friday, January 3, 2014

Calibration Of Electrical Test Equipment

Maintaining and ensuring your test equipment is properly calibrated is essential if you are to obtain good and usable results from your experiments. Test equipment machines are only as good as the results they provide and if your machine is poorly maintained and inaccurate then obviously so will your conclusions be.

When you first purchase a brand new piece of testing equipment it should normally arrive with a certificate confirming that it was calibrated before leaving the manufacturers. Throughout the life of the apparatus it is important to have it regularly serviced and maintained and most importantly calibrated. The certificate that comes with re-calibration is your proof of a well-maintained machine and this will work in your favour when qualifying your test results.

A calibration certificate is also useful should you wish to sell any piece of machinery. You are more likely to get a good price if you are able to provide an audit trail, which proves that your equipment has been well looked after and cared for, and that its reliability can be confirmed.

Along with proof of calibration for quality audits and proof that your apparatus meets nationally accepted requirements it will also show the level and professionalism to which it has been calibrated.

When checking on the calibration certificate for a particular machine, especially if you are buying a used or second-hand model, make sure it has the following information: The correct instrument identification number, environmental conditions at the time of calibration, proof that the tests were conducted to a high standard and that there is an auditable, paper trail for the particular machine.

Quite often used models are sold as seen and you will have to pay an additional cost for calibration to be undertaken. Should you require this additional service, make sure you have the correct documentation afterwards.

You can also request a calibration certificate with data. While most certificates confirm the working parameters you may wish to have a copy of the actual data modes and ranges that the machine was tested against. Although tests conducted with data provided give you an accurate indication of the machine's capabilities, the extra information does also tend to cost that little bit extra.

Remember, whether you are buying a brand new test appliance or a second-hand one, or if you are perhaps leasing it, always check to make sure the equipment has been accurately calibrated to produce the desired information you are looking for.

As an engineer, Alex has re-calibrated used test equipment for years. Although his expertise is centred around electrical test equipment, he has been involved with project of many other natures.
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