REDwire New to calibration? Here are the 5Ws on what you need to know

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Calibration services are performed by certified specialists who are versed equipment or instrument measurement and testing.

When you step onto a bathroom scale to check your weight, did you ever do a double take when the number that is staring back at you seems inaccurate?

Whether the number was lower (or more often than not, higher) than originally anticipated, the probable culprit is nothing more than the scale being off kilter.

From household items such as scales, to commercial instruments, including industrial food thermometers, calibration helps to measure weight, gauge temperatures and keep everything in between in balance.

Calibration is a technique performed by certified specialists who are versed in equipment or instrument measurement and testing.  

Tip the balance in your favour to be informed on the 5Ws of calibration and calibration techniques.

What is calibration?

Calibration is defined as the act or process of comparing the accuracy of one instrument against a standard using a measuring device.

For example, when you slide your finger across the dial of the bathroom scale to align the needle to point at “0”, you are in fact calibrating (or balancing) the scale so that the reading of weight is precise once you step onto it.

Who performs professional calibration?

Qualified technicians perform calibration repair, maintenance and service and follow equipment and instrument calibration manufacturer specifications.

Licensed calibration services are done within laboratories, complete with calibration certificate and written reports on the measurement data obtained.

Industry standards such as the National Institute of Standards of Technology, as well as ISO-9001, are followed to ensure that work completed is done in accordance with industry standards to ensure quality assurance and control.

Where to calibrate?

A wide spectrum of industries use calibration to perform multiple applications, including electrical calibration (to measure voltage and electricity); gas and hydraulic pressure calibration (think barometers or air pressure gauges); mechanical calibration (to test industrial equipment) and temperature calibration (such as thermometers or weather data systems).

When to calibrate?

How often an instrument needs calibration depends on the frequency of use of the instrument or piece of equipment to be calibrated.

Licensed calibration technicians recommend calibrating commercially used instruments or industrial equipment annually, although it is also quite common to increase this frequency to every six to nine months, depending on how important exact measurements are to your specific application, product or service.

Why calibrate?

By its own definition, calibration equals accuracy, so having a repeated, consistent measurement over time ensure that the level of reading error is next to nil.

Going back to your scale in the bathroom, have you ever noticed when the needle of the scale tends to drift away from the midpoint over time?

To avoid feelings of guilt from having that extra scoop of ice cream for dessert, it’s important to calibrate the scale (or put it back to its neutral position) so that you don’t have to sweat it out at the gym for an extra 30 minutes to work off that ice cream. Although, an extra half an hour at the gym is still good for you anyway.

Remember that the lower the incidence of inaccurate readings, the higher the chance that the equipment used to measure objects (or weigh) will most likely be consistent and reliable.

And the bonus question: how is calibration done?

Find out the answer by visiting Chevrier Instruments to learn more details about the calibration process, including our anemometer calibration services, a unique offering exclusive to our labs in Montreal, Quebec.


Chevrier Instruments Inc.

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