Calibration Certificates Explained

Have you ever wondered what the key elements are that you should look for on a calibration certificate ? Or what it all means and why it could be significant to you ? This article provides the answers to those questions with examples from a typical certificate and extracts from its associated measurement report. Feature
Supplier's contact details Service type Unique tracking and/or certificate number

Tells you who is responsible for the service. Essential if you have a query about the calibration. Most suppliers offer a variety of service levels with different attributes. Should agree with your order. The supplier's key to all their records. A crucial aspect of traceability.

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Equipment identification Calibrations relate to an individual item of equipment, not a product sample. Customer identification If your equipment was subcontracted, your supplier will be the customer, perhaps indicating that it was on your behalf. Identifies whether it was performed at he customer's premises ("on -site" and perhaps in-situ which may limit the scope of testing), the supplier's particular branch or depot, or if a subcontractor was used. Measurements made by a subcontractor may or may n ot be transparent to the end-customer so it's wise to seek assurances about your supplier's policy. Some calibrations take more than 1 day so will generally be the calibration enddate. The date from which users determine the next due calibration. Temperature, humidity and sometimes altitude (pressure) are most often found as they can affect equipment characteristics. A single value without control limits is meaningless. Reference to a documented procedure is an aspect of traceability. Like the record of calibration standards used, it enables precise repetition of the test in case of query. Affirmation of compliance with, or independent certification against, international conformity assessment standards such as ISO9001 or ISO17025. May be service level dependent. A statement that clearly indicates whether the equipment was met stated criteria or not, upon receipt and at completion of calibration. May include concise details of tests that failed to meet defined criteria. May be service level dependent. Indication of the tested functions and their status, maybe in conjunction with a measurement report. Should particularly identify significant omissions from manufacturer's recommendations (if any) or known user requirements. Concerns the likelihood that a spec compliance determination is correct and relates to the uncertainty (or adequacy) of measurement. By international agreement this is generally 95% (coverage factor of 2) but may require higher or accept a lower probability if the risk tolerance is higher in your application.

Test location


Test date Test conditions

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Test methodology


Standards conformity


Performance summary

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Scope of testing

Confidence level

Acceptance limits used Often citing a published specification, it enables confirmation that the appropriate of reference publication criteria was used for your particular application. Print or issue date Page numbering If amendments are later found necessary, a later issue date should appear to maintain a chronological paper trail. Have you received the complete records?

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Details concerning Usually an affirmation concerning the national metrology institutes to which, traceability to ultimately, the supplier's calibration standards can be related through an international "unbroken chain of comparisons of stated accuracy". measurement standards Measured values, particularly for nonconforming tests Necessary if correctional data is to be used and also for testpoints that fail to meet specification. The degree of deviation is needed to establish whether re-work or product recall is necessary if integrity has been compromised. May be service level dependent.

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Clarity of acceptance (or Is it easy to verify the equipment's status? It is if measured values and test limits spec) limits and are in the same format and units. The measurement resolution must be measured values appropriate to the test limit resolution.

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