Do I Need Calibration?

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Russ Edwards

Published on 18 February 2021

The short answer is yes! The benefits to your business of having equipment regularly calibrated far outweigh the cost of the calibration service. 

Here’s an example.

Mr. X has a factory selling cake mix. 

His staff weigh out 1000g bags of his mix that are then sold to his customers. In the factory there are 10 sets of scales, and none of the scales are regularly calibrated. What Mr. X doesn’t realise is that half of his scales are out of tolerance and his cake mix is actually leaving the factory at 1002g each. 2g doesn’t sound like a lot of product, but the cost implications soon add up.

Let’s take a look at what that costs him on a daily basis…

Mr. X’s cake mix is valued at £5 per kilogram (0.5p per g).

This means that it is costing 1p extra per overweight bag (0.005 x 2 = 0.01)

Each of the 10 scales are weighing 200 packs of cake mix per day, of which 5 are out of tolerance.

(1p x 200 packs) x 5 uncalibrated scales = £10.00 lost per day

Again, this doesn’t sound a lot of money, but let’s see what that means over a working year. 

(working days x weeks per year) x daily loss = annual loss

(5 days x 52 weeks) x £10.00 = £2,600

(7 days x 52) x £10.00 = £3,640

 

This small example shows how calibration could benefit your business and save you money, and this is before we have even touched on the legality of Mr. X selling his products by weight using uncalibrated scales!

Here’s a slightly different example using measurements rather than weight.

Mrs. Y has a large engineering works producing flanges for underwater pipelines. 

She manufactures an expensive flange that is machined to precise specifications to ensure a proper fit when installed. They have 6 large tapped holes to take huge bolts that allow the underwater pipelines to be secured together. After production all the holes are checked with a thread gauge to ensure that they have been drilled and tapped to the correct specification. However, the thread gauge has not been sent for calibration for several years as it is presumed to be correct and has gradually drifted out of tolerance. 2 of the holes in one flange were not drilled correctly, but because of the worn thread gauge, this wasn’t picked up on during the QA inspection. 

The flange was delivered to her customer, who subsequently shipped it out to the North Sea to a pipe laying vessel where it was found that 2 of the bolts would not screw in tightly. 

Now Mrs. Y must cover the cost of not only the return of the flange from her customer, but also the cost of the down time due to the missing flange, in addition to the cost of manufacturing a new flange. Let’s not forget the invariable cost of her customer’s lost confidence in her product!

Having equipment regularly calibrated would have alerted Mr. X and Mrs. Y to the potential problem before it arose. 

Calibration can seem like an unnecessary inconvenience from time to time, but the importance of it to businesses should not be overlooked. 

We can offer full calibration services for all types of pressure, temperature, electrical, weighing and tool room equipment. Allow us to handle this task for you with the small amount of fuss you would expect from a company with over 40 years’ experience in the field.