UKAS calibration certificate

When it comes to choosing a metrology calibration service that fits your needs, there are usually two options available: traceable and accredited. Choosing between the two can make things oddly daunting, but it goes without saying you’ll want to ensure that your metrology equipment is measuring correctly.

So, what tips the balance in favour of an accredited laboratory?

Firstly, what exactly is accreditation?

Accreditation is in place to certify ‘technical competence’.

Put simply, accreditation ensures that a set of standards are being met and provides the evidence that they are. To achieve this, a laboratory has to be independently audited to demonstrate that they can carry out calibration work competently.

In essence, it shows that the laboratories in charge of calibrating your metrology equipment have themselves undergone a rigorous checking process.

Accreditation is an instantly recognisable stamp of approval and probably the best indication of the quality and competence of a supplier’s calibration services. It gives you confidence that calibration results will be fully traceable to international reference standards through the complex traceability chain.

How are laboratories accredited?

To gain accreditation, laboratories are audited against recognised standards by appointed bodies.

UKAS is the National Accreditation Body for the United Kingdom. They are appointed by government, to assess and accredit organisations that provide services including certification, testing, inspection and calibration.

To gain UKAS accreditation, laboratories have to be audited against a scrupulous set of criteria defined by the internationally recognised standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017. It is an expensive and time-consuming process, but it examines everything from test methods and equipment, to staff, their training and technical capabilities. Ensuring quality across the board here is key. 

More importantly, it provides evidence that the laboratory can consistently obtain accurate and reliable calibration results, which are recognised both nationally and around the world.

A ‘UKAS calibration’ refers to a calibration carried out by a UKAS accredited laboratory within the scope of their accreditation.

It’s important to remember accreditation is not a one-off achievement. Accredited laboratories are regularly audited to ensure their ongoing technical competence.

ISO/IEC 17025:2017 vs ISO 9001:2015 – why standards matter

While ISO 9001:2015 can contribute to maintaining high quality standards in laboratories, it’s important to note that it more generically focuses on compliance to general quality management systems.

ISO 17025:2017, on the other hand, exists to provide specific guidance on the specialist quality management systems required by testing and calibration laboratories.

In essence, ISO 9001:2015 is broader as it does not require evaluation of the technical competence of a laboratory or its staff, whereas ISO 17025:2017 shows their ability to carry out calibration work to the highest standard.

As far as standards go, ISO 17025:2017 is necessary for formal recognition of a laboratory’s calibration capabilities. This is the standard you should look for.  

What value does an ISO 17025:2017 accredited lab create for metrology equipment calibrations?

There are two main routes to calibration: accredited calibration (UKAS calibration) and standard traceable calibration (non-accredited calibration).

An accredited calibration shows that a laboratory meets the stringent requirements of ISO 17025:2017. A standard calibration refers to the service of laboratories whose competence has not been formally confirmed by an independent party.

UKAS calibration exists to give you the highest degree of assurance that you will receive accurate results and, just as importantly, can pass this down to your customers.

When it comes to ensuring the most accurate results, an accredited laboratory is there to take some of the weight off your shoulders. Here are some other important benefits of using an accredited metrology lab:

  • Enhance your confidence – Using an accredited laboratory means putting your confidence into a laboratory that has been certified as technically competent.
  • Minimise risk – The accuracy of the calibration results obtained from an accredited laboratory can minimise the risk of producing or supplying a faulty product as you can be confident your metrology equipment will be providing accurate results.
  • Avoid expensive re-testing – Calibrating metrology equipment can be expensive and time-consuming. If not done correctly the first time, the time and costs involved in re-testing can end up costing you a fortune.
  • International recognition – Accredited laboratories receive a form of international recognition. This helps to reduce costs by reducing or eliminating the need for retesting overseas.

Some industries also have regulations that require accredited calibration results for metrology equipment. Industries such as automotive, healthcare, aerospace, and aviation all require extreme accuracy. UKAS Accreditation ensures the highest standard of quality in calibration with assured traceability to National and International Standards.

All calibration laboratories accredited to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 are listed on the UKAS website. You can also check the company website or ask the supplier for their laboratory number to verify their credentials.

Finally, it’s also important to confirm that your equipment is included within the calibration laboratory’s ‘Scope of Accreditation’. This is an official document issued for every accredited laboratory and provides a list of calibration activities that it is accredited to perform.

An accredited calibration partner

Many aspects of the core disciplines (electrical, mass weights, force, pressure, temperature and torque) of our metrology equipment calibration service, Calibration Select, are accredited by UKAS to enable us to provide UKAS Calibration Certificates.

We are additionally able to offer standard traceable calibration in both these and other disciplines. For full details of our UKAS accreditation, please refer to our Accreditation Scopes, available on the UKAS website.

After your equipment has been calibrated, we provide you with a UKAS calibration certificate which shows the results from your calibration, including any measurement uncertainties and other information required by the standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017. This is in addition to all the information you would get from a non-accredited calibration.

If you would like more information on UKAS accredited calibration service, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you.

Having your electrical test equipment regularly calibrated is a crucial part of its ownership. Whether it’s a portable appliance tester, RCD tester, multifunction calibrator or an insulation and continuity tester, an annual calibration will ensure your electrical test equipment is working to the correct specifications and giving you the results you expect.

Our metrology equipment calibration expert, Ged Roberts, answers your commonly asked questions about electrical test equipment calibration.

Why is it important to calibrate electrical testing equipment?

When it comes to electrical safety, using inaccurate electrical testing equipment could present a number of risks and potential legal repercussions. Even a minute discrepancy in the results could pass an item that should be failing, and vice versa – making calibrations extremely important as they ensure your device is providing accurate readings.

What can cause my electrical testing equipment to give inaccurate results?

Electrical testing equipment can be easily compromised. From an electrical surge damaging the internal components, to a moisture intrusion if the device is left in storage for a long period of time, or even accidentally dropping the device or hitting it off a hard surface – your equipment might still work after such events, but you can’t be sure that it will still give you completely accurate results.

Additionally, general wear and tear through daily use can also cause the results of your device to drift over time. The shift may be small and insignificant, but in some cases, especially if you are working with small values, it may cause a slight difference in measurement.

What happens during an electrical calibration?

An electrical calibration is the process of verifying the performance of any instrument used to test or measure electrical parameters such as voltage, current or resistance.

During an electrical calibration an accredited calibration laboratory will check your equipment to make sure it is working to the correct standards. The calibration will take place under carefully controlled and maintained conditions, using a piece of reference equipment called a multifunction  electrical tester calibrator, which is at least four times more accurate than the unit under test.

After the calibration is complete, your electrical test equipment is returned with a calibration certificate which details the test performed and the results.

Your calibration certificate is your proof that your equipment is working within standard; without it, you have no way of knowing whether the results you are generating are accurate or not.

How long does an electrical test equipment calibration take?

Using traditional manual, multiple-product methods with discrete resistors, decade boxes, and other custom solutions, the calibration process itself can take up to an hour.

However, at our Calibration Select laboratory in Birmingham we recently invested in Fluke’s new 5322A electrical tester calibrator. This innovative piece of testing equipment has made the calibration process four times faster, meaning we can complete a range of electrical calibrations in as little as 15 minutes!

Although the calibration itself is a quick process, if you’re sending your items to a laboratory for calibration, we strongly advise you check what the lab’s current turnaround time is and if they offer a guarantee if they don’t meet these timescales.

Can’t I just check my device’s reading against another device?

No! It’s a common misconception that two meters are ‘calibrated’ if they both give the same reading during a field comparison check. But this does not necessarily prove that the two meters are accurate as they could both be out of calibration by the same amount.

The only way to ensure your device’s accuracy levels is to calibrate it against a known standard.

Are there any questions we’ve not answered?

We hope that’s answered any questions you have about electrical test equipment calibration. If there’s something we’ve not covered, leave a question in the box below and Ged will get back to you.

With a long-established history, the Avery Weigh-Tronix brand name is synonymous with weighing and calibration expertise. But if you scratch the surface, there are lots of areas of our business with interesting stories of their own.

Like our Force Calibration Laboratory.

Based at our Soho Foundry site in Birmingham, our Force Calibration Laboratory is renowned throughout the UK for its specialised loadcell calibrations which are carried out on a custom built, 10m high deadweight testing machine.

Taking centre stage in the lab and containing an impressive 76 individual weights, the machine can calibrate up to 50 tonnes and is extremely rare, as it’s one of only three in the UK!

The machine is so complex that in 2002, when it was moved from our previous Tamebridge site to the Force Calibration Laboratory at the Soho Foundry, it took nearly nine months to dismantle, move and rebuild!

Luckily the lab is managed by Mike Moran, who knows the intricacies of the machine inside out. He’s worked at Avery Weigh-Tronix for over 40 years and has worked with the deadweight testing machine for his entire career.

Interestingly, although technology has moved on hugely over the last 40 years, the principle of calibrating has remained the same. So, although the machine is almost 50 years old, it still performs as it should.

The Force Calibration Laboratory is equally as impressive as the machine itself. Designed and built specifically to house the deadweight machine, absolutely no detail was overlooked to ensure the utmost accuracy during calibrations.

Specialised temperature and humidity controls installed throughout the lab maintain the accuracy of the weights on the machine. And vibrations from the surrounding area are prevented thanks to a concrete pad which feeds directly into the bedrock beneath the building’s floor!

The accuracy of the machine is so precise, it is used to calibrate reference loadcells for customers like Rolls Royce and the National Measurement Office.

Our Force Calibration Laboratory gained UKAS accreditation in 1972, at the time being only the 54th lab in the UK to gain this prestigious accreditation, which we’ve upheld ever since.

From the 26th February 2021, the Avery Weigh-Tronix Force Calibration Laboratory has been renamed after it became part of Avery Weigh-Tronix’s UKAS accredited metrology calibration service, Calibration Select.

Despite this change, the UKAS laboratory reference number remains the same. Calibrations will still take place in the same laboratory using the same deadweight testing machine and technical expertise.

For more information please contact us on webinfo@awtx-itw.com or 0845 939 0020.

Calibration Select, a division of Avery Weigh-Tronix, are pleased to announce the achievement of the latest ISO 17025:2017 accreditation.

Calibration Select provides professional metrology calibration services on test and measurement equipment to a broad range of industries across the UK.

This accreditation was awarded in February 2021 after an assessment from UKAS in November 2020, which ensured the company’s Calibration Select laboratory in Birmingham complies with the ISO 17025 standard.

The news marks the completion of an 18-month project for Calibration Select to provide UKAS accredited calibrations across a full range of metrology disciplines including torque, temperature, pressure and electrical.

It also enhances the company’s existing accreditation portfolio that includes mass weight calibration, non-automatic weighing machines, force and load cell testing.

Andy Fox, Compliance Business Unit Manager, Avery Weigh-Tronix reinforced the accomplishment of the ISO 17025:2017 accreditation, commenting; “Achieving this accreditation from UKAS is a testament to the hard work of the Calibration Select team in ensuring our high standards of quality are met at all times. We are now better placed to offer our industry leading service and turnaround times to a wider range of businesses across the UK.”

UKAS is the National Accreditation Body for the United Kingdom. They are appointed by government, to assess and accredit organisations that provide services including certification, testing, inspection and calibration.

This accreditation demonstrates the competency of a laboratory to ensure reliability of the analysis results and delivers confidence in the service of the calibration laboratory. 

For more information please contact us on webinfo@awtx-itw.com or 0845 939 0020.

Calibration Select has partnered with NW Aeroforms to provide a comprehensive range of metrology calibration services to the aerospace industry.

With 130 years of expertise in delivering calibrations to a range of industries, Calibration Select – a division of Avery Weigh-Tronix – offers a comprehensive metrology equipment calibration service.

The new partnership with NW Aeroforms, a specialist supplier to the aerospace industry, widens Calibration Select’s expertise in the calibration of torque equipment and SME tools commonly used within the aerospace industry.

Andy Fox, Compliance Business Unit Manager, Avery Weigh-Tronix, commented:

“This partnership strengthens the level of service and expertise that we can offer our customers in the aerospace sector. Our combined technical expertise and sector understanding, along with our extremely quick turnaround times, mean that we are well positioned to meet the needs of this very demanding industry.”

With quality, safety and performance at risk, the accurate calibration of metrology equipment is critical in the aerospace sector. In an industry where the cost and impact of failure is high, exacting standards and strict regulatory requirements mean that aerospace customers must adhere to regular and reliable calibration schedules.

To meet these requirements, the companies are offering a same day, on-site calibration service, which has been designed to reduce downtime and minimise disruption. Within minutes, the team can carry out calibrations, tests, and repairs on torque hand tools directly on the customer’s site (including line-side, if required) from their mobile laboratory.

For calibrations carried out off-site at the companies’ laboratories, a five-day turnaround is guaranteed.

Andy continued: “The cost of downtime in the aerospace industry can quickly run into tens of thousands, making it vital that equipment is tested and calibrated on-time. It’s critical that having access to a swift turnaround is part of the service for our customers, and this fundamental service offering has formed the bases of our partnership with NW Aeroforms.”

Calibration Select also offers customers access to its asset management system, allowing quick and hassle-free access to calibration certificates.

The information includes details of the measurement results and procedures used for the calibration, ensuring that aerospace customers can meet the industry’s strict documentation and traceability requirements.

For more information on torque calibration services for the aerospace industry, click here to get in touch.

In our final article we are looking at the third problem facing businesses when managing metrology calibrations.

If you’ve missed the first two articles in the series, click the links to find out more about the two other common reasons affecting businesses; the lack of company-wide understanding on the importance of calibrations and the lack of best practice information on how to manage calibrations.

Or, download our guide, ‘Why are metrology calibrations so misunderstood?’, where we cover the three common reasons affecting every business, in greater detail.

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Thermocouple being calibrated

In part one of our three-part blog series we covered how many businesses have a lack of understanding on the importance of metrology calibrations which can lead to unaccounted for equipment and a lack of proper maintenance and care.

In part two of the series we’re looking at the second common reason metrology calibrations tend to be misunderstood.

Read more
Industrial hand tool in use

From torque wrenches to temperature probes, and electrical testing devices to force gauges, metrology equipment is found in-use within businesses across nearly every industry. 

Despite the broad uses for metrology equipment and the reliance on it to perform day-to-day tasks, many businesses have admitted to having a lack of understanding when it comes to metrology equipment calibrations.

Our calibration experts have worked with thousands of companies across the UK and have found three common issues contributing the misunderstanding of metrology calibrations.

In this series of blog articles, we’ll cover each of the three issues, as well as giving our recommendations on how to improve each area.

Or, click here to download the full guide, which delves into more detail on the misunderstanding of metrology calibrations. 

Read more

As the world starts to recover from the economic damage caused by Covid-19, businesses will undoubtedly need to start looking at ways to become more profitable in order to survive.

Procurement departments are usually first under the microscope, and many procurement teams tasked with finding cost-saving initiatives will usually start by sourcing cheaper products and services.

But even if you are paying the lowest price for your products and services – it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve paid the lowest cost overall.

Consider the cost of the procurement process too.

If you only look at the price of the item you’re buying and not any other factors that add to the overall cost, you won’t know the true cost of procurement. Although procurement costs won’t be seen on an invoice, they can add up pretty quickly.

Think about the administrative overhead costs associated with having multiple suppliers. Employees have to spend time receiving, processing, reviewing and approving each invoice as it comes into the business. The invoice then moves on to the accounts payable team who pay and track each supplier.

Depending on the internal processes, the costs associated with this administrative task can range from anywhere between £50 – £400 per invoice!

These hidden costs are often not reported – but they can hugely affect your bottom line and stop your business from being profitable.

Consolidate your suppliers

A proven strategy for many businesses is to reduce costs through supplier consolidation.

When managed correctly, supplier consolidation can reduce administration costs, reduce purchasing costs and reduce risk, as well as improving supplier relationships.

Reduce administration costs – With fewer suppliers to manage, the costs involved in setting up a supplier in internal systems, completing transactions and managing the relationship significantly decrease

Reduce purchasing costs – There is a common misconception that working with multiple suppliers is a more cost-effective approach as it gives the buyer the chance to ‘shop around’ for the best price. But by spreading your budget across a number of suppliers your purchasing power decreases

Reduce risk – Relying on fewer suppliers will significantly reduce risk to your business. With fewer suppliers to manage, your business can better focus on securing all the applicable risks throughout the supply chain

Improve supplier relationships – When there are fewer suppliers to manage, it becomes easier to focus on building relationships with core suppliers. By consolidating you supplier base, the core suppliers will get a larger piece of your market share, which increases your purchasing power and creates lower prices for your business

How much could you save by bringing your metrology and weighing equipment calibrations under one, trusted supplier?

We calibrate a full range of metrology and weighing equipment and offer volume discounts on bulk orders. With one contact to deal with and one invoice to process you could significantly reduce the hidden costs of managing multiple suppliers and help make your business more profitable.

Speak to us today to see how much you could save

Asset management

Organising metrology calibrations can be a complicated and time-consuming process for QA teams.

With hundreds of pieces of equipment on site requiring calibrations, it can be a struggle to keep on top of all the deadlines, documentation and suppliers involved in the process.

But with the penalties for missing a calibration as harsh as receiving a non-conformance during an audit, it’s a critical task for any QA team.

Managing your calibrations through an asset management system simplifies the entire calibration process, from beginning to end.

Whether you’re considering an asset management system but are yet to take the plunge, or even if asset management systems are yet to grace your radar, read on for our seven reasons on how an asset management system will improve your calibration process.

Seven reasons why your business needs an asset management system:

1. Say goodbye to obsolete data

Many QA teams rely on shared documents, usually stored in a central location, to record their assets. But keeping this type of document up to date is a huge task and unfortunately the list tends to become out of date as quickly as it is created.

An asset management system provides one, centralised location to store and manage your data, ensuring each asset is always kept up to date. But they also offer more than just a place to store and update your asset list…

2. Never miss a calibration deadline again

It can be hard to keep track of all those calibration due dates, especially if you’re using multiple pieces of metrology equipment in your processes.

By using an asset management system, you can guarantee you’ll never miss a calibration deadline as automated email reminders alert you when an item is due for calibration.

3. Arrange seamless calibrations

When it’s time to arrange calibrations, an asset management system will manage your entire calibration process through one, easy to access portal instead of relying on emails and calls with multiple suppliers.

4. Budget for the year ahead

By booking and scheduling items in for calibration in advance you can accurately budget for the year ahead with no unexpected costs!

5. Full traceability

An asset management system stores the details and past history of each piece of your metrology equipment, including the associated manuals, certificates and inspection reports. You’ll be able to see if an asset has been added, deleted or amended, and the reasons why.

6. Remove long winded paper trails

You can also view any of your assets at any time, at the touch of a button. Meaning no more hunting through paper trails to find the information you’re looking for at short notice or during audits.

7. Track the calibration process beginning to end

An asset management system will provide full visibility of the calibration process – allowing you to track your equipment from beginning to end. See when your items have arrived at the laboratory, what their calibration status is, and when your calibrated equipment is due back with you.

Work with us to improve your metrology equipment calibrations

We designed our asset management system, the Calibration Hub, to help our customers streamline their calibration process – from storing asset history and details, to organising calibrations and planning for the year ahead.

But remember, the key to getting the most from your asset management system is by inputting an accurate and up-to-date asset list.

If your current asset list is out of date, speak to us about arranging a no-obligation site survey with one of our team.