Our state-of-the-art Metrology Calibration Laboratory demonstrates our commitment to innovation in measurement and calibration.
We know how important it is for our customers to use accurate and reliable metrology equipment within their processes. Within our UKAS accredited lab we’ve invested in temperature and humidity controls, as well as a range of advanced testing equipment to enable us to provide highly accurate calibrations on a wide range of metrology devices, including dimensional, pressure, torque, electrical and temperature equipment.
Keeping you compliant
Our lab’s central location in Birmingham means we’re able to provide an industry-leading guaranteed 5-day turnaround, to minimise downtime within your operations.
While our unique customer portal, the Calibration Hub, aims to simplify the calibration process, by providing instant access to calibration certificates, and sending automated reminders when an item is due for re-calibration.
Avery Weigh-Tronix, a leading metrology calibration service provider based in Smethwick, has brought £500,000 worth of investment into the region by launching Calibration Select, a new service offering, which has included opening a brand new, high-tech laboratory and creating a number of new jobs.
The Calibration Select Laboratory, which performs calibrations using state-of-the-art testing equipment and the latest processes across a range of electrical, force, pressure, temperature, dimensional and torque equipment, and mass weights, is an expansion to the company’s calibration service offering, which has a history dating back to the industrial revolution.
Avery Weigh-Tronix, which celebrated its bicentennial celebration in June 2018, prides itself on its heritage, and its continuing investment into people and the region. The company has historically been known as a weighing scale manufacturer, however in recent years it has expanded into providing a wide range of calibration services.
Alongside the new laboratory-based roles, which include three new Calibration and Repair Technicians, the company has also recruited a Forensic Investigations graduate through the Government’s Kickstart Scheme. The Coventry University alumni will gain hands-on experience, learning all aspects of the processes and procedures used for calibration; from how a metrology equipment calibration lab operates, to being trained how to write live project calibration procedures for the laboratory teams to follow, ensuring standardisation for UKAS accreditations.
Originally planned to open in June 2021, but delayed due to Covid-19, the laboratory specialises in providing a five day turnaround as standard, by utilising a network of over 150 UK-based service engineers to aid its collection and delivery service.
Andy Fox, Business Unit Manager, who has overseen the startup of Calibration Select said, “This is a hugely exciting time for Calibration Select, and another chapter in the 200 year history of Avery Weigh-Tronix. We are constantly looking at how we can better service our customers to remain market leaders in the industry, creating new and innovative ways of working and continuing to invest in our people and our community. The new laboratory is just one step towards our planned growth over the next five years. We are committed to ensuring the next 200 years can be just as revolutionary as the first.”
You might already know that the incredibly popular potato crisp was invented accidentally – as a form of revenge. At the Moon’s Lake House in New York, in 1853, Cornelius Vanderbilt sent his French fries back to the kitchen for being too thick. In an act of outrage, George Crum, the chef, prepared them again as thin and hard as possible. Proving in one that: a) revenge is sometimes best served sliced, and b) measurements matter. So the legend goes.
Of course, when it comes to food quality, subjective and objective testing are both important. Whilst the former evaluates products based on sensory tests, such as taste and smell, the latter focuses on aspects that can be measured, recorded and analysed with a reliable instrument. This is where calibration makes its entrée…
Today nations all over the world know and love potato crisps for their specific flavours and texture. This all relies on the constant recording of key measures during the production process, i.e., of moisture, slice thickness, and temperature.
Calibration is what allows for the accurate, repeatable and traceable nature of these measurements – thus ensuring quality. Today food and drink manufacturers are also governed by strict standards to ensure the production process is safe. Their reputation, name – as well as time and energy spent – all hang on the line.
When it comes to the crunch (sorry!) calibration is a vital part of every food manufacturer’s quality and safety programme. Here’s what you need to know…
The purpose of calibration
Safety and quality are paramount – particularly when it comes to food and beverage production, one of the most heavily regulated industries in the UK, and subject to more stringent legislation than most sectors.
Calibration has a huge part to pay in ensuring safety and quality as without instruments that are properly calibrated, the reliability and accuracy of their measurements cannot be relied upon.
Quality through quantity
Let’s take crisp manufacturing for example. Texture and colour are key measures of crisp quality – and both are dependent on frying oil temperature. At around 160°C a chemical reaction called the “Maillard Reaction” occurs – giving the salty snack its distinctive golden colour. In fact, it’s been found that every degree above 162°C adds significant colour. This means that, to create a quality product, the frying and exit temperature need to be absolutely precise, meaning that the instrument used to measure fryer performance needs to be reliable. How do you ensure this?
You guessed it: calibration.
Similarly, weighing systems will need to weigh and dispense the correct weight of crisps into each packet, while your check weighers will need to quality check the final product to make sure it’s the correct weight displayed on the packaging. To ensure their readings are accurate, the load cells for both devices need to be properly calibrated. If the first weighing system is calibrated incorrectly, when the product reaches the check weigher it will result in a high level of rejects, equally a high level of waste.
Preventing safety risks
Secondly, the manufacturing of food and drink has a direct impact on public health and safety. Carrying out regular calibrations means manufacturers can be confident in the safety of their product, helping to avoid costly recalls or even legal action due to ‘bad batches’ and reprocessing, all of which could result in reputational damage to a business.
Temperature control is absolutely essential to ensure the production of safe food, for instance. Using a piece of equipment that has not been calibrated could lead to a critical food temperature being measured incorrectly. This is particularly important given bacteria are able to grow in the ‘Danger Zone’ between 8°C and 60°C. By storing food at the correct temperatures, manufacturers can greatly reduce the risk of microbiological contamination and thus reduce the risks of harm to consumers.
The importance of regular calibration
But remember: over time, there is a tendency for results and accuracy to ‘drift’ when using a particular piece of equipment or measuring parameters such as temperature and weight.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is responsible for food safety and food hygiene in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It works with local authorities to enforce food safety regulations and check the standards are being met, including accurate instrument calibration.
This includes a range of measuring equipment, including pressure, flow, level and temperature instruments; as well as metal detection and alarm systems; and industrial weighing systems.
We hope this gives you plenty of food for thought! But if you still have any questions or would like to learn more about our calibration services, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!
Calibration Select specialises in providing a
comprehensive range of metrology calibration services. All calibrations are
expertly performed to exacting standards for accuracy, reliability, and
traceability. Our calibration laboratory is accredited by UKAS to ISO/IEC
You’ve no doubt heard the saying, ‘with military precision’…
The defence industry is a hugely challenging, complex and demanding sector – and today technological advancement means it’s never been more important to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the high-grade technology that the industry depends on.
Armed forces personnel rely on the effectiveness and safety of complex equipment and machines produced by defence contractors, making precision absolutely critical in this field. Defence manufacturers in turn require specialised measuring equipment to develop safe, accurate and precise solutions and ensure they meet the highest of industry standards. Here, calibration is their strongest ally.
So, what exactly do metrology equipment calibrations achieve – and why are they critical in the defence industry?
The need for precision
Contractors to the defence industry are under enormous pressure to deliver on time and on budget – and ensure that what they manufacture will remain fit for purpose throughout the entire intended lifetime.
With so much on the line, it is extremely essential for all the sensitive measuring equipment and high-performance technology that the defence industry relies on to perform with 100% accuracy.
The importance of calibration
This is why calibration is so hugely critical. At every step of the supply chain, parts and components will be contributing towards safeguarding the irreplaceable lives of millions of people. A lot of responsibility rests on testing labs and calibration service providers.
Only by regularly calibrating metrology equipment can you ensure that its measurements can be relied on to produce the complex components that safety-critical industries such as defence, aerospace and automotive depend on.
Calibration Select – At your service …
Calibration Select provides a comprehensive range of metrology calibration services to the defence industry, including a range of equipment in the electrical, dimensional, and temperature disciplines.
We can provide expert calibrations on-site as well as at our calibration labs, which are accredited by UKAS to ISO/IEC 17025:2017.
Contact us to learn more about our specialist calibration services for defence. We’d love to hear from you!
The automotive industry is one of the world’s largest manufacturing sectors, with some 70 million motor vehicles produced worldwide annually. Today vehicles are becoming more complex, with more technology and electric parts involved than ever before. From the era of horseless carriages, we now live in a world where a prototype convertible ‘flying car’ just completed its first test flight. Where there’s a will, there’s a runway.
But before getting the ‘green light’ to appear on the market, motor vehicles, and their components, have to comply with a certain number of regulations, whether local or international.
The importance of calibration within the automotive industry
Quality control is an essential part of manufacturing because it ensures that all products conform to the same standard. It means manufacturers are less likely to face costly recalls and put customers at risk from poorly made products.
For the manufacturing industry, which relies on high end manufacturing and precision, it is an especially vital aspect. But automotive quality control also relies on having accurate tools for the job.
Calibrations ensure the metrology equipment used to provide measurements within the automotive (or any other) industry, is accurate and provides reliable results.
Choosing the right calibration provider is essential, but not always easy. Luckily, we’ve taken care to ensure you don’t encounter any speed bumps on the way…
Here are the 3 key things automotive manufacturers need to remember when it comes to their metrology equipment calibrations:
- The road to least resistance is… getting it right
From torque wrenches to tyre pressure gauges, and micrometres to vernier calipers, dial test indicators and pressure gauges, the various types of measurement equipment used in automotive manufacturing all have one thing in common – they need to be accurate.
Every fastener within a vehicle, for example, has a torque specification assigned by the manufacturer. Too much torque can cause severely over-tightened fasteners, leading to stripping and broken parts. Too little torque can result in pieces separating or becoming loose. A calibrated torque wrench ensures the correct amount of torque is applied, which is vital to ensure overall vehicle safety.
Similarly, with vernier calipers used to measure small parts, calibration is crucial as even the slightest deviation can have an impact further down the production line. Calibration determines any measurement deviations in the instruments and allows any necessary adjustments to be carried out. When it comes to accuracy, it ensures you get it right.
2. Routine calibration is your best path to success
Most of us make sure to check our car tyre pressure regularly (or at least know that we should…) to ensure the safety of our vehicles (car tyres will generally lose up to two pounds of air per month!). In the same way, when using measuring instruments regularly, they also need to be calibrated regularly. This ensures they continue to meet industry-wide standards during the manufacturing process.
The accuracy of measuring instruments will degrade over time from frequent usage and general wear and tear. How often you need to calibrate your metrology equipment depends on the type, how often it’s used and the operating environment.
Standard practice is to calibrate torque wrenches every 5,000 cycles or every 12 months. Similarly, it’s important to calibrate your calipers and gauges at least annually. Having consistent high-accuracy measurements means you can ensure high-quality output, saving you on costs in the long run.
3. Map out your requirements… to ensure you arrive at the right destination
We all know that choosing the right car is an important decision, which is why car buyers take an average of 40.5 days to find the right one! Similarly, with so much information available, it’s important to make sure you understand exactly which standard and type of calibration is right for you.
When it comes to industries such as automotive and aerospace, traceability is very important. In fact, most formal ISO quality management standards will demand traceable calibration certificates. For these industries, where safety is absolutely critical, UKAS accredited calibrations can provide an added level of trust. This is because an accredited calibration laboratory has to be independently audited, therefore can give you the best indication of the quality of a supplier’s calibration services.
Mapping out your requirements is key to finding the best-equipped lab for your calibration needs. Alongside costs and turnaround time, many manufacturers will also need to consider the benefits of having a single supplier looking after all their calibration requirements. While for some, finding an ISO 17025 accredited calibration laboratory that offers onsite calibration services can be a huge convenience.
Finding yourself at a crossroads?…
Calibration Select provides a comprehensive metrology equipment calibration service for the automotive industry. Our team can provide expert calibrations on-site as well as at our calibration lab, which is accredited by UKAS to ISO/IEC 17025:2017.
To learn more about our calibration services for the automotive industry, click here to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!
Each instrument should have a unique calibration record which must be maintained for a certain period of time. How often equipment needs to be calibrated will depend on the type of equipment, how often it’s used and its unique conditions, for example, being exposed to high, or low, temperatures.
Did you know that, until 1858, the Apothecaries’ system was the official system of measurement used to weigh out ingredients in medicines (and potions) in the US and Great Britain? Back then – when cocaine toothache drops were prescribed as “patent medicines” and leech therapy was all the rage – apothecaries were using hand scales to prepare and dispense their own medicines.
Prior to the 20th century, medicines were generally produced by small scale manufacturers and there was little regulatory control over manufacturing, or their promise of safety and efficacy.
Today, research and testing labs, manufacturers and other pharma companies are all subject to strict laws and regulations, meaning significant attention has to be paid to safety and compliance. Gone are the days of prescribing mercury, chloroform, and medicinal leeches. Technological advancement has also brought with it many benefits, including highly sophisticated and extremely sensitive measuring equipment.
Calibrating these instruments properly and regularly is a crucial aspect of ensuring that finished pharmaceutical products meet the right quality standards.
How is instrument calibration performed?
Instrument calibration is the process of comparing results from a measurement device against a traceable standard, i.e., one that has been calibrated to an even higher level standard. Any discrepancies found can then be adjusted within the specified limits, ensuring the equipment being used is producing safe and accurate results. For pharma companies, it is an important part of justifying the processes of Qualification and Validation – part of the 3 principles to achieving high quality.
Instrument calibration can be performed in-house or by sending equipment to a calibration laboratory. While calibrating in-house can mean reduced downtime, enlisting the services of a nationally or internationally accredited calibration laboratory, who offer proven accuracy standards, appropriate equipment and the right controlled environments, can give you extra confidence in the traceability of your device.
The role of metrology equipment in pharmaceutical production
There are many types of metrology equipment used in pharmaceutical production, each instrument that comes into contact with the pharmaceutical supply chain needs to meet stringent quality standards, as the measurements taken from these instruments have a direct effect on the quality of the end product.
Flow – Flow meters are used to measure the flow of various liquids and gases. However, even high precision flow meters can easily deter from calibration, and the performance of these instruments will reduce over time. Routine calibration ensures these results are consistently accurate.
Temperature – Similarly, even slight variations in temperature can affect product quality. Thermometers, thermocouples and other temperature monitoring equipment are sensitive and prone to damage during use, meaning they have to be checked and calibrated regularly. The calibration of temperature sensors is also critical to ensure that labs stay within optimal temperatures for the safe production of pharmaceutical products.
Pipettes – Pipettes are crucial in measuring and transferring the accurate amount of fluid into a product. However, the smallest variation to a recipe could have harmful consequences for consumers. Some volatile liquids and chemicals can also corrode the pipette, throwing off calibration, while air temperature and humidity in a lab can affect its accuracy. With regular pipette calibration, you can significantly reduce these risks and liabilities.
Pressure – A variety of pressure measuring and monitoring devices are used within pharma production, for example, to ensure the pressure within cleanrooms stay at optimal levels. Calibration ensures that they comply with industry and regulatory standards regarding precision, sanitation, and safety – ensuring better conditions for researching, developing, and producing medicines.
How often does equipment have to be calibrated?
Pharmaceutical producers need to implement a routine instrument calibration schedule to ensure compliance with FDA guidelines or to maintain CGMP and other quality control standards.
Each instrument should have a unique calibration record which must be maintained for a certain period of time. How often equipment needs to be calibrated will depend on the type of equipment, how often it’s used and its unique conditions, for example, being exposed to high, or low, temperatures.
Most pipettes, for instance, can be calibrated every six months, but based on the strict regulations of the pharmaceutical industry, the CSLI recommends that your pipettes be calibrated every 3 – 6 months. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for minimum calibration intervals. You can also consult an accredited lab for help with devising an appropriate calibration schedule.
Why use an accredited lab?
The aim of calibration is to establish the accuracy of the equipment used within production – preventing costly recalls, damage to reputation and safety risks to consumers. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies and laboratories need to have confidence in the performance and results of the instruments used to calibrate their measuring equipment.
This is where accredited calibration labs add value. These labs ensure that the equipment used by pharmaceutical companies is calibrated as per the required standards and can produce products that match the pharmaceutical quality as set by the MHRA or FDA.
Labs without accreditation can also provide good service and traceability; however, companies will need to verify these on their own. An accredited lab can demonstrate compliance with ISO 17025, which they can only receive if they meet all the requirements for quality and traceability.
Accredited labs can also provide the appropriate calibration certifications for each instrument. This is a critical part of pharmaceutical regulations – it means companies can avoid problems during regulatory inspections, alongside fines, penalties and even product recalls.
Calibration Select is accredited by UKAS to ISO 17025:2017. We offer pharmaceutical equipment calibrations on-site and at our state-of-the-art labs. For more information about our calibration services for pharmaceutical companies, please get in touch here. We’d love to hear from you!
It’s safe to say, as humans we have always been fascinated by the intricacies of flight.
In 1678, a French locksmith named Besnier tried to fly with wings modelled after the webbed feet of a duck. Luckily, he survived the attempt. And 300 years before that, kites were seen carrying humans in China. Luckily, we have come a long way since then…
During the last century the aerospace industry celebrated a number of milestones. From the Wright brothers achieving the first successful airplane flight in 1903, to the Vostok capsule carrying the first person into space.
But not one to rest on its laurels the industry is constantly developing new technologies, and today the prospect of potentially moving to Mars isn’t too alien a concept(!), while the emergence of new advanced materials like graphene and carbon nanotubes are helping to make airplane wings more efficient by reducing weight and fuel consumption.
Weight is hugely important when it comes to designing air and spacecraft. Lighter machines can travel faster on less fuel, and even the slightest changes can make a huge difference. Weight and balance also have a significant impact on the ability to operate aircrafts safely.
So, fasten your seatbelts as we journey into why this makes the calibration of measuring equipment highly critical…
First stop: Quality and safety
The aerospace industry is subject to strictly tight quality controls for safety, meaning high quality production is needed at every stage.
Equipment or component failures on an aircraft can cost from tens of thousands to millions of pounds, while failures in flight present another enormous risk in the loss of lives.
To guarantee the structural safety of an aircraft, every element needs to be manufactured to the highest quality. This is particularly important as the industry relies on hundreds of tiny parts to build their products using high precision processes.
Dimensional measurement plays a crucial role in ensuring that these parts, including aircraft frames and stringers, meet exacting quality standards.
Without proper, regular and well-documented instrument calibration, there is simply no way to ensure safety, quality and performance – all of which are critical to the aerospace industry.
Accuracy and precision
High value satellites are launched with the requirement that they can operate for a number of decades without maintenance or repair. This makes it incredibly important to get it right the first time. But this can only be delivered through rigorous testing and validation carried out on every single component, ensuring it can survive the extremely harsh space environment.
Measurement lies at the heart of this.
In September of 1999, after almost 10 months of travel to Mars, NASA’s $125million Mars Climate Orbiter burned and broke into pieces – purely because the wrong type of measurement unit was used during the manufacturing process. Thankfully today we have the globally recognised SI units system of measurement to avoid such incidences…
Besides checking the accuracy of metrology equipment, calibration also helps to determine the traceability of the measurement.
During calibration, equipment such as micrometers, gauges and calipers are tested against an even higher-level standard, which ensures the results the tools provide are correct, and parts can be produced to the right specs.
Calibration is not a one-time mission
Calibrations have to be carried out at regular intervals. The accuracy of all measuring devices degrades over time, and calibration processes ensure that any deviations in measurement can be corrected so the device performs consistently.
The aerospace industry in particular has specialised accuracy and reliability specifications for its equipment, and all measurement data and results need to incite an extreme level of confidence.
This means manufacturers need to employ a metrology system that can measure equipment efficiently while consistently attaining high levels of accuracy, which can be as tight as 0.01 mm.
Regular calibration ensures that equipment maintains its stated accuracy, minimising safety risks and bringing you one giant step towards better quality.
Talk to us
Our Calibration Select laboratory in Birmingham follows strict standards and processes which enable us to carry out metrology equipment calibrations for the aerospace industry.
We offer our customers the choice of either traceable or UKAS calibrations. If you want to find out which option is right for you, or if you’d like to know more about the calibration of your metrology equipment our experts are on hand to offer some friendly advice. We’d love to hear from you!
Humans have a long, successful history of adding value to raw materials to turn them into something more useful. Prior to the advent of manufacturing, it’s daunting to think that most products were made by hand. But luckily, the technological changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution dramatically changed our ways of producing goods.
Henry Ford’s introduction of the assembly line in 1913, for instance, made moves towards efficiently mass-producing an entire automobile. His first assembly line cut the time it took to construct a car from over 12 hours to an impressive one hour and thirty-three minutes!
Today this important innovation has enabled manufacturers to create products in high volume at a remarkable rate, enabling them to take advantage of economies of scale. But manufacturing also requires balancing efficient production and effective quality control measures to create safe, high-quality products.
This is where calibration takes the load off…
Calibration and its role in manufacturing
With the ever-increasing influx of automation, it’s important to ensure that production is repeatedly accurate.
Parts need to be produced within a customer’s required specifications, within a pre-set tolerance for error, which means the highly complex machines that are involved in producing and assembling those parts – at every single step of the manufacturing process – need to be reliable.
Metrology equipment is used by manufacturers to ensure that their products and their parts are accurately and precisely manufactured, measured and assembled. The process that checks the equipment used is delivering accurate results time and time again is calibration.
To ensure that metrology equipment – from torque wrenches to micrometers – are producing the correct measurements, they need to be regularly checked.
This is important as, over a period of time and from constant use, their measurements can shift slightly, which can create differences and product deviations, beyond the famed margin of error.
Instruments used within manufacturing environments are particularly vulnerable to this. Micrometers, for instance, are widely used to assure the quality of parts, but simple changes such as heat from the hands can warm the frame of a micrometer, causing significant measurement errors. Similarly, if it’s been dropped or damaged in any way, it’s important to ensure, through calibration, that the tool is still delivering the correct measurement results.
But it’s not just quality assurance calibration offers manufacturers, it also brings a number of other important benefits:
The benefits of calibrating to manufacturers
- Create confidence in products – During calibration, the results from a measurement device are compared against a traceable reference device with a higher level of accuracy. Any discrepancies found can then be adjusted accordingly. By ensuring accuracy at every level of the manufacturing chain, manufacturers have confidence that their equipment is producing high quality products, which feeds down to trust from their customers.
- Ensure safety and quality – Having accurate measurement results is particularly important when looking at the levels of tension required within critical joints and fastenings on cars, aircraft, and heavy-duty machinery. The measurement of torque is one of the most important aspects during the manufacturing of high-quality products and is required to ensure that the fasteners used in automobiles, for example, are installed securely. The joints need to be bound with absolute tightness, which is critical to safety. Without properly calibrated equipment, it’s impossible to meet quality requirements, such as ISO.
- Reduce costs and manufacturing errors – Small measurement errors can equal big costs, so having accurately calibrated equipment can reduce the risk for product defects and therefore expensive repairs.
How often should equipment be calibrated?
Dimensional equipment such as calipers, are one of the most common hand tools used within manufacturing. Due to their precision accuracy it’s important to calibrate these devices at least once a year. Similarly, torque wrenches should also be calibrated at least once a year due to their high level of use.
Other questions to consider when thinking about the frequency of calibrations are: Is the device dropped or banged constantly? Or are you using the tool in unusually hot, cold, humid or wet conditions? If yes, you might want to consider a more frequent calibration schedule.
Luckily, calibrations don’t need to be laborious …
We’re here to help
If you’re a manufacturer and you’d like some advice on calibrations within your business, reach out to our experts. We offer both ISO standard calibrations and UKAS accredited calibrations across a full range of metrology disciplines in our labs, including torque, temperature, dimensional and electrical equipment. We’d love to hear from you!
Avery Weigh-Tronix is one of the Uk’s leading metrology calibration providers and the world’s leading suppliers of weighing scales, systems and equipment.
We offer a wide range of industrial weighing and metrology services, backed by an extensive service network across the entire UK.