3 Questions to Ask Before Changing Calibration Intervals

changing calibration intervals

Manufacturers, packaging centers, and repair shops alike struggle with changing calibration intervals. Advice is given that equipment that passes frequently may be able to move to a longer calibration interval. While it may be tempting to extend as many equipment calibration intervals as possible, it is not always the best solution. There are multiple considerations to weigh before making the decision to change an interval, especially for organizations in highly regulated industries or that must maintain an ISO certification or accreditation. Use the points below to help decide if changing calibration intervals is appropriate for you.

Has the Equipment Consistently Passed Calibration Testing with High Accuracy?

Equipment that is considered stable is often a candidate for a lengthened calibration cycle. Consider contacting the manufacturer to check if the new interval is appropriate. A manufacturer may be able to tell you if the equipment has had any known problems or is a good candidate for longer intervals. Verify the instrument accuracy with the calibration lab or in-house technician that performed the calibration. Any instrument that does not consistently pass, or needed adjustments to pass, may need a shorter calibration interval.

Are Calibration Intervals Specified in Customer/Supplier Contract Agreements?

If your company has a contract with customers, check if there are any stipulations regarding calibration intervals. Customers are increasingly holding their suppliers to a higher standard, as evidenced in supplier report cards. A customer may include requirements for maintaining the manufacturer recommended calibration interval or another interval of their choosing (more often this happens for complex pieces of equipment). If the calibration interval is part of a customer/supplier agreement, be prepared to justify your reasoning for requesting the change.

Does Your Company Have Calibration Guidelines from a Quality or Regulatory Agency?

Companies that have set guidelines for calibration intervals typically do not have any leeway to lengthen calibration intervals. Agencies will not make exceptions to current regulations. Any equipment calibration intervals must meet guidelines.

Most companies will find that there are no problems with decreasing a calibration interval. Oftentimes this occurs when equipment is used in a harsh environment, sustains damage, or provides critical measurements. If a piece of equipment is continually failing calibration testing, it may be time for a replacement piece. Changing calibration to a less frequent interval may be tempting, as it can decrease costs, but it may not be appropriate. Even if the equipment passes with flying colors, an organization must make sure they are still meeting requirements. Make sure that you keep the above points in mind if you are considering changing calibration intervals.

If you have any questions about changing calibration intervals, contact Northeast Ohio calibration laboratory, e2b calibration.