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Monday, 19 September 2011

Calibration of Equipment

I was carrying out an audit recently for a Client and as part of that audit I looked at a number of pieces of calibrated equipment; normally equipment is calibrated by a calibration house accredited by UKAS but in this instance the calibration house was not fully accredited to UKAS but claimed full traceability to National and International Standards using equipment that had been calibrated by a fully accredited calibration centre.  This is quite normal and acceptable.  They quoted the calibration certificate numbers of the equipment used.

I asked my Client if he could get copies of these certificates from his Calibration house so that I could check that full traceability was evidenced.

The owner of the calibration house confessed that as he didn’t use that equipment very often the original certificates of calibration had expired and he had extended their currency.  It turned out that the certificates had expired some years ago.  Extending these again and again is not permitted and unfortunately I had to issue a Major Non-conformity to my Client for using non-calibrated equipment.

In most respects my Client had everything under control but this issue was very important as my Client had produced product using what he thought was calibrated equipment. 

It is probable that no real damage has been done but it could have been disastrous.

The moral here is to question a statement that "this measuring equipment is calibrated using Items traceable to an International or National Standard" if the Calibration House is not accredited to UKAS.  If it is not then you need to see the certificates to show that their equipment is calibrated and in date.

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