by Breana Cronk, IQS Editor
The heat index today is supposed to reach 100° Fahrenheit or higher here in muggy Michigan. Sitting in a cool office with the AC on full blast, a glance at the climbing mercury inspires the thought that the thermometer must be off somehow. A step outside, however, offers a blast of heat to verify that the readout is 100% accurate and inspires a quick retreat indoors where the thermostat, set at a much lower temperature is thankfully also accurate. This is because, like so many thermal, as well as pressure, measurement, weighing and many other instruments, calibration services are performed regularly in the facilities where they are produced to ensure quality and performance at work, at home and everywhere in between.
In actuality, the “in between” is where calibration services are increasingly vital. Nearly all types of travel whether by plane, train or automobile offer several examples of instruments and operations that require regular calibration in order to function optimally. The temperature calibration mentioned above applies to both interior and engine operation, as does standardized pressure and flow readings. Calibration is simply the process which checks that the devices that produce the quantitative readings match up with accepted standards and correct them if they do not, keeping everybody on the same page so to speak. Speedometer calibration, for example, makes sure that the readout on a vehicle’s control panel gives the same speed as would be read by a police scanner. In addition to fuel economy and other savings offered by automotive calibration, the accuracy of this particular instrument could mean the difference between a ticket and a clean record, though even the best calibration laboratory cannot account for a lead foot.
More than just a convenience, equipment calibration can, on a broader scale, be vital to overall health and safety. It is easy to assume how improperly calibrated cars or other vehicles might result in a dangerous situation, but not all calibration failures are so obvious. Automated machinery used to dispense medicinal and food products, for example, must be properly calibrated for consumer safety as improper levels of ingredients or doses could have devastating effects. The same logic applies to heavy machinery which could threaten workers if left to falter. With so much at stake, most calibration service providers not only check the instruments and equipment of clients, but also calibrate the calibration equipment on a regular basis.
Safety is the number one goal of national and international organizations that set the standards to which calibration service providers compare instruments. In addition to safety, regular examinations improve the bottom line. Equipment wears down over time, calibration increases productivity by accounting for even seemingly miniscule changes to aging machinery that actually result in decreased precision and functionality. While the temperature outside right now may offer nothing but extreme discomfort, the knowledge of this calibrated equipment all around does provide a measure of comfort. Accurate instrument calibration provides safety and savings, whether in the form of a speeding ticket avoided or improved productivity.