Calibration of measuring devices is important in all process industries, but it’s more than a ‘nice-to-have’ in regulated industries such as life sciences and food & beverage. There it’s a critical part of the manufacturing process.
Fluctuating measurements can not only impact on operating costs but also product quality and safety. That’s why regular calibration is essential to ensure the measuring instruments controlling quality-critical processes remain in specification. Regulatory bodies, such as those with responsibility for the production of food and medicines, require manufacturers to have their devices calibrated and to document the results.
Food safety The British Retail Consortium’s Global Standard for Food Safety states that sites ‘shall be able to demonstrate that measuring equipment is sufficiently accurate and reliable to provide confidence in measurement results’. As a minimum, sites are required to:
• Hold a list of equipment and its location
• Record identification codes and calibration due dates
• Prevent unauthorised adjustment
• Prevent damage, deterioration and misuse
• Check (and adjust, where necessary) all devices at a predetermined frequency and record results
Of course, the type of calibration required depends on the device and the application. Endress+Hauser offers a range of calibration services, from laboratory to mobile calibration and in-line verification; all are traceable to national standards and meet the requirements of ISO 17025. We can also carry out installed base audits to document equipment and its location and offer commissioning to ensure new equipment is fully checked. All calibrations are recorded and documented, and a paperless calibration management system is available if required.
Which type of calibration do I need?
Laboratory calibration Calibration performed in a laboratory offers the best calibration uncertainty and the widest calibration ranges. At Endress+Hauser’s UK headquarters in Manchester, flowmeters from 1-100mm (or up to 80mm for Vortex meters) are calibrated against Endress+Hauser Promass Coriolis dual reference meters. Our flow rigs are suitable for any meter with DIN/ANSI flanges, screwed threads or hygienic process connections.
Mobile calibration If your device can’t be removed from the line, or you need to keep downtime to an absolute minimum, mobile calibration is the right choice. Our qualified and experienced field service engineers will visit your site and can perform adjustments, diagnose faults and recalibrate instantly where necessary, regardless of manufacturer.
How often should I calibrate? Regulatory bodies including the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) define the need for process instrumentation to be periodically calibrated using equipment that is traceable to national or international standards; but it is the end user’s responsibility to determine the correct frequency for calibrating each instrument. Deciding when to calibrate a device can be difficult, as it requires striking a balance between saving operational costs (by extending intervals between calibrations) and ensuring the reliability of the process. To date, if an end user decided to extend the period between calibration cycles, they had to do so in the knowledge that the condition of the device in between calibrations could not be easily verified.
To overcome such issues, Endress+Hauser has introduced level, flow, analytics and temperature devices with Heartbeat, an on-board verification technology offering a real alternative to calibration in regulated industries. While there are many instruments on the market today with self-diagnostic features that give the user some level of information about the health of the device, most of them fail to provide traceable evidence that the instrument is still operating in accordance to the original manufacturer’s specification. Heartbeat technology overcomes this by providing a continuous healthcheck of the device, ensuring key device parameters remain within Endress+Hauser’s original specification. Any deviation from factory reference values will be displayed in easy-to-understand diagnostic data, highlighting that maintenance is required or a failure has occurred, in accordance with NAMUR NE 107 and NE 44.
TUV, an internationally respected certification body, has independently validated Heartbeat technology and has concluded that the result of this on-board verification technology is every bit as valuable as a wet calibration. Utilising devices with Heartbeat allows users to significantly extend calibration cycles, reducing operating expenditure while ensuring the process remains fully compliant.