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Is Mobile Gauge Calibration as Accurate as Laboratory Calibration?

Mobile Gauge calibration might be convenient but it is the most accurate service?

You may have seen some gauge and tool calibration laboratories offering the services of a mobile calibration unit. And you could be forgiven for thinking this was the answer to all your problems.

No more having to be without your equipment whilst it is away for calibration. No more having to buy duplicate equipment because you can't be without something, even for a few days. The van turns up on a pre-agreed date and you get your tools and gauges calibrated the same day. Then they're straight back into service. Great!!

It's easy to understand why some calibration companies offer this service. There is an obvious desire for it within the market place. An on-site calibration service is perfectly feasible for certain types of equipment, such as electrical, pressure, temperature and even some types of dimensional calibration such as surface tables or large or heavy machinery that is difficult to move. Hand torque tool calibration for example is perfectly feasible on-site. What you need to consider though, is how a properly accredited dimensional tool and gauge calibration laboratory operates.

Gauge calibration laboratory

How Does a Calibration Labratory Operate?

The laboratory would be temperature controlled to 20ºC ± 1ºC for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thus permanently maintaining all of the measurement standards and equipment within the laboratory at a uniform stable temperature. And this is vitally important.

The gauges or equipment to be calibrated would be brought into the temperature controlled environment, and allowed to stabilise overnight before any calibration work commenced. Think about this. Is such permanent tight control of the environment really achievable in the back of a van? Even if it were achievable, what about stabilisation of your own equipment? Your gauges and tools that have just been collected from the shop floor and placed in the van.

Things to look out for if opting for Mobile Gauge Calibration:

  • What temperature was the equipment at when it was on the shop floor?
  • What temperature is it at after half an hour or an hour in the van?
  • Is anyone measuring this and calculating its effect on the accuracy of the calibration?

There is a further consideration. Dimensional metrology laboratories are equipped with delicate mechanical instrumentation. How does this instrumentation, in the back of the van, stand up to constantly being moved and subjected to mechanical vibration every day?

When gauge calibration equipment is taken on-site to perform a UKAS calibration, the calibration service have to carry out before and after performance tests on the equipment so that we have full confidence in its accuracy whilst it was being used on-site.

How do you calibrate your instruments? Speak to one of our experts in the Solution Centre and find out what the best option is for you. 

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