Calibration of Scales to Traceable Standards (Clause 7.6) - Required or Not

Manix

Get Involved!!!
#1
Hey Covers, I'm back again......it has been sometime and I am now in my third company since joining the Cove! Apologies for my absence!

I know there is a recent thread on this, but it doesn't really answer my question so here goes!

Ok I have a similar question and one that has plagued me for years in various companies!

We are TS certified and have scales on site simply to count product when picking parts or verifying incoming deliveries.

Clause 7.6 states you need to establish monitoring and measurement activities, using monitoring and measurement equipment
to provide evidence of conformity of product to determined requirements
Now are our scales doing that? They are not measuring the products we ship to customers against any specified requirements. They do measure the quantity of parts being used internally, thus an internal conformance to PO and Pick requirements, not a product conformance per se!?

The calibration requirements applies, we will calibrate them to ensure we can rely on them, but do we need to do this to traceable standards (UKAS here in the UK?).

There is also the "where necessary" just before 7.6(a)!! Does a discrepancy of 4 screws being short on a pick require us to use traceable standards? My management would probably laugh that one off the table.

There's a reasonably significant cost saving to be made here, hence my question, Standard or Traceable calibration??

Thanks in advance :)
 
#3
This is one of those mindless "gotcha" issues. We use a weight count scale and they tried to "ding" us because our scales are calibrated by the vendor to the city/state requirements. It's close enough. We have never had a counting issue.

I guess, it really depends upon how important it is to you and your customer. If you're selling nickels, then being off 1 or 2 is no big deal. If your selling $100s, then you may want to make sure you're precise.
 

Manix

Get Involved!!!
#4
I think what I will do is probably UKAS calibrate the scales used to check incoming goods as this is the more important verification that could affect the customer ultimately - if we're short on parts coming in to the organisation then that's a big deal to detect accurately and easily - picking parts from stock is less critical, as short picks can always be easily rectified and rarely cause us issues.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#5
7.6 reads like it is directed to final inspection and acceptance of product, but 7.5.1 does require control of processes so there's an expectation that in-process scales can be relied upon to help ensure you meet your objectives. Part of that reliance is an industry-accepted means of verifying accuracy, which includes traceability so we can believe those scales are telling the truth.
:2cents:
 
#6
The sentence in the standard leading into 7.6a reads:

"Where necessary to ensure valid results, measuring equipment shall"

And then going into letter a:

"be calibrated or verified, or both . . .

If it is necessary for valid results, it needs to be calibrated. If it is not needed for valid results, it doesn't need to be calibrated.

It is my opinion that counting scales used for internal purposes, not for resale of the counted parts, need not be calibrated.

That said, it is also my opinion that it would be a best practice to calibrate them.
 

Scanton

Wearer of many hats
#7
I happened across this subject while browsing the cove and realised I had exactly the same problem in my company.

We use some balances for counting, we are a fairly remote site (away from any city) so calibration costs are very high, so my solution was to purchase a set of UKAS certified calibration weights (they cost about the same as one calibration visit), gave them a calibration cycle of 10 years and perform the calibration of these balances myself. Hey presto, the calibration costs are reduced 90%. As long as you record the data from the calibration correctly, all is well and good enough to pass audit (or in my case many audits).
 


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