Calibration Recall - Lost Gages procedure example wanted

J Allen

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We have a calibration recall system in place. Sometimes, personnel are unable to locate the gages on recall and they are presumed lost until they turn up. Of course they do not always turn up.
How should I address lost gages in the recall.
Does anyone have a lost gage procedure?
I was just notified by a potential customer that my procedure must address lost gages.


Hello there!!

Good question.

What we started doing was issuing deviations for lost instruments. We then keep track of the deviations in two categories: Lost/broken instruments; and instruments that exceed tolerance.

Once the deviation is issued, the status of the instrument is changed to lost. If the instrument is located again, it can be calibrated and re-enrolled in the system. If the instrument stays lost for a couple of years, the instrument owner can choose to change status to retired/decommissioned.

These deviations can then be reported (and handled) down two different paths.


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Ho ho ho !

No, it's not Christmas, that's me chortling over somebody else admitting that this problem exists.

Although I've never had a customer require that my documentation address this issue.

Over the years I've tracked the percentage of calibrated items that are delivered for re-calibration when due. Regardless of where I worked (granted, only two different outfits for the last 17 years), it ranged from 92% - 97%.

Now, some of that is because I calibrate employee-owned tools if they bring them in - I have a no questions asked policy regarding that. I figure if they can bring it in for calibration, they may also have it in the building and on their desk when a customer or other external auditor walks by, and it hurts less to calibrate those instruments than to deal with the resulting drama of them not being in current calibration status.

And I'm not innocent - I have a couple of meters at home that I commandeered because they were out of calibration, and after resolving that issue they went home with me to work on a motorcycle issue and have not returned.

Employees come and go, and things disappear sometimes. My cal log does include " last known location / user " and that helps me to round up the missing dogies. When an item does not get delivered I remove it from my "active" list and track it as "inactive". Sometimes they resurface after a couple of years, sometimes never.

J Allen

Involved In Discussions
Our recall lists the department that the gage has been assigned to. Sometimes the gages seem to grow legs and make their way to another department or some distant Galaxy never to be seen again.

I think I will update the recall list as inactive and send a note to the responsible departments that gages found past their due date must be returned for calibration.


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Your plan makes good sense for a couple of reasons.

First, the owner / user of the equipment is responsible for it. They should know its location, how it was being used, etc. They should be required to either produce the instrument for calibration or take responsibility for it not being available for whatever reason.

Second, I'm sure that you could face problems if you just send notices out that calibration is due but there is no follow up. You should continue to consider the equipment overdue for calibration until it is otherwise dispositioned. The onus should be on the user to determine it is lost, not you.


Same scenario, my customer is asking I update my calibration procedure to address the potential of missing items. Any available procedure examples available?


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I addressed this issue in our process documentation as follows:

Tools used in work areas are managed by area supervisors, and after calibration events area supervisors will update the tool status in the database.

The person managing the calibration program will then review the database updates and verify that database is up to date after onsite calibration events, and take any appropriate action as needed.

Any items that should have been calibrated and were not calibrated will be located and calibrated. Any items that cannot be located by reasonable methods are identified as lost and will be moved to the inactive list in the database.
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