Calibration through Gage Blocks/Test Fixtures/Customer Supplied

Q

qe2008

#1
Hi All,

I have a question regarding calibration. We send out our Gage blocks to an outside vendor to calibrate to NIST standards annually. We then "verify" our calipers and micrometers with these gage blocks. I believe this is acceptable according to ISO standards, but what about AS9100? Recently a consultant audited and wrote us up for "not being traced to a known standard". However, when we verify the calipers they are verified with NIST traced gage blocks. Am I wrong in thinking that this may be a different interpretation of the standard, not necessarily a correct interpretation at all?

Also, we build test fixtures that use a Cirrus tester to verify the acceptance. This tester gives a signature the first time we build product and when the first article is accepted, we know the signature is good. This signature is used from this point forward as the acceptance of the product. We do not calibrate these test fixtures, since if the fixture does not work....it will not give us a signature. Then we know to send it back to the technician and remove it from service. The test fixture is verified everytime we test product on it. We were written up because those measuring devices were not calibrated against a traceable standard. I am not so sure that is right either.

Also we were written up because we had customer supplied measuring devices that were not calibrated due to the customer placing a sticker on the test fixture "NO Calibration Required". The test fixture is used for accepting product, but customer stated no cal required.

Were all of the writeups justified? I am not so sure they were, but at the same time it has me questioning things.

Thank you for your help!
qe2008
 
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J

justncredible

#2
Just a guess but I think you should read your manual for calibration. Are you doing what you said? Make sure your manual states that customer supplied gaging is to be controled by the customer and not you. I think maybe the wording in your manual is off base. Update the manual.
 
Q

qe2008

#3
Hi! Thank you for replying. We do state exactly what I stated in our manual. The thought from the consultant is that it is not allowed or admissible by ISO.

Thanks,
qe2008
 

Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Trusted Information Resource
#4
Hi! Thank you for replying. We do state exactly what I stated in our manual. The thought from the consultant is that it is not allowed or admissible by ISO.

Thanks,
qe2008
Ask them where the requirement is. If the customer has identified it as not needing calibration and you are using gage blocks that are traceable to NIST, then I don't see the problem.

What are they saying it is not allowed or admissible by ISO?
 
A

andygr

#6
"However, when we verify the calipers they are verified with NIST traced gage blocks."There is nothing in the AS standard that does not allow you to perfrom this calibaration the way you describe it.
It might just be an issue of the documentation.
Make sure that you have your process of internal calibration correctly addressing logging of the traceabililty in your internal procedures and make sure that you address the need for external calibration documenting traceabilty back to a NIST standard.

"Also we were written up because we had customer supplied measuring devices that were not calibrated due to the customer placing a sticker on the test fixture "NO Calibration Required". The test fixture is used for accepting product, but customer stated no cal required."
This is a finding since the tool is being used for product acceptance-but the issue of control has to begin from the customer as floowed down in their contract to you. Some supply the tooling and require you then to calibrate it and if it fails you have to coordinate with them to repair or rework it. Some will have you send it back to them or they come in house and calibrate it. Some just give it to you to manitain and control. I would fist verify that it is actualy being used for acceptance and not a inprocess check that has the feature later checked with a calibrate instrument(s) which is why the customer placed a calibration not required sticker on the fixture. A good example is a fixture used for trimming that has these features measured at a later inspection point. It can then be concidered a "shop aid" and not require calibration.

The Cirrus tester also requires calibration since it performes product acceptance. Even if it is a continuity check only this function has to be verified on a reqular basis. You would hate to have a failed circuit in the unit with a dead short so that you would see a cloth thread show continuity when you pressed the test button:cool:
:2cents:
 
J

jfgunn

#7
For the calibration traceability issue: Who is calibrating your gage blocks. Do they have any sort of accreditation (like ISO 17025)? Do they supply you with measurement data including measurement of uncertainty? OR, do you get a generic peice of paper with a big check mark on it that says "my blocks are good"?

Also, when you calibrte your calipers and mics, do you take data? Do you compute the measurement of uncertainty for the measurments you are taking?

From the International Vocabulary of Basic and General Terms in Metrology (1993) the definition of traceability is:

traceability: property of the result of a measurement or the value of a standard whereby it can be related to stated references, usually national or international standards, through an unbroken sequence of comparisons all having stated uncertainties (VIM 6.10–ref: BIPM, IEC, IFCC, ISO, IUPAC, IUPAP, OIML, International Vocabulary of Basic and Metrological Terms in Metrology, 2nd edition, ISO Genéve, 1993)

If you are not doing these things then your auditor may be correct, you are not traceable.

For the Cirrus testers: Are the actually Cirris Testers? If so, see the following website: http://www.cirris.com/support/pchk.html

They sell calibration kits for these testers. I assume if they sell kits, they need to be calibrated. Te kits aren't too expensive.

I hope this helps some.
 
J

Jeff Frost

#8
You will need to first of all look at the certification issued by your outside calibration lab for your gage blocks. To meet the requirement of traceability to national or international standard the certification must list the standards used for the calibration along with it NIST number (or other international number).

Next look at your calibration records for the instruments you are calibrating. Do you indicate on the records which specific gage block set was used as your in-house standard? The records of calibration, at a minimum, should list everything required by Clause 7.6 of AS9100 for both the unit under test and the standard used. This is part of the traceability chain.

Lastly look at our description of your calibration system within your documentation. If you state that your system conforms to the requirements of a calibration standard like MIL-STD-45662, Z540, ISO/ICE 17025 or ISO 10012 then the traceability requirements (along with all other requirements)within the Standard must also be met in addition to those required by AS9100.
 
A

Aluminum Oxide

#9
I just had an AS9100 auditor tell me that for NIST traceability that I need to show objective evidence of the actual standard. That standard being the NIST traceable number. My calibration house along with a few other looked at me like I had 3 heads. It does say an"unbroken chain" of standards. Has anyone else had to take this all the way back to the actual NIST number? He was quite specific in saying that the number cannon be the work order number either. It had to be the "standard" which is a piece of equipment and not a procedure.:bonk:
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
#10
I wouls ask the auditor why he wants you to try tracing your calibration to an invalid number (the so-called NIST numbers), as NIST themselves state plainly in their traceability that those numbers are NOT vaild for traceability in and of themselves.

The numbers, CAN be used - IF - the number is documented in the issued report as being a specific calibration of a specific item at a specific time. Otherwise, the number is invalid for traceability.

The auditor needs to be trained.
 
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