How does your company perform calibrations?

Jerry Eldred

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Super Moderator
Without getting into too much detail, we do nearly all of it internally. I would say, based on your numbers that you may be able to financially justify it, as standards to calibrate those aren't too expensive. Get in touch with a local office of one of the major physical/dimensional instrument manufacturers and they may even help figure out the costing, etc. Some of the manufacturers have taining classes that are held at various locations. And there is training software available to teach how to do those calibrations.

If you already have a calibration program in-house it makes things a lot easier, as you will only need to add those on to the scope, etc. If you do not already have an internal calibration program, it may be more difficult. You'll have to go through the standard "hoops" to set up the lab, environmental monitoring and control, training, procedures (not too many), a policy, and standards.

I recommend using the vendor reps (such as Mitutoyo, Starrett, Brown & Sharpe, etc.). Use more than one to get some objectivity. I have my favorite vendors, but I'll avoid the temptation to show preference here.

Bottom line, it is a dollar to dollar comparison. Add up your total annual cost externally, then add up your total estimated internal cost. If you have a lead time problem getting units returned from the outside vendor, factor in what ever else needs to be added to your external cost to move that to an acceptable lead time. Perhaps by changing vendors, or paying expedite fees for fast turn around, or by somehow calculating potential for dollars in internal productivity lost by long lead times from external vendors. Factor in assuring that you use a "good" vendor (meets your quality criteria). I like to also factor in an intangible cost associated with the loss of a certain degree of confidence in that you can't as fully control the quality of the calibrations when they are done externally. You may not be able to place a dollar amount, but when you line the dollar to dollar comparisons up, you can determine SUBjectively if that tips the scales one way or the other.

I seem to hear quite regularly about smaller companies that may not take on the task of calibrations of more complex instruments, making the decision to calibrate calipers, micrometers, height gages, etc. internally. Simply because it is a relatively low cost calibration.


Daniel J. Rupright

I'm doing a benchmark for my Quality Manager.
He's interested on how companys are doing their gage calibrations. We've sent our gages out for calibration for more than a decade. Our sources are beginning to back up
and take longer and longer. We're wondering if it would be more beneficial to have someone at our facilities perform these calibrations in house. Then the gages would never leave here. We've got about 2,000 active gages. (Calipers,micrometers,height gages, and other gages)

Daniel J. Rupright
Defiance Metal Products
Defiance, Ohio 43512

Paul Vragel

To help clients look at this and take some pain out of the comparison, we put together an EXCEL-based cost justification model - available free at (broken link removed) - you can use to add in and compare relevant costs (hard or judgemental) for your operation.



Jerry, in a previous post (which I am just now reading) you said

And there is training software available to teach how to do those calibrations.

Can you provide some links to this training software?

Thanks for any help you can provide.
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