In house Calibration? Measurement equipment traceability requirements - ISO9001

#1
[FONT=&quot]For measurement traceability the ISO9001 states "calibrated or verified at specific intervals to international or national measurement standard." Can a common sense approach using verified standards be used to verify tape measures, scales, calipers etc. Paying an out side firm $30 to have a 12 dollar tape measure is not cost effective. Can someone with a long history working in Quality using a well written procedure stating method, frequency and maintaining in-house verification records satisfy section 7.1.5.2? I have an external auditor telling me all equipment must be calibrated to NIST at an accredited lab... Our fabrication shop tolerances are +/- 1/16 inch, Thoughts?

Tab[/FONT]
 
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Randy

Super Moderator
#2
Auditor is full of krap, the requirement is...
a) calibrated or verified, or both, at specified intervals, or prior to use, against measurement standards traceable to international or national measurement standards; when no such standards exist, the basis used for calibration or verification shall be retained as documented information;

I don't see anything about a lab. Additionally tape measures, rulers and things like that can be verified against a "standard" like a calibrated calibration block, plate, and so on.

How do I know? In the last 4 weeks I've done 5 certification/transition audits and 3 of them had tape measures/steel rulers. The place I finished today measures to the mm with steel rules and they are right on (we verified the verification)

This is one of those older than dirt subjects
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#3
Randy is spot-on. Lab accreditation is for facilities that do calibration for hire. Even that is not a specific requirement for many, but a criteria in the purchasing process similar ti ISO 9001 certification for raw goods producers.

Auditors are inclined to vary in our understanding of requirements. The subject auditor has a serious misunderstanding of the requirement.
 

Ninja

Looking for Reality
Trusted Information Resource
#4
Speaking of older than dirt...
Here's an old post of mine showing how I handled metal rulers...never had an issue with ISO, QS or TS16949...

Simple, clean, easy...and most importantly...no cost (except for labor time on the phone...)

I would NOT use this method for tape measures with end hooks.

HTH
 
#5
Thanks all of you for your posts! I have been in Quality for many years but this one always seems to be an issue! I really appreciate your insight!

Tab
 
#6
Randy is spot-on. Lab accreditation is for facilities that do calibration for hire.
I'm not sure I'd make such a bold assertion. There are industries which need to perform round robin testing/calibrations because there are no (inter)nationally-agreed standards. In that case, to gain confidence in the various labs in the inter-lab comparisons, accreditation is a valuable step.
 
#7
[FONT=&quot]For measurement traceability the ISO9001 states "calibrated or verified at specific intervals to international or national measurement standard." Can a common sense approach using verified standards be used to verify tape measures, scales, calipers etc. Paying an out side firm $30 to have a 12 dollar tape measure is not cost effective. Can someone with a long history working in Quality using a well written procedure stating method, frequency and maintaining in-house verification records satisfy section 7.1.5.2? I have an external auditor telling me all equipment must be calibrated to NIST at an accredited lab... Our fabrication shop tolerances are +/- 1/16 inch, Thoughts?

Tab[/FONT]
I "think" part of the issue that people use the terms calibration and verification as interchangeable and they aren't. Calibration - when done correctly - involves a number of techniques which aren't usually implemented. Verification is more common, but frequently and inaccurately referred to as calibration...
 
#8
Once again all, thanks for the input on this matter, I am proceeding with my own documented verification procedure and methods. I recently began consulting for a company where the external auditor has several years of this requirement and they have complied, I expect and look forward to a short battle with my auditor but as always it is up to him to prove us wrong....
 

dwperron

Trusted Information Resource
#9
Now for the contrary view.

ISO 9001 covers this under the subject "Measurement Traceability", stating:

"7.1.5.2 Measurement traceability

When measurement traceability is a requirement, or is considered by the organization to be an essential part of providing confidence in the validity of measurement results, measuring equipment shall be:
a) calibrated or verified, or both, at specified intervals, or prior to use, against measurement standards traceable to international or national measurement standards..."

So the auditor can look at your calibration documents and ask you to show traceability to NIST or a national standard.

The official VIM definition for traceability is:

"2.41 (6.10)
metrological traceability
property of a measurement result whereby the result can be related to a reference through a documented unbroken chain of calibrations, each contributing to the measurement uncertainty.
"

Further, in Note 7 of this paragraph, it states:
"the elements for confirming metrological traceability to be an unbroken metrological traceability chain to an international measurement standard or a national measurement standard, a documented measurement uncertainty, a documented measurement procedure, accredited technical competence, metrological traceability to the SI, and calibration intervals"

So when an auditor requests to see your unbroken metrological traceability chain including measurement uncertainties can you provide this? If you can (and you can, it just takes a lot of work) then you are all set.

The auditor's suggestion to get accredited calibrations makes this much easier because an accredited lab has to prove their traceability, so the customer (and auditor) can assume measurement traceability.

As an example, UL requires that their endorsers prove measurement traceability, either by use of accredited labs or by documenting their measurement traceability.

Unfortunately, there are far too many calibration labs where "Traceable to NIST" is nothing more than boilerplate on their certificates.
 
#10
Now for the contrary view.

ISO 9001 covers this under the subject "Measurement Traceability", stating:

"7.1.5.2 Measurement traceability

When measurement traceability is a requirement, or is considered by the organization to be an essential part of providing confidence in the validity of measurement results, measuring equipment shall be:
a) calibrated or verified, or both, at specified intervals, or prior to use, against measurement standards traceable to international or national measurement standards..."

So the auditor can look at your calibration documents and ask you to show traceability to NIST or a national standard.

The official VIM definition for traceability is:

"2.41 (6.10)
metrological traceability
property of a measurement result whereby the result can be related to a reference through a documented unbroken chain of calibrations, each contributing to the measurement uncertainty.
"

Further, in Note 7 of this paragraph, it states:
"the elements for confirming metrological traceability to be an unbroken metrological traceability chain to an international measurement standard or a national measurement standard, a documented measurement uncertainty, a documented measurement procedure, accredited technical competence, metrological traceability to the SI, and calibration intervals"

So when an auditor requests to see your unbroken metrological traceability chain including measurement uncertainties can you provide this? If you can (and you can, it just takes a lot of work) then you are all set.

The auditor's suggestion to get accredited calibrations makes this much easier because an accredited lab has to prove their traceability, so the customer (and auditor) can assume measurement traceability.

As an example, UL requires that their endorsers prove measurement traceability, either by use of accredited labs or by documenting their measurement traceability.

Unfortunately, there are far too many calibration labs where "Traceable to NIST" is nothing more than boilerplate on their certificates.
It's NOT just about traceability, though. To be able to use an item of measuring equipment which is "suitable" you need to know the measurement uncertainty, some of which comes FROM the calibration. To dismiss this whole topic as being about traceability is to miss the ACTUAL reason for the calibration, in the first place.
 
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