Need to convert Reference Only M&TE to a calibration schedule

#1
Our company is in the process of becoming certified to ISO 9001:2015. In an internal audit we discovered we use a large number of "Reference Only" measuring and test equipment (M&TE) to inspect and approve final product. The M&TE were designated "Reference Only" by a previous QC Manager because they are sparsely used, and to reduce calibration costs. However, as I have learned, the general rule of thumb is to place M&TE used for inspecting and approving product on a calibration schedule to ensure their continued accuracy.

My questions are:
Do certain M&TE not require calibration/verification (e.g., pin gages, thread pitch gages)?

Is a 5 year interval too long for a device used an average of 2 or 3 times yearly? Is there an accepted standard for setting intervals?

What types of M&TE can be designated "Calibrate before use"?
 
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howste

Thaumaturge
Super Moderator
#2
re: Need to convert Reference Only M&TE to a calibration schedule

My questions are:
Do certain M&TE not require calibration/verification (e.g., pin gages, thread pitch gages)?
No.

Is a 5 year interval too long for a device used an average of 2 or 3 times yearly? Is there an accepted standard for setting intervals?
Your company needs to understand and accept the risks. If at the end of a 5-year cycle you find that the equipment is out of tolerance, what would that mean in terms of nonconforming product shipped? You don't know when it went out. Is your company willing to deal with the consequences?

What types of M&TE can be designated "Calibrate before use"?
As far as I know, any equipment can be designated as calibrate before use. If you're not using the equipment then there's no risk of a bad measurement. Just make sure that you have the ability to calibrate/verify it in time so it doesn't impact schedules.
 

hogheavenfarm

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
re: Need to convert Reference Only M&TE to a calibration schedule

We have a large amount of RO measurement tools on the floor, BUT, final inspection uses calibrated tools only, this is how we reduce calibration costs. Some is marked "CBU" but we have the ability to calibrate it as needed, as it is rarely used.
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#4
re: Need to convert Reference Only M&TE to a calibration schedule

To add to the other good responses.. the problem is. you don't have any history on these instruments. You don't know how they will perform.

Many times (not the norm) companies have a lot of instruments; many times more than their current processes dictate. I would first assess what you really need and which ones are going to be critical; need to be calibrated.

Then, I would take a sample of those and send for calibration. Before you spend too much time and money in enrolling them in a program and such, make sure they will pass calibration.

Like Howste stated, it really depends on a lot of factors as to how often you should calibrate. For starters, how often they are used, your risk, the instruments themselves. Saying... I personally set a much longer interval on a Fluke multimeter than say... an ABC cheapy meter I know nothing about. :)

So first, I would assess what equipment requires calibration, assume an annual calibration, determine annual cost and inform management as a start.
 
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