Question of Calibration Cycles

#1
Hey all,

I just have a quick question regarding calibration cycles. From what I understand, it's up to the organization to determine the adequate calibration cycle of equipment. Is that the case?

The reason I ask is because I am trying to move our equipment to a 2 to 3 year cal cycle, as most of the equipment we have is not used and the company is always worried about the financial impact of calibration services.

The quality director is fighting against it for some reason. We have years of previous records showing calibration was "in cal" when received and "in cal" after calibration services were performed, so there is a history.

What are the AS9100 requirements when it comes to this history? Does the history even matter? Can the organization determine the cal cycle based on frequency of use? Or can an organization just determine their own cal cycle?

Thanks for your help
 
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Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#2
I can't speak to AS9100, just 9001. But part of the calibration consideration is the risk associated with produced product due to calibrated equipment being found out-of-spec.. If you've been producing product X for 3 years with an out-of-spec calibrated device, what is the consequence? Will you have to recall 3 years of product and replace it? Will it be a safety risk for the customer/enduser? Etc.

So, a shorter cycle time is a way to reduce risk exposure on the produced product.

In 9001 you can choose your own cycle durations. There should be some kind of rationale for those durations, whether it is equipment mfr recommendations, risk exposure, amount of usage of the equipment, etc. which combine to justify a duration.
 

darkopsghost

Involved In Discussions
#3
I would shy away from Cals that were a longer duration than a year. Most auditors don't have a good grasp on Calibration anyway. Most come with baggage and preconceived notions on what should be done.

I "Validate" hand instruments using Standards I send out to a Cal Lab, Mics, Calipers, Depth Gauges, etc. and send out everything else either to a local Lab (Multimeters, Anemometers, Paint Thickness Testers, Torque Wrenches, etc.) or back to the manufacturer (Screw Guns, Portable Hot Bonders, etc.). I have never had any issues with any type of Process or Systems Audit either.

Larger equipment of course you would need "In-House" Calibration Services and that might be where the catch is. For instance, Uniformity Surveys on Ovens and Autoclaves need to be done regardless of use. Once you miss an Annual you basically have to go back and start the clock all over again with Quarterly Surveys. If you have ever done one you will realize how important it is not to let that lapse or just how expensive it is to have someone from outside perform it.

As far as for
as most of the equipment we have is not used and the company is always worried about the financial impact of calibration services.
, can these items not be put in an "Out Of Service" status on your Recall Record? I have several hand held instruments locked up that are in hiatus. Only thing is, they must not be used until re-calibrated and I red tag them as well until that occurrence.

The biggest driver other than being able to sleep nights would be: What do your customers require/ expect?

Calibration should be considered an Asset just like a Quality System insures Customer Satisfaction. It is just one of the many costs of doing business and should already be amortized into what you get for your goods or services. If it isn't, someone didn't do their homework very well.

DarkOpps
 

dwperron

Trusted Information Resource
#4
A lot is going to depend on your company's internal policy for determining risk for extending calibration intervals. AS9100D simply calls for equipment to be calibrated "at specified intervals", so they may ask "Who specifies the intervals? Where do you get them from?"

In my organization here we have a documented policy where the unit is set to either the manufacturer's recommended interval (when available), an interval representative of similar equipment, or a 12 month interval. We have an algorithm which then adjusts the interval due to reliability of the equipment.
If the owners of the equipment desire a different interval (longer or shorter) they are allowed to request one. The form they fill out requires the signatures of the Program Manager and the QA Representative. We operate on the assumption that those individuals are much more cognizant of the risks involved in increasing the calibration intervals.
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
#6
Hello Joe!

Question... is NADCAP still using AMS 2750 as the calibration requirement? If yes, do you have a current copy and does it specify intervals?

Hey, you mentioned the instruments aren't used. Why not just tag/ quarantine those instruments and not worry about calibration?
 

qualprod

Trusted Information Resource
#7
Hey all,

I just have a quick question regarding calibration cycles. From what I understand, it's up to the organization to determine the adequate calibration cycle of equipment. Is that the case?

The reason I ask is because I am trying to move our equipment to a 2 to 3 year cal cycle, as most of the equipment we have is not used and the company is always worried about the financial impact of calibration services.

The quality director is fighting against it for some reason. We have years of previous records showing calibration was "in cal" when received and "in cal" after calibration services were performed, so there is a history.

What are the AS9100 requirements when it comes to this history? Does the history even matter? Can the organization determine the cal cycle based on frequency of use? Or can an organization just determine their own cal cycle?

Thanks for your help
Joe, there are 2 important points to take into consideration.

While your equipment is able to measure correctly, what is the reason to take them to calibration?
Here is where the verification takes place, with this activity, you can verify if still is able to perfom the measurements
properly, this way, you save money because verifications are done into your company.
That is the reason to verify equipment.
Other important point is to do a follow-up of each equipment when is calibrated, in the report, the supplier
provides comments about it, (in short, this part will fail due to wore, or just says, don´t invest more on this because will
need a replacement shortly and is very costly)
You need to have a "history" of each equipment, which is used to take some decisions about calibrations.

Hope this helps
 

Zero_yield

No cost too great...for Quality
#8
Hey, you mentioned the instruments aren't used. Why not just tag/ quarantine those instruments and not worry about calibration?
This seems like the potential least cost / least risk option. Perform exit calibrations on all equipment that isn't planned on being used for 3 year and lock them up somewhere until they're needed.
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
#9
This seems like the potential least cost / least risk option. Perform exit calibrations on all equipment that isn't planned on being used for 3 year and lock them up somewhere until they're needed.
Gotcha. Have they been used since their last calibration? If not, I would document that, note in whatever calibration database/ recall/ inventory system you use, and forgo that expense.
 
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