Starting up a new Calibration Laboratory

SGCalLab

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hello everyone,

I just got hired on to a company and have been tasked with creating a calibration lab from the ground up. They have not had a need for a real cal lab before, but some customers and other regulations are pushing them to create one and start using it. It will need to be FDA compliant.

From what I know right now (only my third day) I’ll be calibrating lot’s of temperature indicators, thermocouples (J/K), RTD, pressure gauges (air/liquid), vacuum gauges, RPM (converting Hz to RPM), compound pressure sensors, etc…

I’ve been tasked to buy equipment to calibrate with. Mindful, I have to keep it in reason.

Some of the equipment I was looking at are:

  • Process Calibrators (Fluke 743b or 725)
  • Temperature Calibrators (Fluke 724)
  • Pressure (Fluke 718)
  • Loop Calibrator (Fluke 707)
  • Power supply
  • RPM Calibrator
  • Field (portable) Metrology Well (for thermocouples)
These don’t have to be all Fluke. I am familiar with Fluke more than some others like Omega for instance, but I don’t have to stick with Fluke if others are better.

Looking for suggestions on what equipment to buy.

Thanks!!
 
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Coury Ferguson

Moderator here to help
Trusted Information Resource
#2
Re: Starting up a new Cal Lab

Hello everyone,

I just got hired on to a company and have been tasked with creating a calibration lab from the ground up. They have not had a need for a real cal lab before, but some customers and other regulations are pushing them to create one and start using it. It will need to be FDA compliant.

From what I know right now (only my third day) I’ll be calibrating lot’s of temperature indicators, thermocouples (J/K), RTD, pressure gauges (air/liquid), vacuum gauges, RPM (converting Hz to RPM), compound pressure sensors, etc…

I’ve been tasked to buy equipment to calibrate with. Mindful, I have to keep it in reason.

Some of the equipment I was looking at are:

  • Process Calibrators (Fluke 743b or 725)
  • Temperature Calibrators (Fluke 724)
  • Pressure (Fluke 718)
  • Loop Calibrator (Fluke 707)
  • Power supply
  • RPM Calibrator
  • Field (portable) Metrology Well (for thermocouples)
These don’t have to be all Fluke. I am familiar with Fluke more than some others like Omega for instance, but I don’t have to stick with Fluke if others are better.

Looking for suggestions on what equipment to buy.

Thanks!!

Here is a Manual that I found while looking for something similar. It is the NIST's and it is a template. I didn't see any "Copyright" statement on the Manual. I have split it into two parts, because the file size exceeds the upload limit.

Maybe it may help you.
 

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J

Jeff Frost

#3
Hello everyone,

I just got hired on to a company and have been tasked with creating a calibration lab from the ground up. They have not had a need for a real cal lab before, but some customers and other regulations are pushing them to create one and start using it. It will need to be FDA compliant.

From what I know right now (only my third day) I’ll be calibrating lot’s of temperature indicators, thermocouples (J/K), RTD, pressure gauges (air/liquid), vacuum gauges, RPM (converting Hz to RPM), compound pressure sensors, etc…

I’ve been tasked to buy equipment to calibrate with. Mindful, I have to keep it in reason.

Some of the equipment I was looking at are:

  • Process Calibrators (Fluke 743b or 725)
  • Temperature Calibrators (Fluke 724)
  • Pressure (Fluke 718)
  • Loop Calibrator (Fluke 707)
  • Power supply
  • RPM Calibrator
  • Field (portable) Metrology Well (for thermocouples)
These don’t have to be all Fluke. I am familiar with Fluke more than some others like Omega for instance, but I don’t have to stick with Fluke if others are better.

Looking for suggestions on what equipment to buy.

Thanks!!
What is your background in calibration?

Before you purchase calibration equipment you will need to review process equipment to understand the equipment accuracy you will be calibrating and what accuracy the actual process requires.

Since you are working with process equipment that contain multiple elements such as display modules and thermal couples you will also need to determine total system accuracy which is not the adding together of the display unit accuracy and thermal couple accuracy.

Calibration equipment itself should have a system accuracy at a minimum 4:1 to a preferred 10:1 ratio to the unit under test with calibration certification reflecting actual results traceable to a national or international standard body.

When calibrating pressure gauges the actual calibration standard should have a 1/4 of 1% accuracy over the most accurate process gauge using nitrogen as a calibration media.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SGCalLab

Involved In Discussions
#4
What is your background in calibration?

Before you purchase calibration equipment you will need to review process equipment to understand the equipment accuracy you will be calibrating and what accuracy the actual process requires.

Since you are working with process equipment that contain multiple elements such as display modules and thermal couples you will also need to determine total system accuracy which is not the adding together of the display unit accuracy and thermal couple accuracy.

Calibration equipment itself should have a system accuracy at a minimum 4:1 to a preferred 10:1 ratio to the unit under test with calibration certification reflecting actual results traceable to a national or international standard body.

When calibrating pressure gauges the actual calibration standard should have a 1/4 of 1% accuracy over the most accurate process gauge using nitrogen as a calibration media.
I had calibration lab experience and training in the military. I'm new to this type of enviroment.

Most of what I have found out thus far, is the the tolerances on the process is between 1 - 3%.
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
#5
Look at my response in your other thread.:D Before you buy anything...

You need to make a thorough (and accurate) inventory of the equipment. The labor you will need to do the work is going to need to be sold to management. Also, you will need to evaluate vendors, audit them, etc. Thus, you need to determine what is before you.

As far as standards, look at buying the standards that are critical for your process. Or more simply put, get the most bang for your buck.

Starting off, you may want to qualify some vendors, and have them calibrate the equipment for you. It's going to take you some time to get things going. So assure the equipment is calibrated and tagged properly first.

Then, you can work on setting up your calibration system.:)
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
#6
Step number one is to join NCSLI www.ncsli.org and get the Recommended Practices (RPs). There is a RP specifically for how to set up a cal lab.

Make sure you control both temp and RH.

Also, get a copy of ANS/ISO/IEC 17025:2005 whether you intend to get accreditation or not as it will help develop a good management structure to maintain control and provide services. If you intend to seek accreditation don't just pick any, shop around a bit first.

If your parent organization has Government contracts, join GIDEP www.gidep.org to have access to military calibration porocedures and avoid validation issues.

Get training in the specific types of calibration you will be doing and make sure it is documented. There are NIST sessions and similar at NCSLI in San Antonio end of July.

Hope this helps.
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
#8
NCSLI is a membership organization of Metrology professionals.....for calibration, this is the better organization.....
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
#10
I also recommend getting training in uncertainty analysis, which you will need going forward. I believe Dilip Shah will have a course at NCSLI in San Antonio and his course has a good reputation, and Dilip will take time to make sure you have a good handle on it. If you can't make that one, I believe IAS will have one sometime in the fall.

At NCSLI, you can also go around and see all the newest and best, including from Fluke/Hart, oh, and you get to touch and play with it also.

Also, if you can get training in 21 CFR Part 11, get it. Operating in the FDA environment it is critical. Also, at NCSLI, join the Healthcare Committee (I forget the Committee number), as these folks deal with the very same issues as you. You can learn and contribute at the same time.
 
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