Tool tracebility and First calibration requirements for aerospace (AS9100) organisation

#1
Hello all, This is hemanth,
Organisation Type- Aerospace (AS9100 certified)
Topic - setting up of Tool initial acceptance requirement,
Questions -
1. Is it Mandatory to have a first calibration report for a NEW TOOL ?, (I have purchased new tools but calibration certificate is not provided, on inquiry it is understood it incurs a separate charge).
2. How can i accept a new tool ? is COC certificate of conformance enough or shall i get it calibrated ?or should i get it calibrated before starting to use it ? or any particular requirements ? (how will it affect audit)
3. How shall i setup tool calibration procedure (on what basis) ?.


Plz Help me
Thanks in advance
 
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Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#2
1. Is it Mandatory to have a first calibration report for a NEW TOOL ?, (I have purchased new tools but calibration certificate is not provided, on inquiry it is understood it incurs a separate charge).

There's no telling what condition a new device is in unless you calibrate it yourself. Even when calibration certificates are provided by the manufacturer, a lot can happen in shipping and handling. "Mandatory"? When calibration is required, you need to be able to show evidence that calibration has been done.
2. How can i accept a new tool ? is COC certificate of conformance enough or shall i get it calibrated ?or should i get it calibrated before starting to use it ? or any particular requirements ? (how will it affect audit)
See the previous answer. In general, a "certificate of conformance" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
3. How shall i setup tool calibration procedure (on what basis) ?.
I'm not sure what you're asking. Please clarify.
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#3
Let's go through the requirements from the standard to understand what is needed.

The part I want to stress is in 7.5.1.2. That is not to say that 7.1.5.1 isn't important, just the 7.1.5.2 better answers your question.

I like the wording from the 2008 standard better as it is easier to catch the emphasis. The 2015 standard says pretty much the same thing but with more words.

2008 - "Where necessary to ensure valid results . . . "

2015 - "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 . . . "

So if it is necessary to ensure valid results it needs to be calibrated. If it isn't necessary to ensure valid results, it doesn't need to be calibrated.

The rest of it is from 2015.

. . . measuring equipment shall be:
a) calibrated or verified, or both (pointing out that calibration activity includes confirming it is in spec if adjustments are needed or not), at specified intervals (you get to determine the intervals, more on that later), or prior to use, against measurement standards traceable to international or national measurement standards (in the USA the most common is traceability to NIST); where no such standards exists, the basis used for calibration or verification shall be retained as documented information (in the rare event that you have a unique measuring tool that isn't traceable to a NIST standard you need to explain what you are doing);

b) identified in order to determine their status;

c) safeguarded from adjustments, damage or deterioration that would invalidate the calibration status and subsequent measurement results.

The organization shall determine if the validity of previous measurement results has been adversely affected when measuring equipment is found to be unfit for its intended purpose, and shall take appropriate action as necessary (going back to determining the calibration interval, you don't want it to be so often that it is a nuisance but frequent enough that you seldom if ever need to go through the exercise of determining the harm done from an out of calibration measuring tool).

Keep in mind that the ending of 7.1.5.1 includes keeping records of calibration as evidence of fitness for use.

Back to the original question about the need to a new measuring tool to be calibrated. If there is no calibration certificate with NIST traceability, how are you going to provide evidence of that traceability and fitness for use?
 

John Predmore

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
How shall i setup tool calibration procedure (on what basis) ?.
@Big Jim gave a detailed answer from the AS9100 standard. Note calibration is not the only option, you can calibrate, or verify, or both, at specified intervals, or before use, against a traceable measurement standard, or (where no standard exists) the organization defines what is the basis. So in that use of the word basis, it is the method and the standard you calibrate or verify in comparison to. If your unique device measures product or machine performance in a units which are not traceable to calibration standards - fundamental engineering units (length, force, current, time) - your organization is allowed to define your own verification/calibration procedure. Sometimes the manufacturer of the device will provide a verification master and a calibration/verification procedure and recommended verification frequency. Adopting the recommendation of the manufacturer is a reasonable approach and often a safe bet.

When you ask in question 3 what basis, you may have meant what frequency. The perfect answer is to calibrate/adjust as often as you need to avoid "adverse affect" when the results are invalid. Of course, you can't know with certainty when that adverse point is reached, so most companies chose a calibrate/verify frequency which is a a trade-off between often and not often enough. Until you have data to make a more rational, mathematical determination, many companies use a default interval of 12 months. Another solution is to verify before use, which is an option allowed by AS9100. Whatever basis your organization chooses, must be retained as documented information.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource
#5
Look carefully at any calibration requirements flowed down to you by your customers - very often in aerospace and defense those requirements go well beyond the minimums in the AS9100 standard.
 

Welshwizard

Involved In Discussions
#6
Mike S,

Yes indeed, for example in Europe there has been a move over the last 10 years or so to mandate UKAS calibration standards in the form of ISO 17025 by some of the key manufacturers. This invokes true traceability i.e. not only an unbroken chain but each level with an associated uncertainty.

I have seen many companies in aerospace where they have not realised that their calibrations are not strictly traceable i.e. no statements of uncertainty on their certificates. To be at many of the "top tables " now you must demonstrate amongst other things that you have truly traceable measurements, it could also be very important if the unthinkable happened and there were injuries and god forbid fatalities.

So yes AS9100 is indeed a minimum for many now.
 
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