Using Outside Accredited Calibration Laboratories vs. In-house Calibrations

  • Thread starter jane_ackerman - 2010
  • Start date
J

jane_ackerman - 2010

#1
Hershal,
I have a question for you and it certainly is not meant to be disrespectful...
I have read many questions on the forum concerning calibrations, and on most, where I see you have replied, you encourage people to use an outside accredited lab.

My company is TS16949 and I have been calibrating numerous gages (such as calipers, mics, indicators, pins, height gages, ring gages etc), in-house for 13+ years. I have never had an issue with a procedure or the equipment we use (IE: Zeiss CMM for Rings, Grade 00 (formerly grade 1) gage blocks for pins, indicators & calipers, Super (bench) Mic with amplifier for pins, Check Master for height gages and calipers), and I have made it through numerous surveillance audits (for the last 5 yrs) with zero non conformances for calibration.

I even recently had one of my accredited external calibration houses inform me that I have the necessary equipment to calibrate my own super (bench) mic the same way that they do it - and encouraged me to do so.

With over 5,000 gages, we would probably go out of business if I sent everything out to an accredited lab.
Can you please explain to me why you suggest outsourcing, rather than verifying or encouraging proper in-house procedures (including proper equipment) that can often be as adequate and often a huge cost saving?

Continuous learning generally results in continuous improvement - Would we not want to encourage this in our fellow quality professionals rather than always have them ship stuff off to someone else?

Again, no dispresepct meant - I am just trying to understand your viewpoint on this.

Thank you,
Jane
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor

BradM

Leader
Admin
#2
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

Jane,

I realize that you specifically addressed Hershal specifically in your post, but may I add something on this?

While Hershal may be the one that specifically posts that response, I echo the thoughts/concerns he shows when he post that response. I just don’t feel it’s good discussion board etiquette to post, exactly, ditto, or whatever after every post someone makes.

With the increased exposure to the need for calibration. many people post with calibration issues. Without seeing/knowing their specific experience, exposure to measurement systems, environment, applicable standards, training, etc., I usually start with the assumption that the individual would be better served having an accredited lab perform the calibration.

Why an accredited lab? Because that is the only confidence to you, the consumer, that the calibration (and accompanied documentation) are valid. I have seen a lot of real impressive (and expensive) certificates of calibration, that for the most part, were garbage and useless. They did more harm than good.

Usually it’s about asking the right questions. Look at the post over the weekend regarding developing an empirical method using Regression analysis to determine appropriate calibration frequency. I think that person is probably pretty safe determining the correct calibration interval.

However, when the person posts and states things like “do I have the right standard? Am I doing this right? How do I know what tolerance I should have?” and others, by the questions it would indicate (that may be a premature and incorrect assumption) they should probably send off their instruments.

If you can follow the 17025 specification and state that your lab adheres to it, you’re fine. But for those individuals performing calibrations that can’t, they probably should devote a little more attention to their calibration program. I could fill a large file with all the situations arising from incorrect methodology, poor standards, lack of training, etc.
 

BradM

Leader
Admin
#3
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

Continuous learning generally results in continuous improvement - Would we not want to encourage this in our fellow quality professionals rather than always have them ship stuff off to someone else?
You're exactly correct! Please, do, contribute to the threads as often as you can. This is a community, where Iron sharpens Iron. We learn from each other and improve. I need to learn from you; hopefully, you'll pick up a few ideas every now and then also.

Too, you're in the business. If someone has 2 micrometers-send them off. If they have 200, OK, let's spend some time. It may be worth it to set something up.

Even aside from qualifications, you get into the whole "fox guarding the hen-house" with calibrations. Also, like other quality areas, you get the resourses starting out, but then when crunch time comes, that is one of the areas to rob from.
 
#4
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

With over 5,000 gages, we would probably go out of business if I sent everything out to an accredited lab.
Can you please explain to me why you suggest outsourcing, rather than verifying or encouraging proper in-house procedures (including proper equipment) that can often be as adequate and often a huge cost saving?

Continuous learning generally results in continuous improvement - Would we not want to encourage this in our fellow quality professionals rather than always have them ship stuff off to someone else?

Again, no dispresepct meant - I am just trying to understand your viewpoint on this.

Thank you,
Jane
I'd like to add something too, since I often guide clients down the same path.

With such a large quantity of equipment, it's probably justifiable to do it in-house, if there's someone, like you Jane, who knows what they're doing. In many cases, people can 'talk' about calibration, but often they are shaky (at best) with the actual practices. You made the point about learning, but my clients can't afford to pay for problems encountered while their people were learning about calibration. Furthermore, there is a community of people (who 'talk' calibration) who feel they have little to learn and have been doing just fine with their approach to calibration.

Now, where's our cloning machine? Jane, step this way...........:lol:

Andy
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
#5
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

I think that in general, people are advised to avail themselves of expert services when it seems clear that they aren't in a position to be doing the calibration themselves. When someone posting here gives the indication that they have little or no experience or skill in calibration, but want to know how to do it, advising them to get professional help is the responsible thing to do. That being said, lots of people do their own calibrations, especially of mechanical devices, and do so successfully (a la Jane). Remember too that calibration is usually pretty simple--it's just comparison to a standard--but adjustment can get tricky.
 
Last edited:
J

jane_ackerman - 2010

#6
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

Ha Ha Andy!

Thanks to both you and Brad for your replies. Makes more sense in looking at it from that view.

To those who do lack experience, there are several companies who offer great calibration seminars. I would suggest anyone in the calibraiton field who has not attended one (of some sort) to go to one - be sure they address R&R, stability, bias & uncertainty as well. QCIS and Mitutoyo are just a couple of companies who offer this. I'm not sure if Leroy Brittain is still around - he offers a fantastic calibration and gage repair seminar. Last contact info I had for him was [email protected] - ph: 320-679-6930. He is out of Minnesota.
But, before you go signing up.... remember, these seminars are no good if your company is not willing to invest some time and money in establishing and supporting adequate procedures and calibration standards.

As for posting - There are oftentimes where I won't reply to someone's post after they have received such direction (outsource) because I don't want to over-ride a moderator's advise. I will try to do a better job deciphering the experience level of the person posting based on the verbiage.

Again, thanks for your input and for helping me open my eyes.
Jane
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
#7
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

Hi Jane,

You are correct, that is my normal response.....but you have a different scenario.....most don't have some 5000 items.....

I did some informal calculations some years back and came up with a rough break-even on 300 items of very similar characteristics (e.g., calipers, micrometers).....hence, anything above that, you can afford a full time dedicated individual to perform your calibration (depends on the market of course).....

The thing to watch and compare to get a true picture of your cost here is multi-faceted. There is the obvious cost of shipping off to the accredited lab and getting the certificates with the logo and uncertainties.....there is a different cost if th accredited lab contract-staffs your facility with one or more full time people, providing the same information.....internally your cost includes the cost of obtaining and maintaining your equipment, having your Master items calibrated, the manhours expended in internal calibration.....get with your accounting people because you need to know the internal billing rate (salary plus overhead) in order to correctly assign the manhour cost.....

With 5000 items you may still come out quite a bit less expensive to keep it internal, but you may not be THAT much less.....

You do have more direct control however over the actual process and timeing involved.....and that may offset some differences in cost.....

You still have the issue of traceability which includes the unbroken chain of comparisons and stated uncertainties at each step.....miss either and there is no traceability.....

You also, with an effort of that size could look at whether you should seek accreditation.....not a requirement for an internal lab as I understand it.....just a question to ask from time to time.....

Hope this helps explain a bit.....if you had only a few dozen items, then my answer stays the same.....with 5000 you have additional options most don't.....

Regards,

Hershal
 

Hershal

Metrologist-Auditor
Trusted Information Resource
#8
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

Oh, one other thing.....an operation your size should be a member of NCSLI, if you are not already.....you will find a huge amount of help and resources there also.....and the NCSLI conference is in St. Paul this summer.....

http://www.ncsli.org

Hershal
 
J

jane_ackerman - 2010

#9
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

Hershal,
Thanks for the NCSLI link. I will definitely check it out!
Jane
 

SteelMaiden

Super Moderator
Trusted Information Resource
#10
Re: Accredited labs vs In-house calibrations

As for posting - There are oftentimes where I won't reply to someone's post after they have received such direction (outsource) because I don't want to over-ride a moderator's advise. I will try to do a better job deciphering the experience level of the person posting based on the verbiage.
Jane, I don't think that you have to worry about posting contrary to a moderator's post. Most of us welcome the opportunity to learn, every chance we get. Besides, we didn't take some sort of "master of our trade" test to become moderators, we just saw an opportunity to help out and view it as a small way to repay all that we have gained from the Cove.

Welcome, and post often.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
B AS9100D 7.1.5.2 Calibration or Verification Method using outside cal lab AS9100, IAQG, NADCAP and Aerospace related Standards and Requirements 1
M Using STERILE symbols on outside and inside packaging EU Medical Device Regulations 1
M Any alternative method instead of using GR&R Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 26
R Using RPN to Confirm Risk Reduced to an Acceptable Level Risk Management Principles and Generic Guidelines 12
P Comparing Two Test Variables Using Attribute Data Inspection, Prints (Drawings), Testing, Sampling and Related Topics 0
J Using real time shelf life study as accelerated ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 1
C Clinical Trial using Prototype devices (EU MDR & ISO 14155) EU Medical Device Regulations 4
J Using an online software to maintain your QMS Quality Assurance and Compliance Software Tools and Solutions 7
S Process Monitoring using SPC software Quality Assurance and Compliance Software Tools and Solutions 6
R Using Scrapped NC items for training Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 15
M What is the Risk of Using Obsolete Versions of C=0 & ANSI/ ASQ Z1.4 Sampling Plans? ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 8
F Using non-randomized clinical study for change in existing 510(k) device? US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 1
J Using MD on a flight EU Medical Device Regulations 9
K Using Google Drive/Docs ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 16
J What risk to cover when NOT using ISO 17025 accredited/certified labs for calibration ISO 17025 related Discussions 3
T Poisson regression using Minitab Statistical Analysis Tools, Techniques and SPC 3
T Using NICE for guidance during CER CE Marking (Conformité Européene) / CB Scheme 0
T Using Review articles from Pubmed for CER CE Marking (Conformité Européene) / CB Scheme 8
Tagin Using a meme generator to poke fun at quality Funny Stuff - Jokes and Humour 2
D Finding Optimum Design Parameters using Taguchi method? Using Minitab Software 2
V MSA - Using a R&R study for a Tape Measure Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 19
D Using electronic lab notebooks in the design control process ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 3
M Using a Non Certified vendor Supplier Quality Assurance and other Supplier Issues 8
H Using/Selling power banks with your product as a "mobile version" CE Marking (Conformité Européene) / CB Scheme 3
cgaro62 Using internal audits as part of document reviews Document Control Systems, Procedures, Forms and Templates 21
R Select the 1 Supplier based on the Parts Durability from 6 Supplier Samples using Minitab Using Minitab Software 11
M MSA angle issue - Nylon parts using Aberlink 3D Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 0
D Question on using audit checklist ISO 13485:2016 ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 20
J Using of CE marking - Two CE markings on the product CE Marking (Conformité Européene) / CB Scheme 5
R Using R package to implement Bayesian phase I/II dose-finding design for three outcomes ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 6
S Defibrillator Protection applicability When using Multiple applied parts IEC 60601 - Medical Electrical Equipment Safety Standards Series 0
P Using Zinc Plated Steel in a Cleanroom Other Medical Device Related Standards 3
J Incoming Inspection Records using Excel File ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 2
J Using ring gauges General Measurement Device and Calibration Topics 2
M Load Cell Calibration using a totalizer on a flow meter General Measurement Device and Calibration Topics 0
P Can Neoprene be Cleaned Using Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) Manufacturing and Related Processes 4
GreatNate Anyone using the Intellect QMS software? Quality Assurance and Compliance Software Tools and Solutions 1
chris1price Sterilization using beta radiation Other Medical Device Related Standards 2
M Using the phrase "herein referred to" Document Control Systems, Procedures, Forms and Templates 8
B Struggling with using the 5.6 version Ford Capacity Analysis Report APQP and PPAP 5
cnbrosa Study Type 1 on a CMM using a measuring support Gage R&R (GR&R) and MSA (Measurement Systems Analysis) 4
rerusk1 MRB (Material Review Board) Process using MS Sharepoint or MS Teams Manufacturing and Related Processes 2
K 510k FDA review, will they accept Biocompatibility result generated using feasibility product lots? 21 CFR Part 820 - US FDA Quality System Regulations (QSR) 8
U Medical Device CE Marking - Using a disposable bearing CE Marking (Conformité Européene) / CB Scheme 3
D Calibration tolerance question using Pipettes Medical Device and FDA Regulations and Standards News 3
D Risk Analysis using Monte Carlo Simulation instead of Scoring and Heat Map Risk Management Principles and Generic Guidelines 2
W Using tailoring guidelines to tailor a QMS procedure ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and ISO 9004 Quality Management Systems Standards 2
Y We found out we have been using a equipment without validation for past 4 years Quality Manager and Management Related Issues 6
D Using Laboratory Notebooks in R&D and Design and Development ISO 13485:2016 - Medical Device Quality Management Systems 3
C Importer shell game - Using a third party logistics provider (3PL) in the EU EU Medical Device Regulations 5

Similar threads

Top Bottom