Which items require Calibration?

G

Gerald631

#1
If you visited the Company I work for you would see a lot of air/nitrogen/oxygen pressure regulators and bourdon gauges on the wall as well as shelves of air and water rotameters. These are used for setting up pressure switches and flow rates on machines which we sell to customers in the semiconductor process gas treatment field. An external auditor has said that I must get all these gauges and rotameters calibrated. However, some regulators and gauges are only used to apply pneumatic power to a block to operate valves - no measurement or reading is recorded in this instance. You might set the pressure to approx. 4 bar on the wall for instance and that would be good enough. I know you could argue that I don't know if it really is 4 bar if I haven't had the gauge calibrated for 10 years but that's part of an on going argument which I'm embroiled in. I agree that some gauges and rotameters do need calibrating because I record or observe a reading from them. Those which don't you could argue don't need calibration. Another instance is where I need to provide a purge to something through a flowmeter - basically to pass a gas flow through something to get rid of any remnants of a previous gas or to keep things moving in a pipeline to stop condensation of particulates blocking the line. You could argue that no calibration is required here, just a nitogen supply of about the right value. In fact there are FOR INDICATION ONLY stickers you can buy to apply to intruments used in cases like this. I wonder if anyone else has experience of this problem as people often ask me why I am calibrating something.

Thanks

Gerald Curling (Gerald631) Bristol UK:(
 
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harry

Super Moderator
#2
Re: Which items need calibrating?

An external auditor has said that I must get all these gauges and rotameters calibrated.
Welcome to the Cove.

For a start, could you tell us if your organization is certified to any particular standards? Where does this external auditor come from? - Client or third party certification body?
 

Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#3
Welcome to the Cove Gerald :bigwave:

Here is my take on the situation - I'll assume that we might be talking about ISO 9001. Clause 7.6 states "... determine the monitoring and measurement to be undertaken and measuring equipment needed to provide evidence of conformity of product to determined requirements".

Therefore, if the equipment is being used to verify that the product meets stated requirements, it probably needs calibrating - unless it will be checked again at a later stage by calibrated equipment.

If the equipment is only being used as a guide, then it should be marked as such e.g. 'not calibrated' stickers are often used.
 
G

Gerald631

#4
Re: Which items need calibrating?

harry

Thanks for your reply and welcoming me to the Cove. I think that it is client auditor (Intel) insisting on all this calibration.

Yours

Gerald Curling, Bristol UK
 
G

George Weiss

#5
Intel does ask for good work, and I have done some ISO-17025 work for them.
They are asking for you to improve your process with calibrated equipment as often as possible.
There is the blanket comment of, "if it is in the process, then calibrate it".
This becomes a bit extreme, and each situation is different.
Because Intel is a large steady moving company, it would be good to have a strategic talk with them.
Getting an idea of their plans for your company.
Maybe your company would become ISO-17025 in the future to comply with their needs.
You have been asked to calibrate your equipment. Intel is getting you to look at your-self.
Inventory of your gages and other equipment is a good step.
Determining the impact of these gages in the process is another.
This analysis will begin to develop a process flow and requirements outline.
Marking some as for "indication only" is a good idea, once you know that that gage is doing.
Don't forget safety regulations also.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
G

Gerald631

#6
Colpart

Thanks for your reply. I have placed FOR INDICATION ONLY stickers on items which I don't think need calibrating, although some people would argue about whether an item needs calibration or not. For instance, I perform air leak checks on certain items of equipment by pressurising to 16 in. W.G. as read on a bourdon gauge and then checking that the pressure doesn't drop by more 0.5 in. in 10 mins. on the gauge. Some people argue that it doesn't matter how accurate the gauge is - as long as the needle moves up and down with pressure then that's all you require from it in this application. Others argue that you would need some confidence that the gauge can read the right values to a certain accuracy, implying that calibration is necessary. Anyway, I'll make these decisions on an item by item basis and see what the auditor's opinion is on the subject.

Thanks

Gerald Curling, Bristol UK
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#7
Hello, Gerald!!:bigwave:If I may...I do encourage you to frame your decisions based on what is best for your process. Let the auditor's thoughts/ opinions be second. ;):)

Thanks for your reply. I have placed FOR INDICATION ONLY stickers on items which I don't think need calibrating, although some people would argue about whether an item needs calibration or not.
True that. :agree1: We have had many discussions here about the use of For Reference Only stickers. I happen to be in the camp to use them. However, regardless of whether you use them or not, all calibrated items should be clearly marked. Stated differently: If I need a calibrated instrument, I should know how to find it and assure its calibration is current. However you choose to accomplish that is up to you.:)

For instance, I perform air leak checks on certain items of equipment by pressurising to 16 in. W.G. as read on a bourdon gauge and then checking that the pressure doesn't drop by more 0.5 in. in 10 mins. on the gauge. Some people argue that it doesn't matter how accurate the gauge is - as long as the needle moves up and down with pressure then that's all you require from it in this application. Others argue that you would need some confidence that the gauge can read the right values to a certain accuracy, implying that calibration is necessary.
Now I'm confused. :) Do the readings of the gauge matter? In your example, (You have W.G.; is that W.C.?) what if the gauge is off by... 2 inches? 4 inches?? When does the error matter? If it never matters, then no harm no foul. Otherwise... it matters. :D

Now.... there are many different avenues other than "calibration". It's not too difficult doing verifications on analog gauges. You can buy a standard, build a manifold out of P.V.C., get a tank of Nitrogen (or other inert gas), and verify your pressure gauges, up to however many at a time that you choose. Obviously there's a little bit more than that, but you get the idea.

Make decisions based on optimizing your process, document it, have the procedures reflect as such, and consistently practice it. Your auditor should be OK with that. :agree1:
 
G

Gerald631

#8
Brad M

Oh yeah, sorry, I meant water column (W.C.). Thanks for your reply. I'll use the "when does it matter" argument to justify calibration or not in the future.

Gerald Curling, Bristol UK
 

BradM

Staff member
Admin
#9
Brad M

Oh yeah, sorry, I meant water column (W.C.). Thanks for your reply. I'll use the "when does it matter" argument to justify calibration or not in the future.

Gerald Curling, Bristol UK
Gerald, thank you for checking in your posts, and for the response. :agree1: Good luck, and a Happy New Year to you.:)

Please come back anytime you have any questions.:)
 

harry

Super Moderator
#10
Re: Which items need calibrating?

..................... Thanks for your reply and welcoming me to the Cove. I think that it is client auditor (Intel) insisting on all this calibration. ...................
Thanks for the reply. The reason I asked is because if there is certification to a particular standard, then there are 'generally accepted' interpretations to fall back to. However, if it is audit by your clients, then is generally between you and them and you will have to convince or negotiate with them.

Your approach (mentioned in the thread on primary/secondary standards) is logical and may be used for further discussion with them.
 
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