FAQs - Calibration
Are all your procedures documented?
Instron has full documentation meeting or exceeding the requirements of our accreditation bodies and ISO/IEC 17025. Our field staff carry all relevant documentation in an electronic format on CDROM or on their laptop PCs for immediate accessibility.
Are the calibrations you are doing for me within the scope of accredited services?
Most calibration services provide some calibrations that are extra to the scope of accreditation. Make sure you're getting accredited calibrations, if that is what you need.
Are you insured?
Instron is fully insured for liability. For the USA, see our current certificate at http://www.marsh.com/moi?client=0367. For Europe, please contact your local Service office who can provide you with details of our liability insurance cover.
Are your calibration technicians properly trained and do they receive on-going training and competency testing?
Instron has a comprehensive training program that includes regular testing and auditing of the calibration personnel. All calibration staff have to be approved before undertaking calibration tasks. Thereafter, staff are independently monitored and audited on a regular basis to maintain our high operational standards. This is possible because of our size and regionally structured organisation - something that smaller calibration organisations are not able to resource. This approch to managing our worldwide calibration business is often positively commented upon by our accreditation bodies.
Can you develop a customized plan that will optimize my costs and give me a competitive advantage?
Whilst Instron has developed calibration products designed to meet the needs of a wide range of industries, quality organisations and regularatory bodies we are also flexible and have the expertise & equipment to work with you if you need something special. Our aim is to best meet your needs, so please contact us to see how we can help.
Can you manage the scheduling of all my calibrations and will you arrange in advance for all of my recalibrations?
Instron does this routinely.
Can you perform preventative maintenance on the equipment?
Instron service engineers are trained to perform Preventative Maintenance on Instron equipment. This increases the instrument's useful life and avoids potential downtime.
Can you provide a full range of calibration services?
Instron offers a wide range of calibration & verification services. This includes force, strain, torque, temperature, velocity, displacement, impact, creep, hardness & alignment. In providing field calibration services for over 40 years, Instron also has experience in calibrating other manufacturers testing machines. This can be a benefit to customers in minimizing the number of calibration vendors needed to look after a laboratory at the same time providing economies and easier overall management.
Can you provide documentation to show traceability to national standards?
All measuring instruments used for calibration carry documentation that shows traceability to national or international standards (eg. NIST in the USA, NPL in the UK, etc.).
Can you provide electronic calibration certification?
Yes, in fact this is now our standard form of delivery of calibration certificates. To ensure high integrity, Instron provides digitally signed and encrypted calibration certificates. This gives the customer confidence in the soundness of the documentation with the added benefits of storage, distribution and retrieval in their own quality systems. For more information on our digitally signed and encrypted calibration certificates view Certificates.
Can you repair and/or adjust an instrument on the spot if it doesn't pass verification? Do you have the necessary inventory of spare parts?
Instron service engineers are trained to repair and adjust Instron equipment. They also carry a significant inventory of spare parts with them.
Can you show calculations regarding your uncertainty reporting?
Instron's uncertainty calculations are available, and all uncertainties listed can be backed up with sound engineering and metrology principles.
Do I need to calibrate a machine after it has been moved?
It is strongly recommended that all measuring equipment, other than hand-held instrumentation, be recalibrated after a move. This also includes after installation. In many cases you will find that ASTM and ISO testing standards such as ASTM E4 and ISO 7500-1 have a mandatory requirement for such action. If you are in doubt about this or want assistance on moving and recalibration please contact your local Instron service office.
Do I need to regularly check my universal testing system?
If measurement is important to you then the answer is YES. All systems, regardless of manufacturer or quality, should be regularly calibrated and verified if the accuracy of your results is important to you and your customers.
Do you have the backup of both field and in-house technical support, and do you have a large engineering force expert in measurement and testing technology?
Each Instron service engineer is supported in his region by an experienced technical staff. Instron has a large engineering staff experienced in the design and calibration of materials testing related instruments, as well as expertise in metrology. Instron staff are proud to be active participants worldwide on ISO and ASTM committees that write the standards on calibration.
Do you have the equipment and expertise to adjust and verify equipment to accuracy levels demanded by national and international standards such as iso and astm?
Instron Service engineers are factory trained to be able to set up Instron equipment to meet and exceed these standards. Many of these engineers are also approved calibration staff equipped with calibration standards to verify equipment on-site to the exacting ASTM and ISO standards.
Do you take data manually or automatically?
Instron's CAL-PRO® software has been designed to take takes data either manually or automatically from the measurement standard and/or the machine being calibrated.
How do I know if my universal testing machine is measuring correctly?
The only way to truly be sure your tester is measuring correctly is to have it checked against a known and traceable reference. A calibration provides such a service.
How do I prove my testing system is giving good results?
The best way to prove your results is to first check them against traceable and known references and then compare the results with the requirements of recognized and established procedures or standards. This process is known as Calibration & Verification. Using international standards, such as ISO and ASTM, and reference devices that can be traced back to a National Measurement Institute (NMI) gives you and your customers confidence in the accuracy of the results.
How frequently should I have my testing system checked?
In many cases your QA policies, contract requirements or department procedures will stipulate rules on the frequency of calibration. In other cases, the equipment's operating manual may recommend how often the device should be recalibrated. In practical terms, it is all about risk. The longer the period you leave equipment between calibrations the greater the risk of something going wrong or not being spotted. Because of this, you will find that many standards, such as ISO and ASTM, either recommend or state mandatory frequencies of calibration for compliance. If you are testing to an ASTM or ISO testing standard (eg ASTM E8), it is worth checking to see if it stipulates maintenance and calibration requirements.
How long have you been providing accredited calibration services?
Instron has been accredited to NVLAP (Lab Code 200301-0) since 1997. In Europe, Instron has been accredited by UKAS since 1969.
I have a materials testing machine - What needs calibrating?
Work is usually performed on-site and includes verification of LOAD(FORCE), STRAIN, POSITION, and VELOCITY. For load weighing systems, precision strain gauged load cell standards are used together with high resolution instrumentation and/or precision weights (ANSI/ASTM E617 class 4). For strain calibration, specialised digital extensometry calibration rigs are utilised.
My tester has undergone repairs and updates. Does it need to be recalibrated?
If your equipment has undergone a major repair that affects the measuring system we strongly advise to arrange for a recalibration. However, if the repair, update or modification does not affect the measuring system you probably do not need to recalibrate your tester. If in doubt, do not hesitate to discuss the subject with one of our experts. Please note that some standards do provide guidance and requirements concerning maintenance and repair, so review the standards you are working to for clarification.
If software is used, is it validated and proven?
Instron's CalPro software is extensively validated and then subsequently audited. In fact, the major cost and time spent in developing our purpose designed software is the validatation process.
Is Instron accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 by an agency that is a member of the ILAC agreement?
Instron is accredited by NVLAP (Lab Code 200301-0) in North America, and UKAS in Europe. Accrediting agencies in ILAC agree to accept each other's accreditations internationally.
Is the uncertainty of measurement listed in your scope of accreditation realistic, or does it represent an ideal case that will not be duplicated in my lab?
The uncertainties of measurement listed in Instron's Scope of Accreditation represent those that can be achieved in the field with the equipment being used by our Service Engineers.
Should I Check Accuracy In-Between Full Verifications?
Prudent users should check the accuracy of their test system on a monthly, weekly, even daily basis. ASTM E4 even requires it.
What if Adjustments or Repairs Are Required?
When an instrument is out of compliance, Instron's field specialists have the ability to make adjustments and/or make necessary repairs, but this depends on the nature of the non-compliance. Please note, no adjustments will be made without the authorisation of the customer as this could compromise their QA policies. Such adjustments can usually be done during the same visit. It is also possible for Transducers (load cells, extensometers, etc.) to be returned to the factory for repair and re-calibration on a fast turnaround basis.
What is the backup plan if your local engineer is unavailable to perform a critical calibration?
Instron has over one hundred fully qualified engineers across the U.S. that are available on short notice to fill in for each other if necessary. Across Europe, Instron has over 50 accredited calibration staff located in 14 countries, able to communicate and support customers in their own language.
What is your scope of accreditation?
The scope of accreditation defines exactly what the calibration service has been accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 to do. Frequently, a calibration service will have accreditation for some of its calibrations, but not all. A calibration lab's scope of accreditation can be found on the accrediting agency's website. View Instron's accreditation certificates and schedules of calibration.
When is Verification Required?
In many cases your QA policies, contract requirements or department procedures will stipulate rules on the frequency of calibration. In other cases, the equipment's operating manual may recommend how often the device should be recalibrated. In practical terms, it is all about risk. The longer the period you leave equipment between calibrations the greater the risk of something going wrong or not being spotted. Because of this, you will find that many standards, such as ISO and ASTM, either recommend or state mandatory frequencies of calibration for compliance. If you are testing to an ASTM or ISO testing standard (eg ASTM E8), it is worth checking to see if it stipulates maintenance and calibration requirements. For example, ASTM E8 requires compliance to the calibration standard ASTM E4 which recommends that test systems and all transducers be verified at least once a year. In addition, ASTM E4 (paragraph 20.3) requires re-verification whenever a test system is relocated.
Why does my tensile tester need to be calibrated/verified?
If you have a requirement to test your products or materials, you need to be sure that the results you get are correct. Even the very best quality equipment can be affected by external influences that could affect the soundness of the system. Regular calibration and verification provide essential evidence that your equipment is operating to your expectations.