Efficient Plant March 2020 - 14

feature | instrumentation

Fully equipped
instrument labs are
the ideal environment for calibrating
instruments when
transporting them
is possible.

es, must be carefully and periodically maintained with
traceability back to national/international standards.
Each instrument manufacturer may call for certain
minimum requirements, and end-user production
plants can demand even more restrictive means and
methods. It is important to use service providers that
are accredited and adhere to ISO/IEC17025 standards. Associated documentation must be meticulously created and maintained, along with a quality
management system.
The nature of regulations is becoming more, rather
than less, stringent, so end users must keep abreast
of all requirements. This includes keeping calibration
technician training up to date and finding a way to
train replacements as the workforce changes and
expertise gaps are created due to retirements.

WHEN AND WHERE
Time schedules for calibrations can vary widely,
based on instrument types, applications, and end-

14

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user requirements. Some pharmaceutical companies
will proactively calibrate instruments before every
product run because losing a batch due to improper
instrument operation could be a far greater expense
Some companies won't calibrate instrumentation
until devices appear to drift or when they fail. Others
use a calendar-based schedule to determine calibration intervals.
Many modern instrumentation and automation
systems can generate an alert if an instrument is
drifting out of calibration. This could be an alternative to running to failure or performing frequent
calibrations. However, it is a challenge to replace a
calibration without confidence in the measurement as
proven by statistical data.
Continuous-processing industries, such as petrochemical and food and beverage, typically have few
opportunities for downtime that allows calibration
functions to be performed. This may add complication in the form of multiple redundant instruments

MARCH 2020

2/18/20 3:29 PM


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Efficient Plant March 2020

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