Why the calibration of (force) measuring instruments is important

Everyone involved in measurement technology knows the somewhat flippant ? but very catchy ? Tense : ?In the event that you measure a lot, you measure nothing!? What is meant by that is: It is possible to measure a lot. However the values are only useful if you can validate them. In everyday life, for example, one may be surprised when the scales at home show a big deviation from those at the physician?s or the bicycle speedometer deviates many a huge selection of metres from the GPS instrument. The word also often alludes to our tendency to generate a lot more data in our modern world, without thinking about its evaluation. In order to obtain valid data with which to keep working, it is worthwhile for industrial measuring instruments to be calibrated regularly.
For the individual, the highest accuracy may not be important. In industrial applications, however, it is precisely this that can make the crucial difference between rejects and the best quality ? hence the calibration of the measuring instruments. It serves to match the measuring device with the national standard ? in short: to check whether the values are correct.
Traceability to the national standard
The keyword here is thus the traceability to the national standard. Realizing that the respective measuring instrument measures the right value could be of great importance for many applications. For instance, ISO 9000 requires that the deviations of the test equipment used should be monitored. Having an up-to-date calibration, passing the audit is no problem. This avoids the repetition of the audit, production downtime or perhaps a recall ? and thus reduces stress, time and costs. The expenditure on the calibration has thus quickly covered itself. Everyone is happy.
Besides meeting the audit requirements, traceability may also be necessary for quality assurance, optimising resource utilisation and reducing energy consumption. Finally, the most convincing reason to have one?s own measuring devices checked relative to the current standard is the feeling of security: The measuring instruments will continue to provide the correct values!
Certification relative to the German accreditation body
The illustration shows the way the four calibration sequences relative to DKD-R 3-3 differ.
The highest standard because of this may be the calibration certificate of the German accreditation body (Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle ? DAkkS). WIKA has offered certification for pressure, temperature and electrical measurands (DC current, DC voltage and DC resistance) for some time. Since the beginning of 2022, tecsis has been accredited relative to DIN EN ISO / IEC 17025 for the measurand force.
What a DAkkS-certified calibration of force measuring instruments means is shown by the example of high-end force transducers, which are employed in calibration machines. In their case, the test sequence follows the EN ISO 376 standard. At least eight measuring stages are approached, with a total of five preloads, two upward series and two up-down series. In addition, the force transducers are each rotated by 120�, which results in three installation positions. With 65 measured values (eight stages), the effort is correspondingly high. The price for such a calibration goes together with this.
In the case of industrial devices, the question arises concerning whether such a procedure is worthwhile. Alternatively, the DKD-R 3-3 directive could be applied. It describes four test sequences which might be selected in line with the requirements. WIKA and tecsis likewise have DAkkS certification for this.
An additional option for regular calibration is the non-standardised 3.1 inspection certificate.
Practical examples
An illustrative exemplory case of the usefulness of regular calibration is the checking of hydraulic compression force transducers. These instruments measure the clamping forces of industrial machines such as for example punches, pneumatic presses, sealing presses, spindle presses, tablet presses and toggle lever presses. Here, calibration offers a contribution to ensuring safe working conditions.
Another example may be the instrumentation for checking the contact forces of welding tongs. Ideally, these are monitored continuously by built-in tension/compression force transducers, however they may also be checked at set intervals utilizing a test set for measuring electrode forces (model FSK01). This ensures the quality of the welding points and reduces wear on the electrodes.
For the tension/compression force transducers mentioned, calibration can be worthwhile, should they be used for monitoring very precise production steps. When pressing in cellular phone displays, for example, both measuring instruments and their calibration can easily pay off: If one in such a process is not noticed immediately (for instance, only if the travel is controlled), thousands of euros in material value can be destroyed within minutes.
Adjustment before calibration can be useful
Depending on the instrument, application and regulation, it can be worthwhile to have an adjustment completed before calibration. In this way, the user means that their measuring instrument achieves the corresponding accuracy during calibration. For the calibration itself, an individual gets the option of choosing the type and procedure, both for the own and for third-party products.
Note
On the WIKA website you will find further information on the average person calibration services in addition to on WIKA force measuring instruments (offers may also be available in the online shop). Assuming you have any questions, your contact will gladly assist you to.
Also read our post
Calibration or adjustment ? Where?s the difference?

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