There are two types of calibration for gages: 1) gage manufacturer certification and 2) third-party traceable calibration. The difference between the two is important because each provides different levels of assurance that the gages you purchase meet specifications.
In most cases, your gage manufacturer can provide an optional service to certify that their products meet or exceed specifications set by national standards organizations (NIST, ANSI/ASME Y14.5M). This certification is called “gauge manufacturer certification” because it’s provided by the company who manufactured the product—it means nothing more than they took their own measurements before sending them out into the wild where anyone can use them and then return them to be checked again if needed.
Two Types of Certifications for Gages from Gage Manufacturer.
The first is a gage manufacturer certification, which identifies the quality standard to which a particular gauge has been manufactured. For example, if you buy a gauge from an ISO 9001:2015 certified company, you can be assured that it meets their standards and therefore has been made with high quality materials and processes.
The second type of certification is traceable calibration—this means that your gage has been calibrated by an accredited third-party lab using traceable standards such as NIST or ASTM. Accreditation means that this lab has met certain criteria to gain recognition as an official laboratory by government entities or private organizations that act as governing bodies over certain industries (ASME).
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Gage Manufacturer Certification is an Optional Service.
Gage manufacturer certification is an optional service provided by a gage manufacturer to certify that their gages meet or exceed specifications. It is often referred to as a 17025 certification.
By selecting this option, the manufacturer becomes responsible for ensuring that all its products meet acceptable tolerances and specifications. The company must perform tests and analysis on each gauge to ensure it meets these requirements before providing it for sale.
The Gage Manufacturer has an Established a Calibration System.
In most cases, the gage manufacturer has established a calibration system and can provide traceability to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards. Traceability means that the manufacturer can prove that their in-house process for calibrating and checking the dimensions of their gages are based on national standards, such as those set by NIST.
This is not just important for compliance with industry regulations; it also ensures that your measurements will be more accurate than if you used non-traceable gages. For example, when developing a prototype, it’s likely that some parts will need to be custom manufactured. If you use an uncalibrated tool to measure these parts before they are made, then there’s no way to ensure that they were manufactured correctly or in accordance with your design specifications.
Gage Manufacturer Traceability
Traceability means that the manufacturer can prove that their in-house process for calibrating and checking the dimensions of their gages are based on national standards, such as those set by NIST.
This is important because it reduces risk to your business. You know that if you order a 10-inch gauge from one supplier but receive a 10-inch gauge from another supplier (which may look identical), you can still trust that your product meets specifications.
A Second Type of Gage Manufacturer Certification is Traceable Calibration.
Another type of certification is traceable calibration. This kind of certification is typically provided by third-party calibration labs that can perform complete calibrations on your gage and provide you with a certificate showing that they have performed a complete calibration on your gage, and they can also provide traceability back to NIST standards.
In some cases, a third party may be required by their customers or the regulatory bodies where they operate, such as the FDA or USDA (US Department of Agriculture).
Third-party Calibration Labs
A third-party calibration lab can provide you with a certificate showing that they have performed a complete calibration on your gage, and they can also provide traceability back to NIST standards. This is important because it allows you to verify that the data on your gage is accurate, which gives you confidence in using this equipment for critical applications.
Accreditation means that an independent organization has reviewed and approved the calibration lab’s procedures, processes, and standard operating procedures (SOPs). The accreditation agency lists those who have been given accreditation status within their field of expertise such as ISO17025 or ANSI/NCSL Z540 – 2002 Type II Calibration Laboratory Accreditation Program. A list of recognized agencies can be found at www.aclsquareroot.org
How to Look for a Third-party Lab that’s Accredited.
Look for a third-party lab that’s accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) or other organizations like ANAB. A2LA, which was founded in 1966, is an accrediting body for various types of laboratories and the largest such organization in the world. The Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) also accredits labs with specific focuses on food safety and other areas that have been designated by either AOAC or other organizations.
In the end, it’s important to understand that your gages are not just a piece of equipment. They’re an essential part of your business and need to be calibrated regularly so they can provide accurate measurements. While there is no one right way to go about this process, we recommend working with a third-party lab that will make sure everything is done correctly and according to industry best practices.
Are you still looking for specific Calibration vendors? Not sure which vendor is the best for you? We at Pride Gage can provide you Calibration vendors that can fulfill your needs. Give us a call and we will be glad to assist!
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