Calibration Process Innovation Using Non-Required Guard Banded Testing

White Papers

Calibration services vary as to how to set the acceptance limits compared to the required tolerance (i.e., specification). Using a guard band to reduce the acceptance limit will increase the confidence in the calibration. The larger the guard band, the lower the probability of a false acceptance. Unfortunately, this also raises the cost of ownership for the unit.

But there are other advantages to be gained by setting more restrictive test limits, internal to the calibration organization, than the prescribed acceptance limit from the end user (customer). This paper recaps the method and results of a project that used such a strategy. It explores some of the benefits gained through a calibration process for a targeted tolerance that has very little measurement margin. By collecting and analyzing measurement data from instances where a unit met the acceptance limit but failed the more restrictive internal limit, much insight into the health of the process was obtained. The new process identified both systemic issues and margin failures that were affecting the overall quality of the calibration process. Addressing these issues provided process improvements that would reduce future apparent out-of-tolerance situations. It also allowed suspected instrument failures to be correctly identified as a faulty calibration process.

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