Calibration Guide: How to Take Care of Your UKAS Calibrated Thermometers and Probes Correctly.

As a company using United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) calibrated thermometers and probes, careful steps should be taken to ensure that your thermometers and probes are taken care of expertly. Companies at the cutting edge of their chosen industry need to have complete confidence that their instruments are performing optimally, so it is of vital importance that all care is taken when it comes to calibration.

As an area involving a high level of technical expertise, calibration is best left to professionals at an accredited laboratory; however, companies themselves can take plenty of steps to help prolong the effectiveness of thermometers and probes and prevent any problems from developing. Below are some of the steps that you can take to ensure that your thermometers and probes are looked after properly between calibrations.

The importance of maintaining thermometers and probes
There are many reasons why you will need to take care to maintain delicate instruments like thermometers and probes. Problems that develop with such instruments not only hinder their ability to work correctly in the present but increase the likelihood of further critical damage in the future. This is why calibration is necessary more than once each year to stop minor problems from evolving into serious ones.

If your probes and thermometers are malfunctioning, then you could start receiving false readings from them. Clearly, a false reading could be extremely harmful to your operation as a whole and could lead to critical problems elsewhere. Inaccurate measurements can cause product failure, leading to production down time and spiralling costs. Frequent spot checks can help detect any malfunctioning equipment early on before any further harm is caused.

Perform frequent calibration
Although standard practice is for units to be calibrated around once per year, many companies are now enforcing even more frequent calibration to keep everything ticking over. Thermometers and probes that are heavily used are especially important to calibrate regularly as heavy usage can lead to false readings more quickly. The best method to get a gauge of your instruments is to measure their readings frequently and observe how quickly they fall outside of your acceptable error margins. This will give you a much firmer idea of how frequent calibration needs to be.

Ensure correct organisation
If you’re a company using a large number of thermometers and probes, then it could become difficult to correctly maintain and measure each individual unit. Thankfully most units come with a unique serial number which helps significantly with gathering accurate data. If your unique serial number isn’t located anywhere on the unit itself, then it will be part of your calibration certificate and can easily be marked on the unit using IndeliMark®.

Reference thermometer care
When taking measurements of your active thermometers you will need a reference thermometer that is also in optimum working order. Although many will calibrate their reference thermometer on an annual basis, it is becoming increasingly common to carry out this calibration more frequently given the importance of a working reference thermometer. 

Keep your calibrated units together
As thermometers and probes are calibrated as a single unit, they will need to be kept this way in order to ensure their calibration integrity. Once you have received your calibrated units it is crucial that you do not switch and swap any units, or your certificate of calibration will become null and void. It can also help to IndeliMark® your units down with their unique serial numbers to help with identification in the future.

Closely follow procedures
Calibration is a broad area involving everything from electrical calibration to magnetics, so procedures can differ from company to company. When you are working with a calibration company you will need to take on board any instructions they provide when it comes to usage and maintenance of your instruments. These procedures are there to ensure optimum performance of your instruments and should be followed closely.

Create safe storage
Even when thermometers and probes are not in use they can still slowly decrease in accuracy or develop other problems. If you aren’t using your units for an extended period of time, then it is important to store them correctly. Keep the stored units away from any weather extremities to prevent interference with the instruments, while you may also want a hard case to protect them from damage. A perfect solution for this is having instrument stations where they can be safely stored.

Posted on 14/03/2018