Check Please – Why Regular Calibration of Test Equipment Is Vital

March 31, 2012

You rely on your test equipment and it is a major cost for most electricians. If it breaks down in the middle of a job, or is proven to be inaccurate, it can be an inconvenient and costly headache. The choice of test equipment available can be overwhelming and the level of quality varies considerably – not even buying branded equipment can guarantee quality. Regardless of what meter you have, you want years of trouble-free service – and to avoid the cost and inconvenience of breakdowns. Manufacturers are both charging more and taking longer to repair faulty equipment and many are becoming less inclined to make repairs at all. Having your instruments calibrated annually helps reduce breakdowns and proves that your equipment is within its specification. If it’s outside of its specification, all of the jobs you’ve completed since the last calibration become suspect. Any problems your customers have could be blamed on you – regardless of whether or not they were your fault. Calibrating equipment yourself is usually a false economy - only dedicated calibration laboratories will have the high- accuracy reference equipment, procedures, understanding, knowledge and experience to carry out calibrations effectively. That said, there are some tests you can carry out yourself. “Check Boxes” are widely available, easy-to-use and can be used to carry out simple checks on a range of equipment. There are also calibration tools available for specific equipment - such as AMECaL’s Calibration PAT Plugs, which test the essential parameters of any PAT Tester. The best way to avoid problems is to have your equipment calibrated by a calibration laboratory accredited to BS EN ISO 17025 - such as through United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). These laboratories have demonstrated their competence, impartiality and performance capability through regular audits. Using a non-UKAS laboratory increases your risk of later costs and the inconvenience of equipment failing because of incorrect servicing. It’s also more likely that accidents occur as a result of you and your clients relying on incorrect test results, which in turn increases the likelihood of legal action being taken against you (and succeeding). If you do use a UKAS Laboratory, you can at least prove due diligence in the event of legal action. There may be an impact on your turnover too, if clients require you to support your testing results with a UKAS Accredited Certificate.

 

Remember that UKAS laboratories are specialists and are therefore also an invaluable source of impartial advice, knowledge and expertise that you can call upon – which could lead to savings and improvements in any number of ways from buying better equipment in the first case to improving your own maintenance practices. For further details, contact David Heppell at AMECaL on 0191 262 2266; Fax on 0191 262 6622 or email david@amecal.com More about AMECaL: Proud of being one of the few privately owned independent laboratories in the North East, AMECaL’s multi-laboratory operation is viewed as a premier facility. The company provides one of the UK’s most competitive portfolios of calibration and repair services, supporting a wide range of industries both locally and nationally in all fields of calibration and on a vast array of measuring equipment. State of the art calibration services are carried out either in one of the company’s environmentally controlled laboratories, or on clients’ sites. AMECaL’s exciting range of quality, professional, testing and measurement equipment has recently been launched in the UK - details of the electrical and environmental equipment in the range are available at products.amecal.com. From there catalogues and pricelists can be downloaded or requested. There is also an online shop - shop.amecal.com.

 

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