Calibration certificates are technical documents that convey copious amounts of information and detail. This guide is intended to help readers contextualize some of the features and functions of our new calibration certificate.
The primary goal for developing a new calibration certificate was to establish a foundation for our growing certified calibration program. The new document harmonizes several disparate calibration certificates and processes currently used in our production facility. The new certificate greatly improves our efficiency and reduces opportunities for human error. This new document will serve as the foundation for all certified calibration activities at NOSHOK. Calibration certificates are an essential part of some business activities and we wanted ours to stand out as one of the best.
NOSHOK’s new calibration certificate manifests an engineered approach to everything about the certificate document. Rather than simply codifying all necessary information in one place, on a single page, the new calibration certificate carefully arranges all of the necessary information in a more useful format. The new certificate is structured as a multi-page document that is optimized for clarity over brevity.
As a start to evaluate NOSHOK’s new calibration certificate, it is helpful to know that we consider a certified calibration to be a “data collection event”. Furthermore, a single unit under test can have many separate data collection events over its lifespan. In this context, the value of a multi-page document becomes more relevant. Take for example a pressure gauge with a maximum indicating pointer. A complete certified calibration of this device would best include two calibration data sets with the maximum indicating pointer engaged and disengaged. Both of these operating conditions abide by different accuracy statements and therefore should be tested. If the data sets include increasing and decreasing test points (repeatability and hysteresis), multiple pages quickly become valuable. A similar scenario can be highlighted for units under test being recalibrated with as found and as left data sets.
Certified calibration events must be traceable. As such, unique identifiers become a very important aspect of calibration activities. Within the framework of a NOSHOK certified calibration, there are two related identifiers that users encounter. The first is the unique identifier of the unit under test. If the device is built new after the release date of the new calibration certificate format, the unique identifier will be automatically generated for the device and is a derivative of NOSHOK’s sales order number. Devices with pre-existing unique identifiers will continue to use their pre-existing identifiers.
The second unique identifier that users will encounter is the certificate number. This is the unique number that corresponds with a given certified calibration document (and by proxy, a particular collection of data collection events for a unit under test). The format for the certificate number is as follows:
Unit Under Test Unique Identifier-YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS
By using the unit under test unique identifier and a related date string, easy management of calibration certificates over time can be achieved. With this format, searching for certificate documents by device ID and date/time for both end users and NOSHOK becomes easy. The number format is sufficiently unique to identify calibration events as rapidly as they can be produced.
Lastly, NOSHOK uniquely identifies a customer order for a certified calibration with a certificate number. We do not uniquely identify each individual data collection event within a customer order (for the same unit under test). Using the above example of a pressure gauge with a maximum indicating pointer, both data collection events will reside on the same calibration certificate and that document will be assigned a single certificate number.
All pages of the new calibration certificate include a header and footer. Here the user will find overall document information. Page one header includes NOSHOK’s business information and the document title. All subsequent headers include certificate number and the certification date. With this information, users can be assured that all pages of the document belong together as a collection under one certificate number. The footers of all pages include the calibration certificate document number (NOSHOK’s internal document number), page numbers and total number of pages to provide the user with confidence the certificate is complete.
Page one of the calibration certificate is broken up into three sections. The top third specifies document information - certificate number and date as well as specific information regarding the unit under test. NOSHOK’s quality statements appear in the middle third of the page. NOSHOK certified calibrations are traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The bottom third of page one includes the authorizing signature and date.
Page two is divided into two sections. The top section of the document is reserved for the data associated with the standards used in the calibration data collection events. Here, users will find information regarding the standards (pressure instruments, environmental monitors, etc.) used during any of the data collection events. Most significantly, this is where the calibration due dates of the standards used can be found. The second section of page two is reserved for annotations including any notes significant to the calibration activities. For routine calibrations, this section will often times remain blank. Special instructions to customers or performance characteristics observed during data collection or similar may also be included in this section.
Pages three and beyond are reserved for all the data associated with a data collection event. There will be one data collection event per page unless a very large data set requires multiple pages. On these pages, users will find the following four sections of information:
It is typical that customers will request their information to be listed within the calibration certificate. NOSHOK takes the position that a certified calibration belongs to the unit under test and not the instigating enterprise. Furthermore, NOSHOK’s typical business includes several entities in the purchase of a device and ultimate delivery to an end user. In this case, the purchasing agent may be several organizations removed from the end user. Additionally, some certified calibrations performed by NOSHOK are initiated without an order. In these cases, certificates have no owner and reference the unit under test. In many instances, customer information may not be present on calibration certificates. When customer information is reported, it will appear in the annotations section of the document on page two.
Considering the circumstances referenced above, the calibration date of a certified device, and by association, the next calibration date (calibration due date) can become unclear. Unless otherwise specified, it is the responsibility of the end user to define the next calibration date in accordance with its intended application and any other requirements applied. Also associated with the device is the date of calibration (applied by the calibration service provider). Certified devices that remain in storage or unused for an extended period of time can be problematic for circumstances that require strict (and potentially short) calibration cycles. Consider a device calibrated on January first, installed on August first, with a required one-year calibration cycle from date of calibration. In this case, the user would only realize five months of use from the device before a second calibration was required. To mitigate this problem, NOSHOK has included on our new calibration certificate a place for end users to indicate the date of installation of the certified device. With this additional flexibility, quality managers can alleviate the problem of shortened calibration cycles by using installation dates as the start of the calibration cycle.
All calibration certificates will be kept on file at NOSHOK and can be reprinted or supplied electronically upon request to customer support.
Annotated Calibration Certificate:
The sections that follow provide an overview of the new calibration certificate and format with annotations to highlight relevant information.