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Manufacturer Calibration

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Is imc an accredited/certified test laboratory?

imc does not operate an accredited calibration laboratory, but we rigorously implement the requirements of ISO 17025 in our own QM system. imc is certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001 since May 1995. 

May only accredited laboratories be commissioned, as required in TS16949/QS 9000?

The requirements stated in QS 9000, ISO/TS16949 and other management systems for accreditation pertain to testing and calibration laboratories commissioned by suppliers in the automobile industry. Accreditation of calibration procedures according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 (general requirements for competence of testing and calibration laboratories), for example, is meant to demonstrate competence, for which accreditation by an independent third party is a (very transparent) method. Alternatively, QS 9000 offers these very suppliers the ability to rely on the manufacturers of test equipment for its calibration. However, these manufacturers need not necessarily be accredited, but can demonstrate their competence in other ways, e.g. by self-declaration, quality assurance agreements or audits. Naturally, the regulation (QS 9000) states this explicitly (QS 9000 3rd edition, 4.10.6 Requirements of Supplier Laboratories).
Note that the applicable standard DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 does not require accreditation as a test or calibration laboratory.
 

Why is imc actually equally well qualified as an accredited test laboratory?

This is expressed in, for instance, DAR-4-EM-03, “Guideline for Traceability in Testing”, in section 3 “Tools for Traceability in Testing – Demonstration of Competence – Measurement Traceability to SI-Units” (excerpt):
...
The respective requirements set out in EN ISO/IEC 17025 can be considered as fulfilled, if
...
(3.1.3) calibration or test certificate of the manufacturer of measuring or test equipment is available that demonstrates calibration and traceability to SI Units by means of documented traceable reference standards in line with para. 3.1.5 and using generally recognized methods or demonstrates calibration and traceability to SI Units by a competent calibration laboratory;
...
(3.1.5) the calibration in the testing laboratory is carried out by generally recognized and specified procedures and appropriate reference standards available that have been calibrated by a competent calibration laboratory outside or inside the testing laboratory;

Items 3.1.3 and 3.1.5 are ensured by imc’s test equipment management.

 

Can I only have imc measurement devices calibrated by imc? Can I calibrate an imc measurement device myself? Who may calibrate imc measurement devices?

Naturally, you may commission any accredited calibration laboratory with the calibration. Some equipment users are able to calibrate measurement channels themselves by virtue of their own calibration laboratory, or in some cases, calibration of the entire measuring sequence is carried out prior to each measurement. In such cases we recommend maintenance checkup of the measurement systems every 24 to 60 months, depending on the model and the application. We would be happy to help you with creating inspection plans.
Adjustment and total function testing for imc measurement devices are currently only possible at imc.

 

Does imc work with any accredited calibration laboratory? Which accredited calibration laboratory would imc recommend?

The reference equipment used by imc is regularly calibrated and, if appropriate, adjusted by accredited calibration laboratories within the framework of our equipment monitoring efforts. Many of our customers have commissioned accredited calibration laboratories with the monitoring of their test equipment. These in turn commission us, as competent manufacturers, with all service work going beyond calibration, such as adjustment, complete function testing, system maintenance, repairs, rental devices etc. Thus we have already been working in a close and cooperative relationship with all of the companies’ calibration providers for many years. Since the competence of all of the accredited calibration laboratories is regularly verified by independent assessors, we are not able to recommend any particular one.

 

Where can I buy the equipment for calibration or adjustment?

We are happy to offer the appropriate accessories: calibration requires device-specific connection terminals; probably template protocols and an inspection plan. We are also happy to assist you in composing inspection plans and training programs for your personnel.
However, purchase of the necessary equipment for adjustment / overall testing in accordance with manufacturer specifications, and of the associated “know-how” is only economical if you must test very many (> 100) identical systems regularly, or if you have very high logistical costs, for shipping. Typical service work (repair, system maintenance, updating, remodeling, upkeep), however, is still only possible at imc. 

Certification (manufacturer’s calibration certificate): Why are no measurement values stated by channel in the standard package?

In general, a manufacturer's calibration certificate from imc for 1 device as per DIN EN ISO 9001 is adequate for our customers. The calibration process entails calibration upon receipt (determining actual values; the owner is informed of deviations beyond tolerances), a complete function check, balancing, and calibration for release. The owner receives a manufacturer's calibration certificate without measurement values.
The manufacturer's calibration certificate certifies the validity of the calibration in reference to the serial numbers listed (identification of the test object); the serial numbers of the system and of the measurement module are unambiguously correlated to the reports and measured values; the report file headers state the test equipment used along with their imc equipment ID numbers. Optionally, a complete set of reports with measured values and a list of the measurement equipment used can be ordered (measurement values "as received" + "after balancing"). A complete set of reports of this type is needed for trend analysis or for determining calibration intervals, or in the framework of QS-audits, but is not required for a traceable calibration certificate according to ISO 9001ff, for example. We do not include this complete report set as a standard, thus reducing costs for us and our customers. However, the calibration reports with the readings are always archived automatically and are available on file for 10 years. If equipment arrives at our facilities for service work, such as inspections, maintenance or repairing, we additionally provide a service report stating all work performed.

 

What does the calibration certificate which comes with new devices mean?

By default, we provide along with every measurement device a manufacturer's calibration certificate with a list of device modules and their associated serial numbers. This certificate is practically a declaration that we have performed calibration traceable back to national standards. The calibration reports with their measurement values are automatically archived and are optionally available (up to 10 years afterwards). The report header states all test equipment used and its respective internal imc ID numbers. Furthermore, our test equipment management conformant to ISO 9001:2008 ensures traceability. 

Sometimes imc provides a test certificate and no calibration certificate; what is the difference?

With purely digital modules (e.g. DI, DO, ENC, INC, busDAQ ...) or after the test of devices in servicing, for which calibration was not ordered, we certify the function test with a test certificate. This is a voluntary extra service provided by imc, for which there is no legal entitlement.
Measurement values generated in this procedure are generally not archived, but can be recorded for an extra charge; however, no retroactive order of measurement values is possible.

 

The manual states the amplifier uncertainty as <0.05% "of value read from the display"; does this really mean "of the gain range"?

< 0.05% of value read from the display is in this case the correct formulation of the gain error; it refers to the value indicated, not to the input range end value. This means the absolute error is smaller for small values and larger for large values (gain error). The offset error is stated in % of the input range end value. The total error consists of, among other things, the offset- and gain errors. 

Sometimes there is "latitude for interpretation" which raises questions in audits about the statements of the issuance date and the calibration date on the calibration certificate. How are these explained?

An explanation has been provided as a footnote on the calibration certificate since 09/2006: Issue date:
The day on which the calibration certificate is issued. Unless stated otherwise, the issue date is also the date of the last calibration by imc. A duplicate (certified copy) of the calibration certificate is denoted accordingly.

Last calibration on:
If the date of issuance is different from the date of the last calibration, then we additionally state this date on the calibration certificate.
For technical reasons, the set of reports for a measurement system may under certain circumstances consist of multiple reports with differing dates for the respective calibration. The date of the last calibration then corresponds to the issuance date of the last calibration report belonging to the measurement system.

Can imc also conduct a DKD calibration?

We cannot provide DKD calibration for measurement devices we supply. However, upon request we can exclusively use calibrators having DKD calibration certificates. Naturally, such a requirement must be expressed when placing an order. When developing our calibration procedures, we give regard to the procedures as described in the DKD, for example. 

Question: Calibration report with "fail" rating

The “input calibration” is a "fail" rating if a channel exceeds a limit value. The “input calibration” describes the current state before adjustment. Then all input channels will be adjusted and checked with the “output calibration”. On the output calibration no "fail" rating should occur, because it describes the current state after the adjustment.

The tolerance values for a channel during the calibration are much more sensitive defined than the tolerance values in the technical data sheet.

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