There are so many different options when it comes to calibration. Whether it be your welding machines or gauge blocks, calibration is a part of all manufacturing processes. So how do you pick the correct calibration house for your business?
First of all, price is not everything! Many of the shops with cheaper prices are not taking the time and energy to really look at your tools. Ask around about a company. This is a small industry and finding people who have used a specific company is pretty easy.
Second, check their in house calibration scope. Many calibration houses farm out specific gauges to other vendors. Make sure you know where your tools are going. A calibration house will usually notify you before sending gauges out of their facility if you ask.
Next, make sure the calibration house has a copy of your recall dates and procedures. This is actually required by 17025; yet, in my experience many companies fail to send these with their purchase orders. It is important to ensure that the company you are working with is calibrating your tools to your specifications so that you don’t get caught between a rock and a hard place when that ‘A’ List auditor comes.
Convenience can sometimes feel like a dirty word to the higher ups; yet, many of the calibration houses offer many conveniences that you should ask about. For example: can they order replacement gauges if one of yours is rejected, do they offer discounts on calibration of new gauges purchased through them, or free pick-up and delivery. These are just a few of the many conveniences that shops offer.
Finally, and most importantly, accuracy. Many shops use substandard calibration equipment to measure your tools. Ensure that the calibration house is tracking both uncertainty and accuracy correctly. This is often not possible without a basic understanding of these principles and a vendor audit. This is crucial to your final product and being able to guarantee your products to your customer. Remember that uncertainty stacks at each level; so, if you are trying to keep a tight tolerance, it is your responsibility to get your gages calibrated by a house with the correct capabilities.