Calibration Information

Sept. 9, 2008
Controls’s Monthly Resource Guide. This Month We Take a Look at Calibration

Every month, Control’s editors take a specific product area, collect all the latest, significant tools we can find, and present them here to make your job easier. If you know of any tools and resources we didn’t include, send them to [email protected], and we’ll add them to the website.

Tooling University
This class describes the various characteristics of linear measuring instruments, and explains how variation affects the inspection process. It includes an interactive lab. Class outline includes the importance of measuring length, error in measurement, calibration, stability, resolution, factors affecting measurement and cost of measurement. A free trial class is included on the website. A direct link to the class description is at

The website for the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) contains a wealth of material on calibration. It describes the Institute’s services, contains links to training programs, definitions of terms, information about quality standards and certifications, white papers, reference tables and more.

A white paper on the maintenance and calibration of HART field instruments. It says, to properly service these instruments, precision analog source/measure capability and digital communication are both required. Historically, this operation has required two separate tools, a calibrator and a communicator. Today, these capabilities are available in a single HART Documenting Process Calibrator.

YouTube’s not just about silly videos of students with too much time on their hands shooting dumb footage. Type “instrument calibration” into the search box for several pages of video clips explaining various types of calibration and showing processes. Notable clips include demos from the Instrumentation 2008 show.

The white paper, “Thinking About the Real Cost of Calibration,” gives answers to questions you should ask when selecting a calibration service. These services for test instruments are available from providers around the world. The price of a calibration service, even when comparing the same specific task among several vendors, can vary widely. Questions that are answered include “Are calibration providers doing the job for you?”; “Price versus cost;” and “Do calibration services have deep expertise and experience with the instruments they calibrate”?

This bilingual website (English/Spanish) contains a variety of definitions of technical terms and other information in Spanish. The page on “Industry Instrumentation: Units and Conversion Tables for Process Control” contains detailed information covering standards, weights and measures and other measuring conventions.

Omega Engineering
The Calibration Primer explains what calibration is, what types of calibrators are available, why calibration is important, what NIST traceability is, and what is involved in a typical calibration. It also lists many references for calibrations. 

Electric Power Research Institute
The paper, “British Energy Reduces Instrument Calibration Frequency Through On-Line Monitoring,” describes how an online monitoring system helped British Energy reduce the interval between the required recalibration of safety-related instruments, and also reduce costs, increase worker safety, cut errors and reduce the duration of outages.

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