What Is Metrology?
Metrology is part of the science of measurement. Specifically, it is the science of standardizing measurements, the calibration of the measuring tools and the inspection of the tools for verification. When the devices of measurement are inspected, the data is compared to a standard that is known to be accurate.
A dimensional inspection involves the comparison of an item to its design specifications.
There are many well-established worldwide standards for measurements.
Why Are Accurate Measurements Important?
Accurate measurements are vital in a variety of industries. Consider the following situations:
- Medical and Health Field: Values from medical instruments such as a thermometer or monitoring devices indicate the health of a patient. Without accuracy in the tool, healthcare providers could misdiagnose patients’ illnesses. Also, in producing health products such as glasses or dentures, accurate measurements ensure that the lenses meet the required prescription or that the dentures are a comfortable fit for the patient.
- Manufacture of Component Parts: Many of our manufactured items such as our vehicles, appliances, and other equipment include component parts. Each of these parts must fit together to complete the finished product. During the manufacturing process of the parts, it is essential to monitor the various components to ensure a proper fit during the assembly stage. The measuring instruments that follow the process need to be calibrated for quality assurance. Once the item is in use, customers expect to be able to purchase parts for the vehicle, such as a fuel pump that has been produced to exact specifications to ensure its easy replacement in their car.
- Match Expectations with Your Customer: Global standards of weights and measures enable your business to be compatible with your clients. Your measurement of a volt or a timeframe must be reliable so that your client can integrate your products into their design. Traceable calibration can give you these assurances.
- Avoid Penalties: In many situations, your products need to perform to certain measurement standards, whether the measurement is by volume, time, pressure or weight. Inaccuracy under these circumstances can lead to penalties or fines. Having accurate monitoring equipment is essential, economically.
Standards in Australia
Australia has four organizations to regulate metrology in the country: National Measurement Infrastructure (NMI), National Association of Testing Authorities (NATTA), Standards Australia, and Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand. These organizations cover responsibility for measurement infrastructure, research, accreditation for laboratories, documentary standards and certification for management systems, instruments and staff.
In 2010, the four metrological organizations of Australia established a new body called the Technical Infrastructure Alliance to develop projects to provide greater efficiency and performance in quality standards. This organization “ensures that practical measurements made by industry and the community are linked to the International System of Units.” according to the government of Australia.
Tips for Effective Communication in Calibrating Instruments
To check the calibration of instruments, companies send their equipment to your lab. Some customers are not as equipped as others to understand the details of metrology. To aid your clients or to avoid any confusion or errors, it is important to help them by following these few tips. Collecting data ahead of time enable will allow your business to clarify many issues and to help clients save money. Moreover, when the equipment is returned, you can use a checklist to verify what has been done with their equipment.
Understand the Use of Each Measurement Tool
- Determine how your clients use their equipment. Many tools have more capabilities than what they require.
- Determine how often the instrument needs to be calibrated.
- Determine whether calibration uncertainty data or stated best measurement uncertainty is needed.
Understand the Needs of the Company
- Is the calibration needed as a quick turnaround or can the company wait for average processing time?
- Is the calibration for internal accuracy or is it needed as part of an accreditation process?
Verify Return Information
- Make sure that an accurate shipping address is included.
- Ascertain the identity of the person who is going to receive and inspect the equipment.
- Document the expected return date.
A Confirmation Checklist
Provide the company with a checklist to help them receive the equipment, so it can be put into service as soon as possible. Include the following points in this checklist. This checklist can also be used by your company to verify that the equipment is ready to be shipped.
- Have all of the parts been returned?
- Are all the parameters calibrated as requested?
- Has the level of accuracy been met?
- Does the information make sense? Are there any glaring errors?
- Are the Pass-Fail parameters correctly applied?
- Is the calibration certificate correct?
- Is the calibration sticker complete with the ID, Calibration Date, and Calibration Due Date?
- Provide a place for the inspector to sign off that everything is as outlined and has room for further investigation.
Metrology can be a very complicated process. Make sure that both you and your client share the key details.