Intermediate checks per ISO 17025 are a vitally important part of maintaining accurate measurements. They can catch errors in equipment before a series problem arises. Whether your lab is maintaining temperature, pressure, or electrical devices, understanding checks on your equipment can lead to a more successful lab.
An intermediate check is a quality check that is performed for every reference standard while it is still within calibration date to ensure that it is still in good condition.
This type of quality control is implemented internally where the resulting data should be recorded and analyzed.
An intermediate check is performed by comparing two instruments with the same parameters. One is a standard, and the other is a Unit Under Calibration (UUC) to check any differences or unacceptable errors.
Calibration is the process of comparing a device to a measurement standard. Calibration will give you the error of your device or sensor, or how far it has drifted from its normal value.
The measurement standard itself calibration is by a more accurate standard, and this process repeats until they connect the calibrations. The definition of the measurement unit itself is by the International System of units (SI). Through a well-defined calibration process under the international standard, ISO 17025, every device used in a calibration measurement can trace back to the international standard units.
When you send a device to a calibration lab, they will first calibrate the device. This is to understand how far off of nominal it is. Next they do a verification that the device is performing in or out of the tolerance whose definition is by the published specifications.
If a device is performing outside of its published specification, then an adjustment is made. Adjustment is the process of using information obtained during the calibration eliminating errors. This is so that the device will measure much closer to its nominal value.
They perform calibration and alignment on a time cycle, often referred to as a calibration interval. The most common cycle for calibration is once a year. However, it can be more or less depending on the requirements of the equipment.
In heavily regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, discovering a device is out of calibration has the potential to be very costly. There is not only the financial risk, but it can jeopardize human health. The sooner you know when a device has become out of tolerance, the better off you are.
Intermediate checks can be the best monitoring system in between the calibration cycle. The practice of intermediate checks within industries is reducing the risk of failure, and financial loss, without the time and expense that increasing the calibrations would incur.
Verifying the equipment is a sensible way to reduce all risks in any type of lab.
Look for changes in measurements between calibration. Calibration is an absolute measurement against a known standard. But intermediate checks may only need to look at changes between measurements. If equipment is drifting, then you will need to perform an intermediate check. Then you will know if it is time for calibration.
If you are still unsure about the process of ISO 17025 calibration, we can help. At SRP control systems ltd, we have been helping our clients with products, services, measurements, and calibration solutions for the past 40 years. Let us help you find your next instrumentation or calibration solution.