We have compiled a Master Gauge Calibration Spreadsheet which schedules calibration for all measuring devices at our three manufacturing facilities. This includes all personal tools at all three facilities.

Plant 1 (machine Shop) QA Inspector carries out 1st off inspections for each machining process to verify conformity using QA calibrated measuring tools. The machinists use personal measuring tools to verify set-ups and dimensional conformity but the QA tools are used for acceptance or rejection. For this reason I would like to request your counsel in determining if the machinists’ personal tools can be tagged with “Calibration not required” stickers to alleviate the requirement for calibration. With almost 700 tools on the calibration spreadsheet I would like to minimize the QA resources expended to maintain tools that are not used for in process or final approval.

We are ISO 9001:2008 certified and have a scheduled audit coming up this year. Any feedback you are able to provide would be very much appreciated.

– Mark Paterson, GT Machining & Fabricating


Mark – the real question about the Calibration of equipment, regardless of ownership – is Calibration actually not required? The simple question is – “Is the piece of equipment used to measure Quality?” Or – even more simply – “Do I care about the measurement – does it make a difference?” If you check your thermostat and it indicates 72F – does it really matter whether it is 70 or 74F – as long as you are comfortable?

There is no requirement as to where your inspection and testing will occur. The simple expectation is that you will do incoming, in-process, final or multiples where you or your customer have identified the requirement. How you have confidence in the results – typically – is through having calibrated equipment. There was a philosophy at one time that said as long as the equipment at final inspection was calibrated – I’m good. NO! While this may keep nonconforming material from getting to the customer, you have all the organization’s time, effort and raw material that wouldn’t have been wasted if the out of spec condition had been caught earlier.

If it’s a lot of work to calibrate equipment ask how much effort it is to rework or replace product. Do what is of value for the organization – that usually answers the question.

– Mike Haycock, Senior BRC Consultant



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