Step 1: Understanding the Concept of Instrument Calibration
Calibration procedure is instrument specific. That means there are separate procedures for temperature calibration, pressure, flow, pipette, dimension calibration etc. The calibration process seeks to make the instrument test against a number of calibrators, whose exact values are known. The outcomes are analyzed for gauging the sanctity of measurement techniques and the integrity of sample test results. The process fine tunes the instrument to make it immune to unfavorable conditions and produce unwavering results against unknown test products.
The emphasis is on establishing the correlation at critical points within the instrument’s functional scope. Using large number of calibrators may be desirable, however the feasibility of the same cannot be justified in terms of labor, time and capital involved. The product’s intended performance level and calibration related efforts have to be balanced. Optimum performance can be guaranteed when compliance to manufacturer’s performance specifications is accomplished by eliminating innate instrument errors at vulnerable intermediate points.
Step 2: Importance of Calibration
Step 3: Factors Affecting Calibration
Use of incorrect calibrator values: Any inadvertent disregard to instructions for use or choosing the incorrect calibrator values can program the instrument wrongly, generating substantial errors over the equipment’s functional range. Operator error should be detected and the process should be checked against diagnostic software.
Calibrator formulation tolerance: It is imperative that calibrators having undergone strict tolerance specifications’ formulation from renowned manufacturer be used. The tolerance (owing to usual instrumentation and quality control process induced variations) can alter the mean value achievable through calibrator use. Any deviation can make the calibrators ‘teach’ the instrument wrongly.
Sample preparation method: Correct technique is innately associated with calibration process’s optimal performance. Numerous contributing conditions like using varied sample quantities, permitting air bubbles to creep in the sample, early preparation of samples causing evaporation can result in degrading the results.
Ambient temperature impact: Calibrating the instrument at regular intervals at a temperature resembling the one under which it operates is a must. Ambient temperature can induce errors that are not apparent. Sensitive electronic components can be erroneously affected by alterations in operating temperature. The accuracy of outcome will be severely compromised if the instrument is made to function at a temperature way different from the temperature calibration.