What Is Instrument Calibration and How Is It Done?

When working with various instruments used for measuring values and troubleshooting in industrial applications, it is important that they are well calibrated for the means of ensuring accurate results and readings. Deviations in calibration can occur as a result of various reasons, and it is important that they are addressed before the instrument is used. Incorrect readings and measurements can lead to losses in performance, accidents, and much more as systems and components function differently than intended.

There are various ways in which instruments may be calibrated, but most follow the same process of having the quantity measured by an instrument compared to that from an instrument calibrator. Through the comparison of readings between the instrument and the instrument calibrator, one can determine how much adjustment is needed for the readings to align. While most instruments are well-designed to provide accurate measurements, they can lose calibration as they degrade over time, undergo maintenance, have a change in range, or have an issue that requires troubleshooting. With a variety of process control instruments available, there are also numerous calibrators to address differing needs.

A block or dry well calibrator is used when a temperature probe such as a thermocouple or RTD needs calibration. To use such tools, the temperature sensor of the instrument is placed in the dry-well calibrator that will be set to a constant temperature. By comparing the set temperature to the measured temperature, the instrument can be adjusted until the values align. Fluid bath calibrators are somewhat similar to dry well calibrators, though they utilize a heated fluid to maintain a set temperature and the temperature sensor is submerged within.

For pressure instruments that work with pneumatics, pneumatic calibrators are best for any calibration, testing, or troubleshooting need. The dead weight tester is one of the oldest calibration tools for pressure instruments, and it is known for its high accuracy. These tools feature dead weights that are calibrated in pressure units, and they are designed to reach a float condition when the manual pump’s upward force is balanced by a downward pressure from the dead weight above a piston. While the piston is floating, an instrument can be tested and compared to the pressure that is stamped on the dead weight. Aspirators are a more simplistic calibration tool for pressure instruments, and they are scissor-like, hand-held tools that display measurements on a digital gauge. While not as accurate as the dead weight tester, aspirators are useful when conducting field testing and calibration.

Signal reference calibrators are one of the final most common calibration instruments, and they can be used to generate outputs such as voltage, ohms, current, frequency, and more. If a calibrator is also able to simulate thermocouples and RTDs, then it is known as a simulator. Multifunction calibrators are quite useful for a number of troubleshooting needs, and they can help one quickly determine whether a problem is occurring in a sensor, transmitter, or another component.

If you are in the market for various calibration tools or instruments, there is no better source than NSN Supplies for procuring all your needs. Browse our website at your leisure and find calibrator coupler components, adapter transformer products, magnetic circuit parts, and other various items readily available for purchase at any time. If you find items on our database that you are interested in purchasing, take the time to fill out and submit an RFQ form as provided on our website in order to receive a customized solution for your requirements. See why customers continuously rely on NSN Supplies for all their operational needs today when you give our team a call or email!


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