A publication of Beamex Oy Ab, (Requests received at email@example.com)
Ultimate Calibration is a powerful little hard cover book. Only 173 pages in a convenient 7 3/4 “ x 9 3/4” size, it is published privately, in English by Beamex Oy Ab, a calibration product and services organization in Finland.
It is well written and edited, clearly for two types of readers.
- The first are managers who may be responsible for a manufacturing or maintenance organization related to processing a product, and
- The second are the workers who are charged with carrying out the needed steps to insure the processing plant instruments work properly and may be new to the disciplines of calibration.
It is divided into three distinct sections. The focus throughout is on the what, why and how of calibration of process sensors, signal transmitters and measuring instrumentation.
Part One basically asks and answers the questions: Why & How do we calibrate?
There are two obvious reasons as they state:
- First. because it is mandated by some industry or government agency and;
- Second, because it is good science and, as Beamex’s authors amply demonstrate good science makes good business.
The latter is a long-known fact, paraphrasing Lord Kelvin: “If you can’t measure something you have no real knowledge about it. That means you cannot control it.”
Then follows a second logical step,: “If you can’t calibrate a measurement device, you can’t make a real, repeatable measurements.” (Only repeatable measurements are demonstrable). Logically, there’s a third part to calibration: traceability. An untraceable calibration equals no calibration.
Bottom line: Lack of traceability calibrated measuring instruments means no reliable control of a process.
As one might imagine, there are many details that accompany good calibration practices and lots of regulations in some industries.
In all industries an analogous situation exists. All the good practices and documentation are neither easy nor quickly accomplished.
Part Two of this book delves into the necessary, serious details about how often an instrument should be calibrated and how some practices can be developed and revised according to the results achieved. It’s all about documentation of practice, repeating, recording and analyzing data. (Do what you say, say what you do and repeat).
Ultimate Calibration helps put those practices into context with flow charts of calibration and traceability systems and current industry terminology and examples. They might mention their own products a little, but understandably so. It’s a small price for this gem of a book.
Then, too, there’s the significant question about how to calibrate the calibrators. They require their own maintenance systems and practices.
The use of automated data collection is a vital tool to maintain all calibration systems and make them efficient. Beamex shows how they have been there and developed products and software to help make the maintenance of a calibration system efficient and responsive in several examples.
They specifically address the questions related to weighing processes, power plants operations and pharmaceutical processing. They specifically cover the tough calibration requirements in unique situations like hazardous environments,
The Terminology Section is one of the most comprehensive glossaries that I have ever seen for a calibration practice manual. It covers the A to Z (W?) of calibration and uncertainty in measurement.
A well-done book, one, in my humble opinion, that should be read and re-read by every manager charged with managing an efficient organization in a process industry so they can better understand the significance of their instrument calibration programs as assets rather than as cost centers.
Better yet, I think it should be required reading for all MBA students along with their exercises in quantitative management. Most will likely rub up against the need to understand the costs and where things can be optimized in any process that involves measurement – traceable calibration is essential.
About the only thing missing was an example on helping a customer find and use an optimum measurement device or instrument for a specific use. The subject of Gage R&R, while mentioned in the Terminology Section, was not covered as a tool for evaluation of existing measurement practices and improving them.
Having been involved in manufacturing operations, I have seen first hand how a careful application of Gage R&R testing can find overlooked flaws in process measurement practices, especially for apparently simple measurements, like the width or length of a strip or slab of steel.
The very bottom line: This book is a great bargain!
It is free for the asking on the Beamex website (www.beamex.com) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beamex itself develops and produces high-quality calibration products and provides calibration services for process instrumentation in a wide variety of industries from Aviation to Power & Energy producers, not the least of which includes Food and Pharmaceuticals.
They provide these products and services in more than 60 countries and have more than 10,000 customers worldwide, according to the ‘About Beamex’ page, the very last page of this book.
What’s more they have “earned their stripes”, as amply demonstrated within the book as an Accredited Calibration Laboratory, recognized by FINAS, The Finnish Accreditation Services, and by extension, EA, the European co-operation for Accreditation, ILAC, the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation and IAF, the International Accreditation Forum, Inc.
More online at www.beamex.com.
Review by: G. Raymond Peacock
Ray Peacock, a physicist, has long experience in instrument calibration and management. As a lead manager for Land Instruments in the USA he helped establish and maintain the traceable temperature calibration laboratory at Land Instruments, Inc. in the 1970s and 80s. The Land Instruments Laboratory was established traceable to both the British Calibration Service (now UKAS) in the UK and NIST in the USA. He later helped establish and maintain three separate Radiation Thermometry, NIST-traceable calibration facilities within the LTV Steel Company (now part of AcelorMittal) plants and Technology Center in Ohio and Indiana in the 1990s. He is the former Chair of ASTM Subcommittee E20.02 on Radiation Thermometry, a Fellow of the ASTM, Senior Member of the ISA and former member delegate to NCSLI.
Copyright 2011, Temperatures.com, Inc. All rights reserved.