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Instrument calibration is one of the primary processes used to maintain instrument accuracy. Calibration is the process of configuring an instrument to provide a result for a sample within an acceptable range. Eliminating or minimizing factors that cause inaccurate measurements is a fundamental aspect of instrumentation design.
The accuracy of all measuring devices degrade over time. This is typically caused by normal wear and tear. However, changes in accuracy can also be caused by electric or mechanical shock or a hazardous manufacturing environment (e.x., oils, metal chips etc.). Depending on the type of the instrument and the environment in which it is being used, it may degrade very quickly or over a long period of time. The bottom line is that, calibration improves the accuracy of the measuring device. Accurate measuring devices improve product quality.
Once the benefits of a properly performed calibration are understood, it becomes evident that care must be taken during the process to prevent potential error sources from degrading the results. Several factors can occur during and after a calibration that can affect its result.