Pressure sensors and gauges need to be re-calibrated regularly to keep them performing optimally. Depending on the importance of the measurement and the environment where the sensor is operating, a typical re-calibration schedule might be anywhere from once a year to once every three months. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is an organization that certifies the re-calibration of a sensor, and ensures that it was performed correctly and accurately.
NIST “was founded in 1901 as the nation’s first federal physical science research laboratory,” under the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST has three core competencies that it focuses on: measurement science, rigorous traceability, and the development and use of standards. Over the years, NIST has made significant contributions that include pollution-control technology, high-speed dental drills, scanning tunneling microscopy, and atomic clocks.
At APG we provide NIST certification for our pressure gauges and pressure transducers. This process involves submitting the instruments to a pressure calibrator that is ten times more accurate than the sensors themselves. Every year we send that pressure calibrator to its manufacturer to have them re-calibrate it to an even more accurate calibrator. Eventually you can trace the instruments to NIST who has the ultimate authority on calibration standards.
Recommended Calibration Intervals
Many users often ask what the standard is on how often to re-calibrate their pressure sensors and digital gauges. According to the NIST website, “NIST does not require or recommend any set recalibration interval for measuring instruments, devices, or standards.” They further state that specific intervals depend on accuracy requirements set by customers, requirements set by contract or regulation, inherent stability of the specific sensor, and the environmental factors that may affect the stability. However, NIST does recommend that organizations implement their own re-calibration programs to maintain accuracy.
APG Technician, Daniel Bardwell, suggests that your pressure transducer should be re-certified at least once every year. One of our customers has their sensors re-calibrated every three months because they have a greater dependence on those instruments to maintain high accuracy.
By evaluating your own situation you can determine your own recalibration interval.
Let us know if you have any questions about NIST certification services. Give us a call if you need to schedule a re-calibration. We hope this have given some insight into why our NIST services are important, and how they can keep your operation running smoothly.