If you’re on the hunt for a calibration lab to outsource the calibration of various instruments, you may have seen a lot of talk come up about accreditation. Specifically, ISO 17025. Especially if you are in a highly regulated industry such as medical equipment manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, or aviation and aerospace, this accreditation should be very important to you. If you’re still scratching your head, however, over what it all means and why you should care, we’re going to highlight the importance of an ISO 17025 calibration lab.
What is ISO 17025?
ISO/IEC 17025 was first created in 1999 by the International Organization for Standardization as a way to ensure labs were meeting requirements. Labs that have this accreditation have demonstrated that they are competent in the technical aspects of calibration and can calibrate an instrument to the precise measurement as set by the International Organization for Standardization. The accreditation process for a calibration lab is fully voluntary and reviewed by a third-party organization. Once accredited, however, the process does not last forever. The lab will continually be reviewed to ensure they continue to meet standards, which stresses the importance of an ISO 17025 calibration lab.
Why Does It Matter?
Especially if you are in a regulatory industry, an ISO 17025 calibration lab accreditation means everything to the process of choosing a reliable calibration lab. Without the accreditation, you cannot guarantee that proper technical proficiencies or management requirements are being met. Imagine sending an expensive instrument out to be calibrated, only to have it returned out of spec or damaged. Here are 3 guarantees you will get only when choosing an ISO 17025 calibration lab.
- Proficiency Testing
As required in ISO 17025 reviews, a calibration lab will be measured against its competitors in their proficiency to perform the tests they do. They must meet certain requirements in their calibration skills to be accredited. Further, technicians themselves should be tested and trained in their specific calibration skills. You wouldn’t want a technician who is only trained in pipettes and pressure gages to try and calibrate your aircraft jack.
- Traceability & Visibility
Traceability of all measurements is a requirement of ISO 17025 calibration labs. An accredited lab should prepare a report of all instruments calibrated with specs. The certificate is even required to contain specific information on the calibration process. This gives the customer full visibility into what the calibration lab has done.
- Customers Come First
ISO 17025 goes so far as to have requirements on how a calibration lab should treat their customers. There are security regulations on how much of the customer’s information should be left confidential, something that can be scary to consider if you’re using an unaccredited lab. There are also requirements on how a lab should deal with customer complaints, encouraging labs to seek customer feedback.
A lot of money goes into the instruments you buy and they should be taken care of in the hands of people you can trust. With an ISO 17025 calibration lab, it is guaranteed that they are up to the most recent standards.