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InnoCal Blog

Information about keeping your instruments running accurately

Beth Dumey

Beth Dumey

Journalist, storyteller, communicator, and content strategist crafting blogs to share and inform.

Posted by on in Thermodynamics

Research, production, and testing all use scales within their processes. As a measuring instrument, the precision of the scale is fundamental to its use. If the scale is reading off, even slightly, you won’t be able to trust the results. This could call into question your research or count accuracy. It will certainly slow down your operation as you re-check weights.b2ap3_thumbnail_Scales_11100_04_1.jpg

Scales include:

  • Counting scales
  • Industrial scales
  • Floor/bench scales
  • Compact bench scales
  • Hanging scales
  • Food/portion scales
  • Price/shipping scales

Scales designed for applications in the food processing, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries depend on specific weights for packaging, shipping, and more. Make sure your weighing right—and your processes are not compromised.

To sustain your scale’s precision, InnoCal’s ISO17025 accredited calibration lab maintains highly accurate comparison standards. We can customize test points to your specific needs including those dictated by USP. Plus, you will receive a certificate with all the necessary data and information to ace your next audit.

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Posted by on in Electronics

Finding potential electrical insulation problems early saves you time and money. The insulation tester is a tool that can help you do this. Over time, the wear and tear of normal usage will cause insulating material to degrade and reduce its insulating function.

b2ap3_thumbnail_InsulationResistanceTester.gifBy using the tester to troubleshoot and perform preventive maintenance for electrical equipment, you avoid costly downtime. You may already be using this tool for servicing motors, generators, or cables.

To quickly and accurately measure insulation resistance, you’ll need an insulation tester that is calibrated. Whether it is new and requires initial calibration or if it has logged many hours in operation, calibration will ensure that the tester is working as effectively as it should.

When you keep the testers tested for calibration, you can rely on the results they are producing. And, the equipment you are testing actually gets a credible evaluation.

InnoCal handles your electrical calibration needs with a large fleet of electronic calibrators. Our metrology technicians provide you with a full NIST-traceable calibration certificate to satisfy your internal and external ISO9001 auditors.

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Posted by on in Air & Fluid Quantities

With flow rates as low as 0.0007 mL/min and convex rollers that are gentle on fluid, Ismatec® peristaltic pumps work well for pharmaceutical applications. Ismatec pumps are ideal for dissolution testing in pharmaceutical dosing, chromatography applications, the addition of a reagent to a reactor, and a variety of research and development purposes.

The independent channel control (ICC) pumps provide lower pulsation, better reproducibility, and a longer tubing life. However, as with all peristaltic pump drives, regular calibration helps you meet ISO, EPA, GLPs/GMPs and other quality standards.

NIST-traceable calibration will ensure precision in your process. It will also give you more accurate volumes and better system control. Make sure your pump’s rpms are what they should be—and you’re getting the performance you need—with professional calibration.

InnoCal's technicians can calibrate any Masterflex® or Ismatec® peristaltic pump drive to ensure accurate rotation per minute (rpm) output.

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Posted by on in Air & Fluid Quantities

As fruit ripens, its sugar content will change. For farmers, this means testing fruit to determine where to harvest. Refractometers measure the sugar content in fruit, wine, beer, and other foods. This enables us to have food and beverages that are sweet enough but not too sweet. Refractometers also are used in the chemical and manufacturing industries to measure sample concentrations for process and quality control.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Atago-Digital-Pocket-Refractometer-with-Bluetooth-for-iPhone.gifWhat happens when the refractometer is not calibrated correctly? Its readings are faulty and lower quality—and thus lower sales—are the result. While these meters should be calibrated before each use, professional calibration may be necessary at some point. If the meter is dropped, scratched, or has readings that regularly fall outside the acceptable range, it may be time for professional calibration and/or repair.

Handling your refractometer with care and using it only for its intended purpose will keep it working well in most cases. When it falters—or when you need calibration reports for compliance—contact the pros.

InnoCal is accredited by A2LA to meet ISO17025 requirements, including technical competency for refractometers. We use ISO Guide 25 standard reference material to complete the test per your instructions.

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Posted by on in Mechanical

Scheduled preventive maintenance and repair helps keep your valuable equipment running. Without the necessary upkeep, you may be susceptible to a production delay or shutdown.

To avoid downtime (and its related costs), check manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance cycles and assess equipment for potential repairs. Use professionally trained technicians who provide factory-authorized service. b2ap3_thumbnail_FlowmeterCalibration_20150929-140148_1.gif

At InnoCal, we offer a vast inventory of OEM parts to ensure quick and accurate service. In addition to repairs, our technicians can also create custom devices to handle your unique applications.

Calibration and Repairs for:

·    Air Velocity
·    Dimensional
·    Electrical
·    Flowmeters
·    Force
·    Gas Monitors
·    Humidity
·    Hydrometers
·    Light
·    Mass
·    pH Meters and Calibrators
·    Pipettors and Dispensers
·    Pressure/Vacuum
·    Recorders—Chart, Strip, and X-Y
·    Refractometers
·    Sound
·    Stroboscopes
·    Tachometers—Mechanical (contact) and Optical
·    Thermometry
·    Timers and Stopwatches
·    Torque
·    Vibration
·    Weather Stations

Looking for maintenance and/or repairs for laboratory and industrial process equipment and instruments? Contact InnoCal for fast, reliable service.

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Posted by on in Air & Fluid Quantities

If you look closely, you’ll see gas mass flow controllers used in many industrial, commercial, and OEM applications. They work with thermal sensing technology for precise gas injection and dosing.

b2ap3_thumbnail_MassFlowController.gifAs gas enters the controller, part of the flow is redirected into a small tube. This tube has two coils, one downstream from the other. The first coil introduces a small amount of heat into the gas stream. As the gas passes through the tube, the electronics sense the amount of heat transferred from one coil to the other.

Flow then passes into the proportional solenoid valve. This valve is controlled by the active servo electronics, which compare a set point to the actual flow rate provided by the flow sensor—and adjust the valve accordingly.

Of course, calibration drift due to aging or other factors can influence the performance and repeatability of your mass flow controller. To keep your gas flow at your desired level, your controllers should be calibrated periodically. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations for calibration cycles to sustain process efficiency.

InnoCal maintains some of the most accurate NIST-traceable standards for calibrating flow rates of almost any gas. InnoCal’s flow technicians go through extensive training on air flow calibration to ensure you can trust the measurements.

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Posted by on in Thermodynamics

What happens when you need to calibrate your calibrator? Your infrared calibrator checks the performance of infrared thermometers and lets you know how they are reading. As indicators of accuracy, these calibrators are handy standby instruments.b2ap3_thumbnail_InfraredCalibrators.gif

And because infrared instruments are used for more and more applications, their reliability becomes super important. Yet, the calibrator itself may lose accuracy over time. Events such as exposure to extreme temperatures and environments or improper storage can weaken its effectiveness. Verify the strength of infrared calibrators by periodically having them professionally calibrated.

What will a calibration lab do? Top labs will use radiometrically calibrated infrared calibrators to correct for uncertainties. With emissivity adjustments and tight accuracies, your calibration results will boost your confidence in your equipment.

Accredited by A2LA to be technically-proficient in infrared temperature measurements, InnoCal and has passed proficiency tests administered by the National Association for Proficiency Testing (NAPT).

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Posted by on in Thermodynamics

Temperature displays, controllers, and meters can be checked for calibration using electrical signals with voltage for thermocouples and resistance for RTDs and thermistors. Electrical simulation is a quick, clean, and inexpensive way to verify their accurate function.
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_Digi-Sense-Calibrated-Kangaroo-Thermocouple-Thermometer.gifHowever, it can provide a false sense of control and accuracy of the temperature process. In nearly all temperature measurements, the probe/sensor being used is the major contributor to the uncertainty or inaccuracy of the measurement. When considering the accuracy of measurements using a temperature display and sensor system, the contribution of the sensor is usually much larger than the display.

Also, electrical simulation of the temperature display, while convenient, is not sufficient to establish measurement traceability to NIST or otherwise within a measured process.

When the accuracy of your temperature equipment matters, request a full temperature system calibration from your provider.

InnoCal recommends that the probe/sensor and display/meter elements be tested for all temperature systems. This can be done by either testing the probe and meter separately against its own tolerance or as a system. If out-of-tolerance conditions are found, an electrical simulation of the meter or display is appropriate to isolate the issue (which is most often the temperature probe).

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Posted by on in Environmental Monitoring

Carbon dioxide, in hazardous amounts, can displace oxygen in the air and cause suffocation. The gas can accumulate in confined places or low-lying areas, especially those without sufficient ventilation. Monitoring the presence and level of carbon dioxide is necessary to prevent exposure leading to irreversible health effects.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Gas_DetectorCalibration.gifMiners, greenhouse workers, cryogenics lab workers, and marine vessel operators are among those who may regularly use CO2 gas detectors or carbon dioxide meters.

Yet, even with CO2 detectors, you may get inaccurate readings. These can come from:
·    Normal degradation of sensors over time
·    Exposure to extreme temperature and humidity conditions
·    Exposure to a high levels of the gas
·    Harsh storage and handling conditions (such as being dropped or submerged in liquid)

Ensure safety by having your gas detector calibrated by factory-trained technicians to verify proper operation. That’s the best way to ensure you and your workers are protected.

InnoCal is the factory-authorized service center for MSA and Sperian gas detector calibrations. Our specially trained technicians test your gas detector with a known concentration of gas.

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Posted by on in Electronics

In calibration circles, NIST traceability is a must-have for reliable accuracy. Why? The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) develop and maintain national standards for measurement quantities.
 
b2ap3_thumbnail_Peter_Sittinger_20150824-183655_1.gifMetrological traceability, according to NIST, requires the establishment of an unbroken chain of calibrations to specified references. Traceability, as defined by NIST, links the value and uncertainty of a measurement result with the values and uncertainties of each of the intermediate reference standards—and the highest reference standard to which traceability for the result of measurement is claimed.

Bottom line? This means you can trust your calibration results when you are working with a lab that provides measurements traceable to NIST standards. Calibration labs and other organizations are responsible for establishing the traceability of their own results to those of NIST or other specified references.

At InnoCal, all of our standards are calibrated to national standards, primarily maintained by NIST. Our certificates include the statement “Measurements reported herein are traceable to SI units via national standards maintained by NIST” and contain measurement uncertainty to transfer NIST traceability to your equipment. 

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Posted by on in Mechanical

Magnetic stirrers are more sophisticated than ever. Some models offer a light as a visual warning to prevent lab workers from getting accidental burns. A “HOT PLATE” warning signal remains illuminated while the temperature is on and will flash if the stirrer is turned off—until the plate drops below 50°C. Some include a braking feature b2ap3_thumbnail_MagneticStirrer.gifthat brings the stir bar to a stop for quick flask removal.

With these safety features, magnetic stirrers are even more lab-friendly. Yet, their key functionality is spinning or stirring the solution via the stir bar. Chemists and biologists rely on the efficiency of these stirrers to create homogenous samples.

To keep magnetic stirrers up to speed, professional calibration may be necessary. Check your manufacturers’ instructions for calibration recommendations and intervals.

Once your magnetic stirrers arrive in InnoCal’s ISO17025-accredited calibration lab, we’ll review your instructions, calibrate them as requested, and return them with a NIST-traceable certificate.

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Posted by on in Environmental Monitoring

When gas detectors display inaccurate readings, it puts you and your workers at risk. Perhaps you work around pipelines or tanks that emit gases. Or, you work in a confined space, an industrial plant, or in underground utilities. Regardless of the environment, if gases or vapors are escaping you need a detector that registers accurate readings.b2ap3_thumbnail_Gas-Detect_Environment_Industrial-433.gif

Yet, readings can drift for many reasons, including:
·    Age of sensors, which normally degrade over time
·    Exposure to extreme temperature and humidity
·    Exposure to high levels of the target gases
·    Harsh storage and handling conditions (including being dropped or submerged in liquid)

Ensure safety by having your multi-gas detector calibrated by factory-trained technicians to verify proper operation. Then, you are no longer left wondering if you or your workers may be exposed to dangerous gases.

InnoCal's specially trained technicians test your gas detector with a known concentration of gas. Contact us for multi-gas detector calibration.

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Posted by on in Air & Fluid Quantities

Conductivity tests a solution’s ability to conduct electrical current and serves as a quick and simple indicator of water quality. Assessing the level of water purity via conductivity can help prevent contamination.

b2ap3_thumbnail_WaterQuality_Conductivity.gif Water measured for conductivity comes from aquariums, waste streams, cooling towers, steam boilers, or laboratory research, among other applications.

Conductivity meters are a common means of measuring conductivity. Most conductivity instruments are microprocessor based and don't drift. However, small physical changes to the cell can change readings over time.

For best results, verify performance with certified calibration standards at regular intervals. Typically, multifunction calibrators, standards-grade reference multimeters, and precision resistors (per the manufacturer’s procedures) are used to calibrate conductivity and resistivity meters by a calibration service provider.

In InnoCal’s ISO17025-accredited lab, your conductivity meter will be tested to the manufacturer’s accuracy or to those of your choosing. We maintain a full fleet of electronic calibrators, ISO Guide 34-accredited conductivity solutions.

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Posted by on in Thermodynamics

From centrifuges to magnetic stirrers to viscometers, lab instruments perform crucial tasks in processing samples. When the equipment doesn’t work reliably, the operation slows or halts altogether. Imagine getting inconsistent results—and you’re not sure if it’s the process or the equipment causing it.

b2ap3_thumbnail_LabEquipment.gifTo maintain reliable performance with lab instruments, get them calibrated by a trustworthy service. Instruments should be calibrated to national standards, primarily those maintained by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST). You may be tempted to use a low cost calibration provider to preserve budget dollars. Yet, if the calibration is not done correctly or does not meet compliance standards, you’ve wasted both time and money.

Much world-class research is conducted using common lab equipment, such as incubators, ovens, and freezers. Don’t sacrifice your quality research for sub-par calibrations. Keep lab equipment up to standards with calibration that increases your confidence.

All calibrations performed by InnoCal, and certificates provided, are ISO17025 and ANSI Z540.1 compliant.

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Posted by on in Thermodynamics

Nearly any type of research using liquid volume measurements—from the scientific lab to the product research lab to the environmental lab—relies on accurate samples to test and measure various properties. b2ap3_thumbnail_DispensingApplication.gif

Your measuring and dispensing instruments can easily be taken for granted yet are critical to your sampling process. Precision quantities are necessary for valid results and repeatability.

Ensure your liquid volume measurements are exactly what you expect them to be. With volume accuracy, you can be confident that you are measuring as much or as little as you intend.

Dispensers and other items to calibrate include:
·    Micro-pipettes
·    Pipettes
·    Graduated cylinders
·    Beakers
·    Burettes
·    Carboys

InnoCal provides NIST-traceable measurements to confirm the accuracy of your dispensers with a measurement range of 0.1 uL to 4000 mL. We can calibrate, in accordance with ISO8566 requirements, from very low volumes to large volumes.

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Posted by on in Thermodynamics

torque wrench is one of those tools found everywhere from aerospace settings to home mechanics and bicyclists’ toolboxes. Its ability to tighten fasteners accurately to a particular force makes it indispensible. Torque wrenches (and other torque tools including torque transducers) must be calibrated to work properly.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Plane_torque.gifBefore using your torque wrench, make sure it has been calibrated and that its calibration date has not expired. New torque wrenches may arrive with a matching certificate of calibration traceable to NIST.

Test your torque wrench monthly for accuracy. At least once a year, your wrench should be recalibrated. In some settings, you must test for accuracy more often—perhaps before each use. Of course, as a tool, the torque wrench may be dropped or mishandled somehow. If this is the case, make sure you get it recalibrated.

InnoCal’s environmentally-controlled lab has been evaluated by A2LA and confirmed for technical competency for torque and force calibrations. We also have a fleet of mobile standards to perform calibrations on site at your facility.

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Posted by on in Air & Fluid Quantities

Every well-functioning service organization has administrative specialists who keep the work flowing. At InnoCal, Rita is one of those organized, on-top-of-it types who assists the metrologists. She takes in calibration orders and distributes them to the correct technician.b2ap3_thumbnail_Rita_image1-2.gif

She also makes sure she follows the paper trail for accurate documentation. “We document the services once completed, processing them through our system upon return,” explained Rita. “An enormous amount of documentation is generated—from e-mails to outsource orders to direct customer contact.”

Because she handles a few large customer accounts, it’s helpful that Rita has a background in customer service. In addition to enjoying customer interaction, she delights in the variety of tasks she gets to undertake.

Plus, she has a team she wouldn’t trade. “I work with the hardest working people on the planet,” said Rita. “They are fun, kind, and extremely knowledgeable.”

Have instruments that need calibrating? Contact InnoCal. Rita and her colleagues will be happy to assist you.

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Posted by on in Mechanical

When you manufacture water heaters, you must have temperature measurement and pressure equipment that functions well. That’s why two metrologists from InnoCal returned to a Michigan manufacturer for the second time to perform on-site calibrations.b2ap3_thumbnail_Manufacturer_Pressure.gif

Initially, the request for service included system calibrations. Then, the project developed into separate temperature probe and indicator calibrations—which required a second trip with different standards. For nearly a week, the InnoCal metrologists worked with the technicians at the facility to complete thermocouple and pressure gauge calibrations.

In the end, a satisfied facilities manager and his staff had equipment they could feel confident in using. “They were very pleased with our professionalism and high-end standards,” said Mark, the lead metrologist for the on-site project.

Looking for your own calibration success story? Contact InnoCal if you have a potential on-site project.

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Posted by on in Thermodynamics

When collecting data is necessary, there’s no easier way than using a data logger. If you keep track of temperature and humidity for HVAC systems, the data logger is a compact and economical way to log stats.

b2ap3_thumbnail_DataLogger.gifPharmaceutical manufacturers verify temperature readings in plants with data loggers. Some units are designed for documenting dynamic environments such as moving vehicles, trucks, containers, ships, and more. Others log voltage and current in industrial processes, productivity checks, and troubleshooting. Data loggers help save on expenses, ensure quality, and are a tool for adhering to compliance with specific industry regulations.

The common element in all data loggers is the ability to track, record, and in most cases, download or export readings to a computer. Yet if the data logger is not working effectively, its results are useless.

Make sure that your tracking data is accurate by professionally calibrating your data loggers. This ensures that you can trust the results you’re tracking.

InnoCal can handle your data logger calibrations. In our ISO17025-accredited lab, our technicians conduct hundreds of hours of training a year to stay current.

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Posted by on in Mechanical

Peristaltic pumps handle many process fluid handling duties including dispensing, metering, and general transfer. They are key to processes in industrial and manufacturing, food & beverage, R&D, pharmaceutical & biotech, and environmental labs. These workhorse pumps must sustain their precision in fluid transfer to maximize production.b2ap3_thumbnail_Masterflex_DispensingSolutions.gif

To prevent sluggish performance or even downtime, make sure your peristaltic pumps are calibrated regularly. Regular calibration:
·    Ensures accurate rotation per minute (rpm) output
·    Delivers better system control with more accurate volumes
·    Helps you meet ISO, EPA, GLPs/GMPs and other quality standards

NIST-traceable calibration will instill confidence in your processes that your peristaltic pump drives are operating efficiently.

InnoCal can calibrate any Masterflex® or Ismatec® peristaltic pump drive. Contact us to find out how to order a new pump precalibrated or to recalibrate your existing pump.

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