Calibration of instruments and other measuring devices is done to verify its performance. It is comparison of the reading found from the instrument or measuring device and the known value or reference standard. The difference between the measured value and standard value helps to determine the instrument performance.
Instruments are calibrated when those are initially used but the calibration frequency of the instruments always remains question. Generally instruments in quality control and other measuring devices in manufacturing units are calibrated on a tradition that is generally followed in all pharmaceutical manufacturing units and those are never changed.
Calibration history card from beginning can help to establish the frequency of the instrument calibration. If an instrument’s calibration results remain within the specification from a specified period then calibration frequency could be updated.
A shorter calibration interval may reduce the risk of analysis or measurement errors but a longer calibration interval can reduce the manpower and company costs. Calibration frequency is determined by the factors affecting the measurement accuracy as frequency of the instrument usage, environmental conditions of the surroundings (temperature, humidity and vibration etc.), required result accuracy etc.
Calibration frequency should be increased when:
1. Any instrument, measuring device or sensor is found out of the tolerance limit during the routine calibration.
2. Any error in measurement by instrument or device could lead to the quality issue of the batch or any safety issue.
3. Any instrument or sensor is being used in a critical process where error in result may cause any harm.
Calibration frequency should be decreased when:
1. The calibration results are found with the specified limits during calibration from a long period of time.
2. The instrument or measuring device is used in any non-critical process.
Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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