Frequently Asked Questions
The world of calibration is a niche one, many people have heard enough to be dangerous. Here we try to help shed some light on things you may have heard or even misheard and what they actually mean. Explore the topics below to gain a better understanding of the standards, requirements and nuances in calibration that can help your company best take advantage of properly calibrated equipment.
What is an accredited calibration?
Accredited Calibration explained
ICTS is an accredited lab that also offers accredited calibrations. The accreditation comes from our accrediting body, ANAB, and is what allows us to offer what is called an accredited calibration or 17025 calibration. This level of calibration must fit the requirements of the 17025 standard (ISO/IEC 17025:2017), which has some stricter guidelines than a strictly traceable or NIST certificate. A traceable NIST certificate essentially ensures that your equipment has been calibrated using a standard that can be traced back to the regulated standards of the industry. This means that you know our equipment has itself been calibrated and the equipment that calibrated our standards has been calibrated and so on it goes. With an accredited calibration you get this traceability as well as a quality system that has been thouroughly examined to uphold the high 17025 standard of the industry. Some of this has to do with the standards we will choose to calibrate your equipment and the ratio of accuracy between our standards and your tools. The accredited calibration also will always come with before and after readings or measurements. With the accredited calibration we will be required to more strictly determine the pass/fail response for your instrument. It takes into account more than just the manufacturer's specified accuracy, we now are also considering more closely things like the environment, repeatability of the tool, uncertainty of the standard being used and test uncertainty ratio. For these reasons an accredited calibration will cost more and may require more time to complete. All of our standards used must themselves be accredited.
Do I need an accredited calibration or accredited lab?
Difference between accredited calibration and accredited lab
Many customers are told that they need an accredited lab to calibrate their instruments. This is not the same thing as being told you need an accredited calibration. Many standards out there will require you to use an accredited lab for calibration. This is because as an accredited lab we are audited to a standard that will require all of our quality practices to be known and regulated. This ensures that no matter what type of certificate you receive you are getting it through an organization that has essentially been vetted by the accrediting body, in our case ANAB. An accredited calibration then goes above just this requirement and means that your instrument is getting a specified type of certification. See above for more information on what an accredited calibration entails. For this reason it is important to confirm with your auditing organization whether you are required to use an accredited lab or to get an accredited calibration. Accredited calibrations always come from accredited labs but accredited labs can offer nonaccredited calibrations. Here at ICTS we have multiple certificates offered that will range in price and level of calibration. This will change at times whether you get measurement data, which standards we use to calibrate your equipment and what is taken into account when we make our decision to pass or fail your calibration. We wont be able to tell you for sure if you need an accredited calibration, its best to determine that through your auditing body. But we can explain the difference between the certificates we offer and at times help to interpret the requirements you have been given to make sure your instruments are covered and certified.
Do I need an A2LA cert? 17025 cert? Accredited cert?
What these names mean and where they come from
For quite some time A2LA, an accrediting organization, was viewed as the standard for all things 17025 or accredited. These three terms started to be used interchangeably and some confusion arose. Today there are multiple accrediting bodies, A2LA being one of them, as well as ANAB and NVLAP. an accredited lab will be accredited through an accrediting body and no matter which one it is the accrediting body will be requiring the lab to uphold the same standard. Right now the standard that is upheld for calibrations and is considered an accredited calibration is the ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard. You will not be required to use a lab or get a cert from a specifically accredited lab from just one specific accrediting body. So if you have heard you need an A2LA calibration or cert or lab to do the work, this is some confusion leftover from when they were the most prevalent organization. Your requirements would fall under needing either an accredited lab or accredited cert (see above to differentiate between those). An accredited calibration will be the same as a 17025 calibration which can sometimes mistakenly called an A2LA calibration. At ICTS we are able to offer the accredited calibration you may be required and are accredited through ANAB as our accrediting body.