Gage calibration drift is the process by which a gage or other measuring instrument’s readings “drift” into inaccurate territory over a period of time. Gage drift can lead to measurement errors and related problems, including safety concerns. Even when detected, gage drift can be frustrating and time-consuming to deal with in the field.
Avoiding calibration drift plays an essential role in maintaining measurement accuracy. Whether you rely on mechanical gages, electrical gages or other kinds of measuring equipment, you need to be on the lookout for this common problem.
What Causes Calibration Drift?
Though specific causes may vary depending on the type of gage you’re using, some of the most common causes of gage drift include:
- Misuse, mishandling and neglect
- Environmental changes, such as in temperature or humidity
- Exposure to harsh conditions, such as corrosive substances or extreme temperatures
- Sudden mechanical or electrical shock or vibration
- Frequent use and natural calibration degradation over time
Some of these causes can be avoided by handling gages properly and shielding them from damaging conditions. However, because calibration drift can occur naturally over time, particularly as the instrument is used repeatedly, it’s difficult to entirely prevent loss of accuracy.
Why Does Calibration Drift Matter?
Unaddressed calibration drift can lead to measurement errors. However, in addition to skewing readings and increasing risk, calibration drift can also harm the longevity of your equipment. This fact is especially true when the drift is caused by something other than natural degradation, as some of the causes of gage drift, like exposure to harsh conditions, can also damage equipment over an extended period.
With valuable and frequently used equipment, restoring calibration accuracy is essential to preserving your investment and ensuring you’ll have access to reliable measurements when you need them.
How Can You Solve Gage Calibration Drift?
Though you can take precautions to prevent some environmental causes of gage drift, the best way to protect your equipment is to have your gages professionally calibrated on a regular basis. Depending on your industry, you may need to have instruments calibrated yearly or more often.
In addition to regularly scheduled adjustment, you may want to have a gage calibrated when:
- It has been exposed to harsh conditions
- It has undergone recent shock
- It’s producing readings that don’t seem correct
- You need confirmation of its calibration accuracy
If you’re looking for someone capable of correcting gage drift and returning your equipment to proper calibration, MicronPA can help. We perform all calibrations using approved A2LA calibration procedures, and we’ll provide you with full calibration records, including a long-form certificate that details and validates all the work done on your equipment.
Calibration drift can take gages out of the field and slow down your operation. To help you get back to work with accurate equipment, we also offer fast turnaround times. We can return your gages to you in as few as five days, if needed. Learn more about our gage calibration services, or contact MicronPA today to see how we can help.