(Editor’s Note: This is an online-only article attributed to the October/November 2017 issue.)
Calibration is a process where measurements of a test instrument are compared against those taken by a standard device with a known accuracy. Calibration plays a critical role in quality assurance and compliance for numerous industries, but it holds importance for process industries, such as the food and beverage industry, where strict controls are required. These controls have to be very precise and to achieve this, you need highly accurate measuring tools.
Calibration in Food Industry
As a food and beverage organization, ensure that your validation program includes regular calibration. Not only is it an important aspect of quality monitoring and assurance, it also helps in achieving and maintaining high-quality standards. Moreover, it builds the brand reputation and customer trust.
Calibrating equipment regularly ensures that it performs at optimum levels at all times. The equipment’s lifespan will be extended and the overall breakdowns will reduce significantly. Moreover, the efficiency of the processes will improve, the uptime and cost savings will increase, and production losses, energy consumption, and required repairs will reduce.
Calibration helps avoid potential recalls or litigation that may be caused due to bad food batches, safety hazards from biological, physical, or chemical risks, reprocessing due to inaccuracy in measurements, etc.—all of which can be detrimental to the food industry. Thus, the importance of calibration in the food industry cannot be undermined.
Why You Need Calibration
Helps in saving energy. If the measurements are inaccurate, then you will have to repeat the entire process all over again. This will use more energy, which would further increase the costs. When the equipment is regularly calibrated, it will always give accurate measurements without requiring to repeat the processes. This will save energy and cut energy spending.
Optimizes quality. The accuracy of measurements across various stages of the product’s lifecycle dictates the quality of the product. If the accuracy is low, it will lead to low-quality products and vice versa. Regular calibration will ensure quality as well as repeatability of quality.
Provides traceable standards. You can either calibrate the equipment in-house or send them to a calibration lab for calibration services. However, you must ensure that calibration standards are traceable to an acceptable organization of standards, such as the ISO.
Meets ISO 9000 requirements. Every instrument in your facility must match up to the standards of ISO 9000 and ISO 9002. Their clauses say that all the food processing and manufacturing organizations have to implement procedures and strategies to monitor quality. ISO 9000 requirements also place emphasis on ensuring that the end results are accurate and valid.
Helps in sticking to regulations. For obvious reasons, the food and beverage industry is heavily regulated. Numerous local and federal official regulations are implemented in all the facilities, which may require timely calibration to meet the stringent regulations.
Optimizes performance. When equipment doesn’t perform to its maximum potential, your production performance will start dipping significantly. Moreover, the downtime will also increase and the production will slow down. When you calibrate regularly, it optimizes machine performance and prevents poor production issues.
Reduces unexpected failures. When sensors and instruments are not calibrated, it will start putting stress on the equipment. This will cause the equipment to have unexpected failures and downtime. Calibration will prevent this from happening as no stress would be placed on the equipment, thus no breakdowns would occur.
Helps facility be green. When equipment is performing at its peak, it will help reduce the carbon footprint and overall pollution of your organization. Instrument calibration helps save energy and adopt a green lifestyle.