The importance of calibration within the food industry
If you are in the food industry, then you would have definitely heard the word calibration being used quite frequently. Calibration can be defined as an association between two measurements:
- the scale or accuracy that is set with one piece of equipment
- and, an equipment with a known or assigned accuracy that is also known as the standard.
It is crucial to remember that the standards vary from one country to the other based on the type of industry and the way manufacturers choose to designate their measurement criterion. It also depends on their recommendation of frequency and level of calibration, how often the device is used and the specific application.
Calibration can be regarded as the process of adjusting the output of a measurement instrument to match with the value of the applied standard. The output value must lie within a specified accuracy and the acceptable range of tolerance.
Here are some reasons why it is important to regularly calibrate your equipment.
Meet ISO requirements. Every instrument in the facility has to match up to the standards of ISO 9000 and ISO 9002. It requires all the food processing- and manufacturing-related organizations to implement strategies and procedures to monitor quality. ISO 9000 requirements also emphasize on using calibration to make sure that the end results are accurate.
Achieve traceability. Regardless of whether you send your equipment to a lab for calibration services or you choose to calibrate them in-house, you must make sure that the calibration standards are traceable to an acceptable organization of standards, such as the ISO.
Adhere to regulations. The food industry is heavily regulated. Official local and federal regulations are implemented in all facilities. This calls for timely calibration, so that you can meet these stringent regulations.
Optimize quality. The quality of any product relies on the accuracy of the measurements across various stages of the product’s lifecycle. Low accuracy will lead to low-quality products and vice versa. You must calibrate to optimize quality as well as ensure repeatability of quality.
Save energy and reduce related costs. If there are inaccurate measurements across the board, you will have to repeat the process. This requires energy, which in turn, increases costs. You can cut down the energy expenses by regularly calibrating your equipment.
Optimize performance of the machine. If your equipment is not performing to its maximum potential, the production performance will plummet. Moreover, the downtime will increase and the production will slow down tremendously. Calibration will prevent this by optimizing the machine performance.
Reduce re-processing costs. It sounds like a good idea to implement checks after each process, but it is highly impractical. To ensure fewer errors throughout the processes, you must calibrate your machinery regularly. The likelihood of errors will go down tremendously.
Minimize unexpected breakdowns. If the instruments and sensors are not calibrated for a long time, it will put stress on the equipment. This will cause the equipment to break down unexpectedly or lead to sudden failures and downtime.
Reduce wastage of raw material. If you are not using the raw materials judiciously, you could lose a lot of money. When your instruments are calibrated, you will reduce wastage and cut costs without impacting the overall quality.
Go green. When you ensure that your equipment is performing at its peak, you can reduce your carbon footprint and pollution.