Many calibration technicians follow long-established procedures at their facility that have not evolved with instrumentation technology. Years ago, maintaining a performance specification of ±1% of span was difficult, but today’s instrumentation can easily exceed that level on an annual basis. In some instances, technicians are using old test equipment that does not meet new technology specifications. This article focuses on establishing base line performance testing where analysis of calibration parameters (mainly tolerances, intervals and test point schemes) can be analyzed and adjusted to meet optimal performance. Risk considerations will also be discussed – regulatory, safety, quality, efficiency, downtime and other critical parameters. A good understanding of these variables will help in making the best decisions on how to calibrate plant process instrumentation and how to improve outdated practices.
Process instrument calibration is just one of the many maintenance related activities in a process plant. The last thing you want to do is to have your limited resources wasting time performing unnecessary calibrations or using time-consuming, ineffective calibration procedures.
Yet, you need to make sure that all critical calibrations are completed, ensuring the site stays running efficiently with minimal downtime, product quality is maintained, while the plant remains regulatory and safety compliant, and audit-ready.