Roger and Betty had been married over 40 years and he loved her very much. Throughout their relationship, she was always doing nice little things for him. Every morning, for over 40 years, Betty would put a Kleenex into each of his two work shirt pockets just in case he needed them. Sadly, after Betty died, Roger was left to take matters in his own hands.
Have you ever noticed how we use words incorrectly by giving them larger meanings than they’re supposed to have? Kleenex is a brand name of facial tissue that was originally marketed in 1924 as a way to remove cold cream. Kleenex is now synonymous with any brand tissue used to blow one’s nose.
Even though there are only 97 men for every 100 females in the US, we still use the word “he” as a generic pronoun to describe people. And the word “man” is used to describe our race even though there are actually 10% more women in the world than their masculine counterparts.
The use of the word “calibration” is much the same. Calibration is actually the act of adjusting an instrument to measure a primary standard within a certain tolerance. Normally this standard is certified, and the calibration is said to give this instrument traceability to the certified primary standard.
Calibration is also used generically to describe the process of “verification.” Verification is a way of confirming that an instrument can make a measurement within a set tolerance. Often this can be done with the use of secondary standards on a more regular basis. If the verification fails or is just within tolerance, then there may be a need for calibration.
What do we do with glass thermometers? Because there are no adjustments, you cannot calibrate a thermometer. You can verify its reading by comparing it to a temperature standard and see that it reads within tolerance. But what do you do if it is out of tolerance? You note the deviation from the true reading and “standardize” the thermometer by assigning a correction factor. This correction factor is used to add or subtract from the reading you get to obtain the true temperature reading.
So, when your equipment has been “calibrated,” it may have been calibrated, verified, or standardized. No doubt, there are probably many other processes that end up being called calibration. But unlike Roger you don’t need to take matters into your own hands, you have LabtronX to help.