Well-maintained Inspection, Measuring and Test Equipment is important for verifying the status of continuous improvement in company processes as well as accuracy of the product or service.
Assessors will be looking for Inspection. Measuring and Test Equipment to be calibrated by an accredited subcontractor whose certification can be traced to national or international standards. A typical list would include gauges. micrometers: anything that needs to be calibrated regularly to maintain its status as a valid measurement for critical parts of the product or service.
Care of the equipment is essential. I have found delicate instruments pushed into drawers and covered with dust. Assessors will check that:
- The equipment carries stickers showing the date of calibration and the stamp of the accredited agency’s representative responsible for the calibration.
- Equipment is suitably protected commensurate with its fragility.
- An ISO label (sticker) or other applicable verification is attached to the equipment in addition to the calibration status label.
- The applicable certificate with current status is issued at the time of calibration.
- The certificate shows the dates within which the calibration is valid.
If your employees are using their own inspection, measuring and test equipment for verifying the accuracy of items, processes or conditions in the quality system make sure it is included in the IM&TE maintenance schedule.
If the owner of the equipment leaves the company or is assigned to duties where use of his or her equipment is not required, remove the equipment from the IMTE list. If it is passed to another employee who uses it for the same purpose, or another quality-critical measurement, its status must be maintained on the list.
Equipment which has missed the scheduled calibration date must be labelled ‘DO NOT USE FOR CODE WORK’ or similar warning, and segregated until its calibration accuracy is restored or it is removed from use.
See also procedures available to registered subscribers at www.qualidoc.co.uk