What is calibration?

According to ISA’s The Automation, Systems, and Instrumentation Dictionary, the word calibration is defined as “a test during which known values of measurand are applied to the transducer and corresponding output readings are recorded under specified conditions.”

calibration is a comparison of measuring equipment against a standard instrument of higher accuracy to detect, correlate, adjust, rectify and document the accuracy of the instrument being compared.

Typically, calibration of an instrument is checked at several points throughout the calibration range of the instrument. The calibration range is defined as “the region between the limits within which a quantity is measured, received or transmitted, expressed by stating the lower and upper range values.” The limits are defined by the zero and span values.

The zero value is the lower end of the range. Span is defined as the algebraic difference between the upper and lower range values. The calibration range may differ from the instrument range, which refers to the capability of the instrument. For example, an electronic pressure transmitter may have a nameplate instrument range of 0–750 pounds per square inch, gauge (psig) and output of 4-to-20 milliamps (mA). However, the engineer has determined the instrument will be calibrated for 0-to-300 psig = 4-to-20 mA. Therefore, the calibration range would be specified as

0-to-300 psig = 4-to-20 mA. In this example, the zero input value is 0 psig and zero output value is 4 mA. The input span is 300 psig and the output span is 16 mA. Different terms may be used at your facility. Just be careful not to confuse the range the instrument is capable of with the range for which the instrument has been calibrated.


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