Routine testing of laboratory balances by the user is essential to uncover malfunctions early and eliminate inaccuracies that would otherwise go undetected until your next service calibration. More and more laboratories are realizing that it is both less expensive and more efficient to build quality into laboratory results from the start, rather than discovering problems later on.
The 4 pillars of routine balance testing
Our short guide explains the four pillars of successful balance testing:
- Testing frequency
- Test methods and SOPs
- Test weights
- User training
The guide provides easy-to-follow material which outlines how often to test, how to test and which weights to use to ensure proper balance function. Furthermore, links to helpful tools and complementary information are provided.
Put routine balance testing into practice!
It pays off to build quality into laboratory results from the start, rather than discovering problems later on. Put routine balance testing into practice and ensure your weighing results are accurate each and every day.
Why is routine testing of laboratory balances so important?
Balances play a critical role in research, development, quality assurance and production. However, errors in weight measurements cost time and money, and violations of legal requirements may even cause damage to health and/or the environment. Maintaining and ensuring the performance of a device and reducing the risk of its being outside process tolerances requires the correct setup of the instrument and regular calibration by the service provider. Between service intervals, the user should perform regular routine tests to uncover malfunctions early and eliminate surprises at the next calibration service.
In many cases, defining routine test frequencies, adequate procedures and proper staff training can be a challenging and time consuming task, tying up valuable resources.
How to make sure you're not testing too often or too little?
Daily routine testing of laboratory balances at multiple points in the operating weighing range can take a great deal of time and effort, and may not even provide any meaningful metrological information. The recommended frequency of routine testing for any given balance depends on the risk and consequences of inaccurate results for the business, and/or health risks for users, combined with the ability to trace back errors. The risk of inaccurate results can be assessed by answering the following questions:
- Business impact: What is the impact of wrong or inaccurate weighing results on your business process? Consider loss of material and time, out of specification results, rework, production downtime, fines, product recalls, unhappy customers, loss of reputation, etc.
- Consumer impact: What is the impact of wrong or inaccurate weighing results on people, animals or the environment?
- Probability of detection: Is there a chance of detecting a wrong or inaccurate weighing result immediately and easily?
Discover in the guide what is really essential for testing your laboratory balance and get tips on designing test frequencies that are reasonable and appropriate.
Test methods, warning and control limits
Routine tests may include sensitivity, repeatability and eccentricity tests using appropriate calibrated test weights. Tolerances or warning and control limits depend on the weighing tolerance for the process in question. Warning limits indicate when a device is nearing an out-of-specification condition. Control limits alert you when the device is no longer deemed fit for purpose.
Routine testing of lab balances between scheduled calibrations helps to maintain accuracy by ensuring early detection of non-compliance with weighing process requirements so that corrective action can be taken in a timely manner.