Accurate verification and readability of barcodes is essential in avoiding fines, rejects, noncompliance, and other errors that could result in lost productivity and profits. With so much on the line, how can you ensure that your verifier complies with GS1, ISO, and IEC standards? Cue the Calibration Card.
What Is Calibration?
Calibration in measurement technology and metrology is the comparison of measurement values delivered by a device under test with those of a calibration standard of known accuracy. Such a standard could be another measurement device of known accuracy, a device generating the quantity to be measured. The outcome of the comparison can result in:
- No significant error being noted on the device under test
- A significant error being noted but not adjustment made
- An adjustment made to correct the error to an acceptable level.
Strictly speaking, the term calibration means just the act of comparison, and does not include any subsequent adjustment.
What Is a Calibration Card?
A calibration card is a test card printed with blemishes and defective symbols to test your verifier. It is engineered to challenge your verifier’s conformance to various standards. Your verifier’s results must match the documented flaws on the card within a specific tolerance in order to demonstrate compliance. Barcode verification systems are designed to identify all common readability issues, but also to grade codes against specific thresholds of acceptable quality for each readability parameter. A calibration card determines whether your barcode verification system is either compliant or non-compliant.
All of the certification documents are included with the card including the Calibration Certificate
Why Calibration Cards Are Important
Calibration cards are necessary to certify that your verification system conforms with specific standards, qualifying it to verify symbols in your application. All calibration cards are created in a rigorously controlled environment, and the calibration cards are themselves verified to ISO/IEC standards by a master verifier. Without a valid calibration card, your verification system could be out of compliance, creating rejects, errors, brand degradation, and other costly failures.
It is important to calibrate the system over a period of time. This feature sets up the desired number of days between system calibration. When the period of time has been reached, the software will not allow you to continue until calibration has been completed.
The frequency will be determined by Customers on how often they calibrate, however, when an agreed time for calibration is determined, the administrator will enter the value EX: Every 30 days in the field for days before calibration needed on the setup tab. Once populated, the software will notify operators when calibration is due, and will not allow them to proceed until a valid calibration has been performed.
There are situations that you may want to perform a calibration on the system other than the standard days before calibration which may include:
- A new instrument
- After an instrument has been repaired or modified
- When a specified time period has elapsed
- When a specified usage (operating hours) has elapsed
- After an event, for example
- After an instrument has been exposed to a shock, vibration, or physical damage, which might potentially have compromised the integrity of its calibration
- Whenever observations appear questionable or instrument indications do not match the output of surrogate instruments
- As specified by a requirement, e.g., customer specification, instrument manufacturer recommendation.
In general use, calibration is often regarded as including the process of adjusting the output or indication on a measurement instrument to agree with value of the applied standard, within a specified accuracy.
All LVS-95XX systems must use the calibration card and installation flash drive issued with the system. The LVS-95XX system, calibration card and installation flash drive use the same serial number and must be used in conjunction with each other to obtain correct calibration results. Failure to use the calibration card and installation flash drive issued with the system will result in incorrect calibration results.
Do Calibration Cards Expire?
Yes, they do! A calibration card is certified for two years after its first use or 30 months after its first calibration. Documentation highlighting the calibration card expiration date is provided upon receipt of the card. So, for example, if you received your calibration card in November 2014, your card is now expired or about to expire.
If you’re not sure if your calibration card has expired or you need to order a new one, contact Microscan’s Calibration Card expert for more information.