Field calibration tools deliver efficiency

As plants strive for improved process quality and efficiency, ensuring these signals and variables are accurate is increasingly important.

12/15/2007


As plants strive for improved process quality and efficiency, ensuring these signals and variables are accurate is increasingly important. Critical devices are routinely calibrated at prescribed intervals. Technicians often call these activities “ISO” calibrations, referring to the ISO9000 standard that drives many calibration programs. Safety instrument and shutdown systems also require periodic testing and verification.

Process technicians primarily calibrate field instrumentation in place. Modern handheld tools offer accuracies approaching that of bench equipment. Not only can technicians calibrate devices in their operating environment, they save removing/reinstalling the devices and lugging them back to the shop.

With field calibration on the rise, technicians have adopted field calibrators as their tool of choice. The preferred versions combine basic multimeter functions; pressure measurement; a 24-Vdc loop power supply; and the ability to source or simulate 4-20 mA, voltage, thermocouple, RTD and frequency signals. Recent models can also document field calibrations, automatically capture results in the field, upload them to a PC and store them in calibration management software.

As these tools become more powerful, they empower users and ultimately make them more efficient. Technicians don’t need to return to the shop for extra tools, don’t need to take cumbersome bench test equipment into the field or carry a collection of single-function test apparatus. These calibrators are personal tools that create a new breed of high-powered field technicians.


Author Information

Jim Shields is a senior technical support specialist and product manager for the process calibration group for the Fluke Corp. He has worked in the field of electrical, temperature and pressure measurement for more than 25 years. Shields can be reached at (425) 446-5315 or jim.shields@fluke.com .




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