When it comes to GSE maintenance the unexpected is never welcome, which is why aircraft tool calibration is critical to this industry. Choosing the right aircraft tool calibration and repair service provider is crucial, and not always easy. There are a few different paths you can take to ensure you’re tools are always accurate; some companies will send their equipment back the manufacturer for calibration, some rely on a third party calibration lab, while others try and set themselves up for internal calibration (although with strict regulations in the aerospace industry this is not common). Each of these tactics comes with their own set of pros and cons.
Below are 9 things to remember when choosing your aircraft tool calibration lab:
1. Many manufacturers do not offer calibration due to a lack of space or service capability.
2. The cost of having a manufacturer calibrate your instruments will usually be significantly higher than using a third party calibration lab. If you have a number of pieces that require regular calibration, cost becomes a huge factor in your decision.
3. Manufacturers who can calibrate your equipment tend to have longer turnaround times than third parties due to the volume of work or shipping delays.
4. Many equipment OEM’s cannot provide NIST traceable or accredited calibration services after market. If you operate in an industry with stringent regulations, such as aerospace, is it important to check with your test equipment calibration provider, OEM or third party, about their ability to provide such documentation.
5. Look for one provider who can do a majority of your work. This can cut down on expenses, confusion, and streamline the process if you can bring them on-site to do all of your work or ship multiple items to the lab.
6. Is the lab capable of providing you with a calibration that will meet all your requirements?
7. Is the lab (or labs) you are considering accredited? if they say they are “pursuing accreditation” check and see how long they have been doing so. Many labs will say that and then, a number of years later, they are still pursuing it.
8. What is the turnover ratio of the lab(s) you are considering? Does that fit into your timetable?
9. Is on-site calibration offered? Many companies with a large amount of calibration to be done find that on-site calibration is much more efficient and cost effective than shipping equipment and waiting for it to come back.
There is much more to be considered when you choose among the many aerospace calibration services, but the above is enough to get you thinking and headed in the direction right for your company. The most important take away from this article is to ensure your provider is an accredited lab with all of the certifications, standards, and documentation you need for continued success.