Pipette Calibration Proficiency Testing

Companies performing ISO/IEC Certified pipette calibration service are required to prove their laboratories competence through Proficiency Testing for the entire scope.  This test is usually performed by multiple laboratories, with the results of each laboratory compared to one another.  For pipette calibration service and calibration service in general, the proficiency testing ensures proper pipette technique and accurate dispensing.

ECS Metrology has completed their proficiency testing via NAPT, the National Association for Proficiency Testing with a high quality score. This score has provided our customers and clients the trust they need when selecting their calibration company. To view our scores you can visit our website and email us with your question.

Given our score quality, ECS Metrology is capable of calibrating pipettes at .5 uL using a 5 place balance.  Our pipette uncertainties have been reduced to ensure we are within NAPT’s requirements. Our certificate of calibration has been edited to include this measurement with real time calculations.

The Scope of Accreditation will be expanded to include Balances, and ECS will be required to participate in Balance Proficiency Testing.  This is expected to occur in the summer of 2018. Fingers crossed our balance score is just as good if not better than our pipette calibration service score.

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Centrifuge Calibration Services by Rotational and Thermal measurement.

Is your laboratory centrifuge working correctly?  Most technicians and laboratory personnel would look at their centrifuge and see the internal apparatus spinning, falsely assuming the device is in perfect condition. The dial reads 5000 RPM and temperature indicator reads 37 degrees Celsius, so everything must be fine.  Not exactly.  Centrifuges rotation can vary greatly while temperature tends to be lower during rotation.  The only acceptable way to calibrate and validate a centrifuge is by employing external rotational measurement devices.  These devices, known as tachometers, use laser reflection to accurately and consistently measure rotation. Centrifuge calibration services are not all the same. When choosing a service provide or calibration company, like ECS Metrology, ensure the calibration service includes linear checks. Centrifuges should be validated against the entire operable range of the device, from 10 RPM to over 50000 RPM.  Temperature should be measured during the rotation and when the rotation has ceased to ensure consistent results during operation.  Before a calibration company performs the centrifuge calibration service, the company should apply the necessary lubricants to all rotational parts. Service should include preventative maintenance on gaskets, locking mechanism, centrifuge bolts and viewing window.  Cleaning of the external and internal parts with a noncorrosive solution is to be performed after the preventive maintenance.  Following these steps will ensure your device is working correctly and extend your devices life.  For service, you can visit our site at www.ecs-metrology.com

 

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Audit

ECS Metrology, LLC has completed their first ISO/IEC 17025:2005 audit with a scope covering single channel pipettes, multi-channel pipettes, fixed pipette, class 1-4 balances and bench top scales. Along with ISO 17025, ECS will be certified to ISO:9001 standards; a standard that outlines ECS Metrology’s dedication to yearly management and technical reviews.

Our pipette calibration scope, found here, will cover liquid handlers from .5 ul to well over 10000 ul and include both “as-found” and “as-left” data collection.  Along with ECS procedures and ISO 8655 guidelines, ECS will calibrate and service pipettes 5 times at 3 volumes. This Level 3 service will be ISO certified by PJLA. Our extensive calibration procedures and intensive technical system has allowed ECS to perform 5 measurements versus the standard 10 measurement system.  To provide this pipette service, ECS performed validation testing on 5 readings and compared this EN values with 10 readings. Along with internal validation, ECS Metrology was capable of producing interlaboratory comparison pipette values near the top of the study group. The subsequent analysis showed ECS procedures and pipette calibration services to be validated against independent reference values.

Our balance calibration scope will cover balances with divisions as low as 100,000 d.  This 6-place balance calibration service will provide customers with ISO certified calibration certificates, referencing our calibration uncertainty. These uncertainty values are traceable to NIST through the utilization of Class 1 weights and measures. Balances and scales greater than 500 grams will be referenced to NIST Class F weights and measures. Through NIST Class F weights, calculated uncertainties will be greater than that of Class 1 weights.  At first, this may seem unsatisfactory. Upon further review, it becomes clear this is not necessary a detriment to the calibration process. NIST Class F weights are used for balances with a high nominal value and lower resolution. Thus, for low resolution, uncertainties of lower class weights do not have an effect of the viability of the calibration.

ISO accreditation is a time consuming, work filled endeavor. ECS has been working and waiting for pipette and balance accreditation for 9 months. The paperwork alone is enough to make an organization want to quit.  ECS has persevered and made it through the pipette audit, and now we wait.  Expected accreditation date: End of September. Soon we will post our certificate on our website and hang our certificate in our office; but for now, we are back to waiting.

 

Pipette Calibration for the ISO/IEC 17025 Compliant Laboratory

ISO/IEC 17025 is the gold standard for the calibration industry, specifically the pipette calibration service industry. But what does this standard actually cover?  Many questions are asked regarding this standard and many answers are given. Like many things, the answer isn’t as in depth as you may think.

Pipette calibration services vary from company to company and laboratory to laboratory. You may ask yourself: does my laboratory need 3 pipette readings? or 10 pipette readings? How many different calibration points are sufficient?  Do we need uncertainties? If so, are real-time uncertainties required? With so many different pipettes on the market and even more pipette calibration methods, you may not know where to start.  Here is a quick, ISO answer: It is you decision.  Yes.  It is you decision on the level of service you would prefer.  It is your decision on the calibration interval, pipette calibration method, calibration points, calibration company and location (on-site or off-site). As long as the company can supply evidence to the customer of the companies ability to perform compliant calibration, you laboratory will be compliant with GLP, GMP, ISO and FDA standards and procedures.

Selecting a company to perform calibrations can be burdensome.  When selecting a pipette calibration service, ensure the company uses: ASTM NIST traceable weights, 5 place balances for 10 ul pipettes, humidity traps and validated methods and procedures.  If reports are needed, ensure the company reports include the following: Methods, z-factor adjustment, pass/fail criteria, technician signature or initials, a statement of calibration and all pipette information (serial number, manufacturer, etc). Ensure the company can calibrate all types of pipettes such as: electronic, positive displacement and repeater pipettes. For a full list of pipette types and service types, you can visit www.ecs-metrology.com.

Laboratories and their manages who follow the above recommendations can rest easy and be sure they are ISO complaint.  Pipette calibration should be the least of your worries, focusing your energy for the real reason you work in the biotech or health industry; research and improvement