Should defence companies choose UKAS over traceable calibration services?

When it comes to the choice of calibration service, there are a number of factors that determine what benefits your business most. The level of documentation, service delivery/downtime and measurement precision each have different priorities depending on the business and industry.

For the defence industry, there are clear requirements of precision, quality and reliability for almost all equipment. In light of this, which out of UKAS or traceable calibration is better for defence companies, and why?

Audit trail

Traceable calibration

Standard traceable calibration exhibits an unbroken chain of calibrations that lead back to the highest-level of calibration, often performed in a national calibration centre or equivalent. This provides defence companies with confidence that the testing equipment is compliant with a reference standard. Moreover, it can also be performed onsite as long as proper documentation and process is performed.

UKAS calibration

UKAS calibration shares the same level of traceability in the context of an unbroken chain of calibrations. However, it needs to be performed in an accredited laboratory to ensure the precision and accuracy in a range of complex environments. UKAS outlines levels 1 to 4 of measurement traceability, with 1 representing thorough testing within a laboratory and 4 as a thorough check and inspection.

Service delivery

Traceable calibration

As traceable calibration can be performed on-site, the service delivery time can be relatively short depending on the complexity of the equipment. Many traceable calibration services provide compliant and accurate testing with minimal downtime to maximise productivity.

UKAS calibration

UKAS calibration requires testing within a laboratory environment to ensure an extreme level of precision and accuracy in a range of environments. Because of this, the downtime of equipment can be higher than that of traceable alternatives at the trade off of a higher level of calibration quality.

Critical systems

Traceable calibration

Traceable calibration is suited for non-critical systems. It offers an acceptable level of calibration that can be followed back to an initial reference standard without additional precision. Because of this, it can be performed quickly and efficiently for systems where downtime is more important than precision.

UKAS calibration

UKAS calibration is almost always a requirement for critical systems. This is because calibration is undertaken in a dedicated laboratory, follows a strict set of processes and has thorough documentation. An example of this is the process of measurement uncertainty, where a calibrated device can have a maximum of 5% uncertainty tied to the final measurement.

Which is better for defence companies?

Precision is a requirement for the defence industry, outlined by the UK’s Ministry of Defence standards named DEF STAN. They outline the requirement for quality, reliability and interoperability of military engineering both nationally and internationally. Because of this, UKAS is the calibration option of choice for almost all of their equipment.

UKAS accredited laboratories are compliant with ISO 17025 to set themselves as a market differentiator in terms of attention to detail, quality of calibration and precision for mission critical testing. For defence applications where the smallest inaccuracy can result in critical failure, UKAS calibration provides the level of rigour for companies to be confident in their equipment. The need for precision is always prioritised over service delivery, making UKAS the better choice for defence companies over traceable alternatives.

Choose DM for your calibration services, a long-term partner in the defence industry

It’s no question that UKAS calibration is the method of choice for the mission critical requirements of the defence industry. Accredited laboratories show a proven commitment to precision, accuracy and reliability; all requirements of military equipment.

At DM, we have a long history of working with the defence industry to provide a high standard of calibration and support services. Our solutions are designed to minimise risk at each stage, testing and proving all equipment, functions, and operations before installation commences. Our processes minimise disruption to the platform, and our installation planning builds in flexibility to accommodate changes to ships’ availability quickly and simply.

Our experience and expertise have made us a trusted partner for defence forces worldwide. DM Defence has a proven track record of delivering exceptional communication solutions for some of the most advanced naval vessels, including the Dreadnought Class and the Vanguard Class. This expertise transcends just the defence industry, proving our capability to provide high quality calibration services to a wide range of industries. 

To find out more about our UKAS accredited calibration services and how they can bring precision and reliability to your testing equipment, contact a member of our team today.

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