To Calibrate or Validate?
Calibration and validation are two different processes that are performed to ensure the accuracy and reliability of temperature data loggers used in various applications. While they are related, they serve distinct purposes and involve different procedures. Let's explore the differences:
Calibration of temperature data loggers:
The process of adjusting or verifying the accuracy of a temperature data logger by comparing its measurements against a known reference standard. The purpose of calibration is to determine and correct any systematic errors or deviations in the logger's readings. It involves using a certified and traceable reference thermometer or temperature source to perform a series of measurements at different temperature points.
During calibration, the temperature data logger's readings are compared to the reference standard, and any discrepancies are recorded. If significant deviations are found, adjustments are made to the logger's settings or internal components to bring it back into alignment with the reference standard. Calibration ensures that the data logger provides reliable and accurate temperature measurements throughout its operating range. Temprecord is one of the few data logger companies in the world that builds the calibration corrections into each logger, which means there is no requirement for the user to add a correction formula to the downloaded data, reducing the potential for error or omission altogether. Temprecord also applies the corrections across the entire range not just at the calibration points. Each calibrated logger is then issued with a calibration certificate which can be downloaded from the Temprecord website.
Validation of temperature data loggers, on the other hand, is the process of confirming that a temperature data logger consistently produces accurate and reliable measurements under real-world operating conditions. It involves testing the logger's performance in its intended environment and application to ensure it meets the specific requirements of the process or industry.
Validation of data loggers typically includes several steps:
Installation Qualification (IQ): This step ensures that the temperature data logger is installed correctly so that it meets all the required specifications and regulations.
Operational Qualification (OQ): During OQ, the logger's functionality and performance are tested by simulating various temperature conditions while comparing the recorded data against predefined acceptance criteria.
Performance Qualification (PQ): In PQ, the temperature data logger is used in its intended application for an extended period to demonstrate its consistent performance and reliability. The data collected during this phase is reviewed to ensure the logger meets all necessary criteria.
Validation is crucial in industries where temperature control is critical, such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, food storage, and transportation of temperature-sensitive goods.
Validation of hardware and software:
Not only do the data loggers themselves have to be accurate but also the software which is accessing the data. Validation of the software which is used to evaluate the recorded data is crucial. All Temprecord hardware is thoroughly tested to the high standards demanded by our ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. The processes also require the manufacturing and laboratory staff to be trained and approved to the same high standards, becoming approved signatories. All the software applications which Temprecord supplies, are validated.
In summary, calibration ensures the accuracy of a temperature data logger by comparing it to a traceable reference standard, while validation verifies its performance under real-world conditions and confirms its suitability for a specific application or industry. Both processes are essential to maintain the quality and reliability of temperature measurements throughout the data logger's lifespan.