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How calibration and calibration software contribute to sustainability

Calibration and calibration software may not be the first things you think of when you think of sustainability. Yet they are certainly topics that can play an important role in making business processes more sustainable. Read on to find out how regular calibration and calibration software can help you make your company more sustainable.

Calibration software

Calibration and calibration software may not be the first things you think of when you think of sustainability. Yet they are certainly topics that can play an important role in making business processes more sustainable. Read on to find out how regular calibration and calibration software can help you make your company more sustainable.

Three pillars of sustainability

When the word sustainability is mentioned, the first thing that often comes to mind is the environment, but there is more to it than that. To determine the extent to which a company is sustainable, three different aspects are considered. In addition to environmental aspects, these are social and economic aspects. These three pillars are often referred to as the three Ps: People, Planet, and Profit. 

Social sustainability (the P of People)

Social sustainability includes everything that directly affects people. For example, a sustainable company must take care of its employees by providing reasonable working hours and fair pay, as well as a pleasant and safe working environment.

Sustainability and the environment (the P of Planet)

A sustainable business takes into account the environment-related consequences of its operations. This can be done by, among other things, using and making recyclable products, not emitting harmful substances (such as toxic substances or greenhouse gases), and achieving the lowest possible energy consumption. 

Economically sustainable (the P of Profit)

A company must generate enough profit to cover all costs and pay its employees and shareholders. A company that does not meet these requirements will ultimately not survive. Profit also influences the feasibility of choices around People and Planet. 

New laws and regulations on sustainability

Sustainability is a hot topic. Although there have been laws for a long time on various topics related to sustainability, there are also major changes in public opinion when it comes to climate change and sustainability. Sustainability is also an increasingly non-committal issue for companies. A few examples:

•      European legislation (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) requires companies to report on the effects of their activities on society and the environment. Board, management and regulators must actively and demonstrably take collective responsibility for sustainability reporting.  Accountants must audit the information provided by companies to increase its reliability. Initially, this will only concern large listed companies, insurers and banks, but this will be extended to smaller companies, such as those with more than 250 employees.

•      The Paris climate agreement ultimately leads to countries drafting laws at the national level that regulate how much CO2 reduction companies must achieve. Companies must then demonstrate how these requirements are met.

These are just 2 examples showing that companies must do more and more for sustainability and that this also involves an obligation to provide demonstrable data.

The role of calibration and calibration software 

Many business processes involve measurements. In some cases the measurements are only used to monitor data and in other cases to control processes. For example, the temperature can be measured alone, but the same temperature measurement can also be linked to a heating system that automatically switches on when the temperature drops below a certain value. This then involves the use of measuring devices and sensors.

Below are some practical business situations where measuring equipment is used:

•      In a cleanroom of a manufacturer of high-tech equipment, it is ensured that the temperature and overpressure in this room is stable. The climate system is controlled with pressure and temperature sensors;

•      A refinery has permanent pressure monitoring in the plant. If the pressure rises too high, the process is stopped or a safety valve is opened;

•      A manufacturing company uses compressed air to drive a production line. The compressed air compressor ensures that the pressure does not fall below 8 bar;

•      A dairy producer measures the acidity of the product to ensure food safety;

•      A garage mechanic uses a torque wrench to make sure that the wheel nuts are tightened hard enough and thus the wheels stay tight.

The sensors and measuring devices used for this purpose must be sufficiently accurate to work properly. 

By calibrating regularly, you assure yourself that the measurements are still accurate. Accuracy is necessary to operate reliably.

If you keep good calibration records, you also make it demonstrable that the calibrations have been carried out and the measurement data are correct. In addition, a good administration helps to organize and perform the calibrations.

Many measurements are directly or indirectly related to sustainability. For each of the above examples, a (in)direct link to sustainability is present:

•      The climate control system for conditioning a cleanroom consumes energy. If air filters become clogged, energy consumption goes up. If the pressure drop over the filters is monitored, the filters can be replaced in time (if they become clogged). This will prevent unnecessary energy consumption. Of course, the same applies to heating or cooling the room. If the desired temperature is set one degree higher or lower, this has a direct effect on the energy consumption. This in turn has an effect on the environment (Planet) and also on costs (Profit). 

•      If the pressure in the safety installation of a refinery is not measured properly, an unsafe situation can arise, in which in an extreme case many harmful substances are released. If the safety valve opens too late or not at all, the installation can malfunction; if it opens too early, the process is unnecessarily disrupted. In both cases this has a direct impact on both a safe working environment (People), the environment (Planet) and efficiency (Profit).

•      The pressure in a compressed air line is generated by a compressor. The higher the pressure to be generated, the more often the compressor will turn on and the higher the energy consumption of the compressor. In this case, this has a direct impact on the environment (Planet).

•      If the acidity level is not right, people can get sick by eating a spoiled or contaminated product. Thus, these measurements of acidity directly affect food safety and the well-being of people (People). 

•      If the garage mechanic's torque wrench does not work properly, the wheel bolts may come loose or be overtightened. This of course affects safety (People) and certainly if a claim is made also affects finances (Profit). 

Now for all the examples above, ask yourself: what would be the impact of a measurement if it deviated 1%, 5% or 10%? In some cases the impact is nil, but in others it means an immediate increase in the energy bill, a number of unwanted stops (breakdowns) or even an unsafe situation. By calibrating regularly, you can be sure that the measurements are accurate enough. This therefore has a (in)direct impact on the sustainability of your company. 

Calibration software is an auxiliary tool for performing and documenting calibrations. As mentioned earlier, there is an increasing demand for demonstrating the reliability of measurement data. An important way to support this reliability is an up-to-date and accurate calibration file. Keeping up such a record can be very laborious and costly. In addition, calibration technicians are by nature often very strong in technique, but keeping the records is usually experienced as a burden and this is sometimes reflected in the quality, but this does not have to be! By using calibration software, record keeping becomes more efficient and easier. In short, it saves time and money and increases quality.

Calibration software AutoCal+

AutoCal+ is a modern and brand independent calibration software package. AutoCal+ works in the cloud, so you can view your calibration file and perform calibrations at any time and from any location. In your database all your instruments to be calibrated are clearly displayed. Besides the standard data, you can also save and use the desired accuracy, the calibration interval and the calibration protocol. During the calibration the measurement data is saved directly and after the calibration all data is updated immediately and the administration is complete. Optionally, you can have this information synchronized in the background with other software packages, such as an asset management system, via an API.

AutoCal+ makes calibration easier, increases the quality of calibration and reduces the administrative burden. By keeping a well-documented calibration record, you can prove that your measurement data is reliable, which in turn is important for sustainability.

Want to know more about AutoCal+? Request a free demo or start a trial.

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