Key Considerations When Selecting a Tool Calibration Software Solution

July 31, 2020

Today, many companies manage their calibration records with an Excel file or Access database file. While these homegrown systems can be effective at maintaining calibration records, they miss out on several benefits that Tool Calibration Software solutions provide, including but not limited to:

  • Proactive email notifications when tools are approaching their calibration due date
  • The ability to restrict/prevent the usage of tools that are past their calibration due date
  • Integration with inspection software for full measurement traceability
  • Protection from erroneously deleting critical tool records

If these benefits sound attractive, then you might want to conduct an internet search for tool calibration software solutions and see what options are available. Below are some key considerations you should keep in mind in selecting a tool calibration solution for your organization.

Key considerations for tool calibration

Does the solution provide a closed-loop system to ensure measurements are not captured with a tool that is past its calibration due date?

Frequently, tool calibration offerings are standalone solutions without any ability to integrate to your Quality Management System (QMS). If you want to prevent an inspector from capturing a measurement with a tool that is past its calibration due date, then this type of integration is necessary.

With QMS solutions like Net-Inspect, you can require that a tool be selected before any measurements can be entered. When the operator or inspector selects the tool, Net-Inspect cross-checks the tool's calibration record. In addition to ensuring that the tool is not past its calibration due date, Net-Inspect also tracks whether a tool has been indicated as lost or out of service. If the tool is past its calibration due date or out of service, the inspector will be guided to return the tool and select a new tool for data collection.

Does the solution provide the ability to retrieve a list of parts/features/measurements that are associated with a tool over a given time period?

When calibrating tools, you might discover that an active tool has been out of calibration for several months. You will immediately need to identify when and where the tool was used, and the measurement values captured, to determine if there is any risk of a quality escape to your customer or end consumer. If your tool calibration solution is integrated with your QMS solution, you should be able to enter the tool ID and date range, and thereby identify the part numbers, jobs, features, and inspection results taken with that tool. Ideally, the system will let you identify how far outside the manufacturer's specification the tool is so you can compare that value to the results and the features' tolerances. Having access to this data will help you confidently identify whether a quality escape could have occurred.

Digital micrometer tool measuring and calibration

Does the solution provide the ability to check out tools, and does it provide traceability back to the employee or department that checked the tool out and back in?

When it comes time to recall tools for calibration, it is important to know where they are located across the manufacturing facility. You do not want to have critical employees searching for gages in toolboxes, workbenches, and drawers across the entire shop floor. They should instead know exactly where each tool is located based on who it was checked out to, or whether the tool was not checked out at all and is still in the lab. We have found that knowing who checked a tool out from and into the tool storage area greatly reduces time spent looking for tools and prevents them from being lost in the first place.

Does the solution allow for unlimited users and provide granular access permissions?

Frequently, tool calibration solutions are licensed on a per-user or concurrent user basis. However, a solution that allows any number of users to calibrate or check out tools is far more efficient. Whether for auditing purposes or to allow management oversight, it's also helpful to let many employees retrieve tool calibration records and (for example) confirm that tools are being calibrated on schedule, or identify the total value of lost tools. Net-Inspect's tool calibration solution always allows for unlimited users and provides granular access control permissions, so you can designate which users can add/modify tool records, which users can record calibration results, and which users can only view calibration records.

3D coordinate tool measuring and calibration

Does the solution provide email notifications for tools that are due for calibration?

Some companies have a full-time employee dedicated to tool calibration that logs in daily and takes accountability for ensuring all tools are properly tracked, and are pulled off the floor and calibrated according to their calibration schedules. However, this is not the case for every facility, and email notifications can help provide the visibility and oversight needed to ensure that tools are being retrieved and calibrated on schedule. Net-Inspect will send notifications to users who opt in to email notices which summarize the tools that are due or past due, as well as their associated details -- where the tools are located, who they are checked out to, etc. Without logging into the system, employees can use this email as their prompt to collect and/or return the tools to the appropriate location. The email will also summarize whether any tools have not been collected and are now past their calibration due date, the issue which presents the greatest risk for an audit finding.

We know you have many choices available when it comes to tool calibration and hope the information above will help you evaluate and weigh your options. If you are interested in seeing a demonstration of Net-Inspect's tool calibration software solution, which fully meets the considerations outlined above, please contact us at [email protected] or +1 425-233-6176. Click the Contact Us button below request a live demo or phone consultation today.