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SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENT CENTER : Lab Calibrations -vs- Field Calibrations

07 June 2022

SIC Laboratory Equipment Repair

Is field calibration as accurate as lab calibrations?  Field services are performed at a location chosen by the customer, which is remote from the calibration service provider’s facility.  Field calibration services or on-site services are often performed at the customer’s place of business.  But may be required at a job site or another facility.   Depending on your service’s needs, field calibration may be your most convenient option for one or more reasons.  Even with all the benefits of field calibrations, it is not the answer for everyone.


When it is preferable to have instrumentation calibrated in your lab that is already set up for services, here are some reasons for workshop calibrations:

  1. Safety – For safety measures that might call for things such as thermal or electrical current overloads, a lab with sufficient built-in safety equipment and procedures can be the safest method of performing calibrations.
  2. Best Possible uncertainty – In instances when your requirements call for best possible uncertainty, it is most easily achieved with stationary calibration equipment that is found in a lab.

While a lab’s fixed environment can be an advantage, it can also be a disadvantage to some clients. For example, clients that can’t ship their equipment out to a laboratory or don’t want to uninstall their entire total loop system will often avoid lab calibration. Additionally, lab services can sometimes take a little bit longer, so companies needing tight turnaround times may want to stick to field services.


Once you have established that you can fully trust a mobile calibration service, the primary reasons for going this route would have to do with installation and productivity of the instrumentation in questions.   Some reasons for employing field calibration services would be:

  1. Security – In order to prevent sensitive instrumentation from leaving a facility, field calibration is an option many choose for the added security it ensures.
  2. Field Conditions – When equipment cannot be removed or needs to be calibrated under operating field conditions, then field calibration is the best choice.
  3. Total Loop – To calibrate a measurement loop in its entirety, from sensor points to displays in a control room, field calibration is often the only viable method of calibrating the whole system without having to uninstall it.
  4. Affordability – Field calibration services are affordably priced to match same day service fees, which allows customers to eliminate all costs associated with shipping and handling.
  5. Productivity – Without having to uninstall, pack and ship instrumentation, field calibrations support the uptime and productivity of the applications the given instrumentation is used in.

While there are many advantages to field calibration, one of the major disadvantages is a potential lack of control over the environment. For example, you might not be able to properly control the temperature and humidity of the room where the equipment is, which can be an issue for sensitive devices. If your equipment performs in harsh or challenging environments, you’ll likely want to ship it to a calibration lab instead.

Keeping your lab equipment in peak condition is vital if the results are going to be accurate and reliable.   Scientific Instrument Center (SIC) is your trusted company for laboratory equipment repair and maintenance services.  If you have questions about your laboratory equipment and would like to discuss options for repairing or maintaining the equipment, please contact us at (614) 771-4700.

Our skilled staff members understand the nuances of instrument calibration and the manufacturers train our technicians, so any inspections we make mean your equipment is to quality standards.   For more than 30 years, SIC has served businesses that use a wide variety of diagnostic and scientific equipment.  We are specialists.

Get a free consultation.  Call (800) 686-8965