Is It a Calibrator?

We (people actually in the calibration industry) often hear things being called calibrators that obviously aren’t. A great example is the Emerson HART(tm) communicator. No offense intended, but these types of devices aren’t calibrators, they are electronic “screwdrivers” that enable a technician or engineer to adjust the calibration of a device.

Here are my defining points for a calibrator.

  1. Can make a precision measurement or generate a precision signal (i.e., analog, not digital). Or BOTH.
  2. Has a calibration that is traceable to national standards.
  3. Has a known accuracy or degree of calibration uncertainty.

There is a lot that could be added to this list, of course; things such as conformance to international standards, EX ratings…

MC1200 Multifunction CalibratorAnother little list of mine is this list of characteristics that make up a good calibrator.

  • Accuracy
  • Flexibility or versatility
  • Ease of use
  • Reliability
  • Ergonomics (small, lightweight, easy to read display, etc.)
  • Value

To me, a great example of all of the above is the Martel BETA MC-1200 Multi-function Calibrator. It’s got a long list of features, top knotch performance and is a great deal for the money. Total cost of ownership is good because all they ever require is annual recalibration which anyone with a computer and adequate standards can do.