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.
- Can make a precision measurement or generate a precision signal (i.e., analog, not digital). Or BOTH.
- Has a calibration that is traceable to national standards.
- 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…
- Flexibility or versatility
- Ease of use
- Ergonomics (small, lightweight, easy to read display, etc.)
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.