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Standards, Accreditation, and Traceability

Standards are codified requirements for a process such as calibration or compliance. Promulgated by cooperative industry bodies and/or governmental entities, standards are the cornerstone of calibration.

Three key industry standards govern the way calibration is done around the world today:

Every compliant calibration will be accompanied by a calibration certificate and other documentation attesting to the standards that have been followed.

Accreditation

Accreditation is a rigorous certification process that ensures compliance with applicable standards. It enforces traceability and consistency across an entire calibration process. Accreditation is all about the capability and competence of a calibration process, as confirmed by an accreditation body. In the language of standards and metrology, the terms "competent" and "competence" denote the verified ability to carry out calibration procedures in compliance with applicable standards.

An accredited laboratory that performs ISO 17025 calibrations, for example, will have proven facilities and equipment and competent personnel—specific individuals empowered to do the ISO 17025 calibrations. Traceability is a requirement in accreditation.

Tektronix service facilities are ISO 9001-registered and/or ISO17025 accredited. All sites that offer calibration can deliver Z540 traceable calibration (in the U.S.) or the local equivalent.

View Tektronix Laboratory Accreditation Documents

Accreditation Facts

Traceability

Traceability is the thread that connects your calibrated tools to established references and standards. It confirms that your instruments will measure accepted units (whether electronic, optical, or dimensional) to agreed levels of accuracy. Traceability is key to meeting worldwide measurement, trade and regulatory requirements.

Certified measurement products sold by Tektronix are traceable to national metrology institutes and the SI (International System of Units). Tektronix measurement products are shipped with Certificates of Traceable Calibration.

Traceability begins with standards maintained in national metrology institutes as shown in Figure 1. These standards, understood to have the highest accuracy available, are used to calibrate instruments in independent or corporate laboratories. These in turn confer traceability to instruments in calibration departments within individual companies such as Tektronix.

Traceability Facts

View Diagram.
Traceability follows a hierarchy of standards, each referencing the one above it and conferring its traceability to those below it. In this example, two schemes for voltage calibration are shown. The left branch derives some standards from external laboratories.