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What does NIST traceability mean?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is the legally established National Standards Laboratory in the United States. As such, NIST has the responsibility “to develop, maintain and retain custody of the national standards of measurement, and to provide the means and methods for making measurements consistent with those standards; to assure the compatibility of United States national measurement standards with those standards; and to assure the compatibility of United States national measurement standards with those of other nations” [15 U.S.C. 271]. NIST ensures the U.S. national standards are accurate realizations of the seven base units of the SI.

Fundamental to a NIST traceable calibration, is thorough documentation of the measurement process used to establish the series of calibrations that successively link to the specified reference standard. NIST is responsible only for documenting traceability for its reference standards and the instruments it directly measures. Documenting NIST traceable calibrations in the commercial environment is the sole responsibility of the lab performing the calibration work.

Except for standards that are calibrated internationally, Tektronix calibrations completed in the United States are NIST traceable. Calibrations completed outside of the united states are traceable to the appropriate national metrology institute.

Read more about the NIST Policy on Traceability


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Metrological Traceability

Metrological traceability refers to the measurement result which can be related through an unbroken chain of calibrations, including measurement uncertainty determination, to specified references. It is a basic assurance that a relationship exists between the measurement results of a measurement instrument and the value of a measurement standard. Tektronix standards are traceable directly to the International System of Measurements (SI), which is the most widely used international system of measurement responsible for defining the meter, kilogram, second, ampere, kelvin, mole, and candela.

NIST Calibration

How Traceability Impacts Global Markets

Traceability of measurement results to the SI makes it possible to achieve the accuracy, precision and interchangeability required for global trade markets. To deliver truly standardized components, industry depends upon reliable and consistent measurements that are traceable to a recognized measurement system such as the International System of Units.

ISO Compliance

Traceability is particularly important to companies that must comply with or follow the requirements of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard(s). ISO requirements often require that test, measurement and control equipment be traceable to recognized national or international standards. Other organizations may voluntarily follow the requirements of ISO so that they can claim ISO compliance for their product. This compliance is normally an indication of an organization’s commitment to service and/or quality.


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