Equipment calibration options (c/s/c/m)

Equipment calibration options (c/s/c/m)

Equipment procedures (Calibration/Standardization/Checks/Maintenance) (c/s/c/m) are arguably the most time-consuming and detailed part of any quality manual.

If your lab has 125 pieces of equipment you can easily perform 250 or more procedures on an annual basis. This is one area where we get the most questions on how to manage and create procedure forms, perform in-house procedures and calibration reports from an outside service. So let’s jump in and address these questions and more.

Equipment procedure forms

The information required on equipment procedure forms can be found in sections 6.5.11 through of AASHTO R18. It is important to review test standards as they may change on an annual basis, which can also involve changes to procedure forms.

Changing and adding procedures in the R18LabQMS application is easy to do. The options are: 

1) Adding an existing procedure

Add a procedure already created without making any changes to the procedure information. Use this option when you are trying to use the same procedure for the same or similar pieces of equipment like ovens or thermometers.

2) Copy an existing procedure

Make a copy of a procedure that will be like the original but may have a different frequency or specification requirements other than the original procedure. This is useful when you have a piece of equipment that requires two different calibrations with differing frequencies or calibration requirements.

3) Create a new procedure

Create a new procedure from one of the procedure types – calibration, standardization, check or maintenance. Make the procedure unique or generic by utilizing the application form creator or uploading an in-house procedure already being used in your laboratory.

Outside calibration vs. in-house procedures

Most laboratories use a combination of outside calibration services and in-house procedures. With outside calibration services becoming more costly, laboratories are looking to expand their in-house calibration activities. Let’s look at the pros and cons.

Outside calibration service


  • Having a professional take care of all calibration services is efficient and saves time by not having to deal with the actual calibration itself and knowing all the details and processes.
  • The calibration service provides detailed calibration reports.
  • Pros are required to use measurement standards (non-working equipment.)


  • Cost
  • Scheduling
  • Availability and finding the right service locally
  • Making sure they adhere to specific standards and requirements

In-house calibrations performed by lab staff


  • More cost effective
  • Work around the laboratories schedule throughout the year
  • Ability to customize final calibration reports


  • Non-productive time spent for laboratory staff
  • Need to prepare all final procedure reports
  • Maintain measurement standards that need to be stored and maintained in a non-working environment. 

Choosing the best option is different for each laboratory. My take on this is that the decision should not be made on cost alone, but efficiency. In our case, over half of all equipment procedures are performed by more than one outside calibration service.  For us, it is both cost-effective and efficient. 

Version 2.2.1 launch

Senior Technician Role: allows the senior technician to navigate through the equipment inventory, including adding and editing equipment inventory and procedures.

User question

Q: I was going through the setup process, then clicked “Save Progress and Exit Setup” it took me to the dashboard view, and I was unable to get back to the setup process. Can you reset my account? Please help! 

A:  Not to worry! However, once you click “Save Progress and Exit Setup” you can’t go back through that process. This is the message you will see when attempting to exit the setup process:

Warning: If you exit the setup process via this link, you will not be able to return to Lab Setup. However, each section can be completed later in the Quality Manual section of the application. Are you sure you would like to exit Lab Setup?

If your primary lab already has a complete QMS, you can copy it to your satellite lab at this time. Would you like to do this?

After you are in the dashboard view (default when logging in), there is a ‘QM completion’ widget that displays the percentage complete, also indicating the number of incomplete sections that you can click to complete.

Resources and training opportunities

Once you work through the setup process, the following links can be found in the lower right-hand corner of the application;

  • Support
  • R18 Blog
  • Virtual Training (1 hour or less, no fees), contact us for an appointment
  • Extensive Virtual Training – Fee-based, please inquire.
  • 1 Full Day in your lab onsite – Fee-based, please inquire.

Upcoming meetings

All travel to industry meetings will be assessed on their scheduled dates, 2022 is looking good! 

  • 2022 AASHTO re:source Technical Exchange, March 28-31, 2022

Please check out our most recent promotional R18LabQMS video.

For all questions regarding your quality management system, whether your lab is accredited or not, please contact us and learn how R18LabQMS can add value to your company.

One last favor to ask, if there is a specific topic or discussion you would like to see in upcoming blog entries, please send us a note,

 Gary Irvine
R18LabQMS Program Manager