Today’s blog article is driven by a visit to one of our customer sites yesterday to conduct a calibration on the equipment in the MOT bay.
Having arrived on site to do the work, our engineer was told that the calibration had already been conducted that morning by a local calibration agent. This for us is not a problem – customers have the right to select who they want to conduct works on their premises – however we always do insist (in-line with the DVSA regulations) that the calibration should be conducted as per the manual issued to the Garage Equipment Association.
It was quickly apparent in this instance that had not been the case.
The reason for being able to so quickly identify the problem is that the use of dynamic response code systems to unlock calibration menus have been present in some products since 2005. Simply by checking with the office it was possible to immediately identify that this brake tester had not been unlocked to allow a calibration to be conducted.
Our engineer then contacted the independent agent direct to ascertain how he had conducted his calibration.
The independents explanation was that he had put a weight had been put onto the torque arm and the display was used to judge if the unit was measuring weight correctly.
This does not constitute a calibration!
The very nature of a display is that the value shown on it must, to a certain extent, be interpreted as each LED signifies 5Kgf making it impossible to see the exact value being represented on the display.
Only by hooking the brake tester up to a laptop and then entering the calibration menu is is possible to firstly assess the accuracy of the measurement to allow adjustments to be made to the brake tester such that it is truly “calibrated”.
The sad thing in this situation concerns the regulations. By unknowingly believing that the unit had been calibrated, and having paid for such a service, the Authorised Examiner has left themselves wide open to non-conformance to the scheme (it remains the AE’s responsibility to ensure that all the equipment is calibrated correctly) – the independent agent has essentially “got away with it” or in this case “nearly got away with it” – as we took the original calibration record with us as evidence!