For the past several decades, Alpha’s not-so secret weapon to providing customers with high-quality equipment service has been our in-house calibration lab.
Located at our head office in Markham, Ont, the lab has been an essential part of the company since Day 1, and has since paced our extraordinary growth over the past several years.
Keeping in mind that our customers might never get a chance to step into the lab, we wanted to pull back the curtain on what happens when their instruments leave their hands, courtesy of a behind-the-scenes tour by Service & QA Coordinator Lauren Lazar.
What we do
Alpha’s calibration lab focuses on six primary disciplines: temperature, humidity, pressure, particles, electrical and flow. (Fun fact #1: Alpha Controls is the only lab in Canada that can offer calibration services for Particle Measuring Systems.) Yet our scope of services can also expand beyond that to include calibration of equipment such as gas analyzers.
Most of the work coming out of the lab these days tends to focus on calibrating temperature equipment, ranging from low-level thermocouples to high-level intelligent RTDs.
It can start one of two ways: either an instrument is shipped to us by the manufacturer for calibration before going to a customer, or a customer will reach out to us for a quotation and an RMA (Return Material Authorization). Once we provide the necessary documentation and receive the instrument, it’s entered into our asset management database before making its way to a technician’s bench.
Once there, the technician will review the calibration requirements and apply it to the applicable calibration standards. The technician will then “walk” the unit through its paces and take the necessary readings that generates a broad data report that is reviewed for quality assurance (QA) signoff. Once certified, it is shipped back to the customer. This process can take as little as a few days and as long as a few weeks depending on the piece of equipment and service that’s required.
Most, if not all of the services we provide can be done in-house at our lab by one of our factory-trained technicians. Anything that’s done outside of that is managed by Alpha Controls and comes with our quality guarantees, including NIST traceable or ISO/IEC 17025 certificates.
During the entire process, our goal is to provide customers with peace of mind that they’re getting the service they need with as little downtime as possible.
Steps to a quality calibration
For Alpha Controls, it starts with our ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. This is one of the most stringent accreditations accepted anywhere in the world. A big part of that involves maintaining standard calibration procedures for all calibrations performed.
The other part is having knowledgeable technicians. Alpha Controls has six fully trained metrologists on staff who offer decades of experience in instrumentation from both lab and real-world environments. All staff are trained to provide full calibration and service support with MET/CAL Calibration Management Software. (Fun fact #2: It’s not unusual at Alpha Controls to have more than 100 years of experience working on the calibration of a single piece of equipment, between our technicians and managers.) Having such depth of technical knowledge at Alpha Controls means we are more than comfortable standing behind even the most stringent service guarantees.
The Alpha difference
Just like in any part of our organization, what sets our servicing apart from the competition is the personal touch. Quality customer service has always been our number one goal. So while the expectation is for a high-quality calibration service, we also want to do everything we can to ensure our customers have good experiences with Alpha Controls. We want to make sure they’re happy and their needs are being met.
Learn more about how Alpha Controls can solve your calibration needs. Contact us to reach one of our trained representatives today.