Can Oil From Our Fingers Affect Accurate Calibration?

Is it true that weights CANNOT be touched by hand during calibration due to the weight of the oil from our fingers?

You wouldn’t think it just from looking at them, but your fingers contain a lot of natural oils, produced simply as a means of keeping your skin healthy. However, that oil, while good for us and our skin, can be very detrimental when it comes to weight calibration. Even if you were to have just gotten done washing your hands, your skin would still contain a trace amount of oil which can affect the outcome of a weight calibration. What happens is that calibration weights are set and measured to a precise weight, a variance. When these weights are used for a calibration, then it’s understood they weigh exactly that, nothing more and nothing less. The oil from your fingers can alter that weight, even if it’s only by .0001, that tiny, seemingly insignificant amount can have a profound affect on the accuracy of the scale until it’s next calibration.

What Happens when Calibration is Off

That largely depends on the application. The general gist is simple, if the scale is calibrated imprecisely, then all of the future weighings with that scale will be off. Over time, this could create an overage on material costs for manufacturers, affect product quality, and cause an increase in costs of materials over time due to overuse. The flip side is, having weight be off can also be very harmful, especially when it comes to stress testing a new product for safety, or when manufacturing medication, in which everything needs to be exact. While that small amount of extra weight due to the finger oil might not make a difference in your cornflakes, it could be potentially lethal when it comes to blood pressure medication. Because of this, calibration weights are never touched by hand. Not only must the calibrator be wearing gloves, but they will also use tweezers or tongs to pick up the weight, further reducing the possibility of altering the weights. In fact, calibrations are so sensitive and need to be precise that even the weight of a human eyelash can alter the outcome.

Garber puts Your Calibrations on Point

If your company relies on accuracy, not just of weight, but any sort of measurements, then you understand the importance of an accurate calibration. Garber Metrology has been dedicating themselves to the science behind weights and measurements for almost 40 years, and have been servicing a greater part of the mid Atlantic region for that time. If you’re looking for sales, service, installations, or need to schedule regular in house calibrations, Garber has the knowledge and the experience to keep your scales on point.