Annual Instrument Certification – Is this always required?

Must a colour measurement instrument be Certificated each year?

A number of customers ask this question and we would like to give a full and transparent answer.
The perception that certification is just a money making racket is usually behind the question, and here is our point of view and customer response.

  • No, you don’t have to Certificate your Instrument.
  • Yes, you must accept all of the consequences if you choose to forego Certification.

Calibration Certificates are valid documents, by global agreement, for 12 months. Like with a vehicle license, certification does not ENSURE that the instrument IS in perfect order, it only ensures that it was at the time of certification.
It is not to be confused with a repair service, although in many cases a repair is required to restore instrument performance to a certificatable level.

What are the potential consequences of NOT certificating? This depends on WHY you measure colour in the first place:

  • Are your measurements INTERNAL and only of INTEREST i.e. no financial losses are likely. – In this case you may get away without certification.
  • Are you measuring Internal Production to Pass / Fail only. – Also maybe as long as the device functions you could skip certification.
  • You are working with True Colour Values (describing a real colour in the Physical World) – Certification is mandatory for accuracy.
  • You measure to comply with agreed supplier or customer Tolerances. – In this case, non compliance could result in cancellation or litigation.
  • You are COMPELLED to meet a Global Standard laid down by a customer. – Certification is mandatory in this case.
  • You work in a GROUP, either internally like Coating Company’s or externally like an Automotive Supply Chain. – Certification is also mandatory in this case.

What is an instrument Certification?

Nothing other than confirm that you have attempted to adhere to agreed levels of reliability. In other words its in your interest to have the correct colour.

Konica Minolta Sensing Instruments are world-renowned for their high level of Inter-Instrument Agreement (IIA), not only within a model, but within model ranges. There are also protocols with our Spectrophotometers to PREVENT inaccurate readings. Certification aside, if an instrument is not working to its own tolerance, it will report an Error Code and stop measuring.

If you are serious about Colour Measurement, these are all good things. If not, why bother to pretend that you are measuring colour.

To equip and staff approved certification, is expensive especially with our unique IIA as well NIST Traceable Results for all to see.

To avoid over pricing, Konica Minolta set their prices Globally, and we are compelled to abide by them. We can REDUCE prices within the limits of running a sustainable business, and to this effect in 2018, we are offering the same prices as 2017, as well as offering 2018 Service Level Agreements (SLA) de-linked from the Euro (€) to assist with stable Rand (ZAR) pricing, as well as meaningful discounts for certain Pre Paid SLA’s. Details can be seen here.

The final question is WHO should carry out the certification? If the certification originates from a NON CERTIFICATED source, then it is simply INVALID. This is not a Konica Minolta Policy, but a Global Understanding.

We do not certificate our competitors devices, because we are NOT certificated to do so. See this comment from one of our competitors publications:

This report describes a verification procedure for Spectrophotometers used in process control based on trend analysis. This analysis is more valuable if the Instruments DRIFT is tightly monitored so it can be unequivocally established that any detected drift is in the process under observation, and NOT in the instrument used for the measurements. The difference to practice in traditional colour metrology is that instrument precision is much more important than accuracy.
We recommend a much more frequent calibration certification that is usual for spectrophotometers used in colour matching applications.”

Implicit in this statement is that the CERTIFICATORS need to adhere to the SAME HIGH standards of Metrology.

As suppliers of National Standards Metrology equipment, Konica Minolta is in a very good position to ensure all the stringent requirements are being met. A bloke with a few tiles is not going to meet these standards.
To read Konica Minolta Sensing Europe’s OFFICIAL statement on this subject please click here.

Our customers are very eager to have local service capability (Three sites in South Africa) and we would hope they are equally eager to pay the managed and reasonable charges to maintain these standards.

Like car insurance, certification is not needed until its needed!