Understanding ISO Pipette Calibration Standards

There are a number of different standards that guide and define the pipette calibration industry. Among the most important are ISO 17025 and ISO 8655, which each define separate aspects of a quality calibration. It’s important to understand that neither standard alone is sufficient: compliance to both is required for accurate and reliable pipette calibration.

Let’s define these standards by their requirements for compliance. Afterwards, you will be better able to see how they impact your choice for a valid pipette calibration service provider.

ISO 17025

TTE Labs is ISO 17025 and 8655 compliantISO 17025 is the primary competency standard for testing and calibration laboratories. Accreditation to this standard means a qualified third party has validated a calibration lab’s quality system, documentation and process against its operational claims.

ISO 17025 requirements are relatively simple. They include:

  1. Documented Training Program
  2. Test Equipment Certification
  3. Technician Proficiency Testing
  4. Measurement Uncertainty Budget (must be available, reported and accounted for in results)
  5. Internal/External Audits

Although important, ISO 17025 by itself is insufficient to ensure high quality pipette calibration.

One reason for this is ISO 17025 is not specific to any one type of measurement. For example, ISO 17025 applies to calibration of oscilloscopes, dental x-ray equipment, micrometers, and torque wrenches, as well as it applies to pipettes.

Therefore, a quality pipette calibration cannot be defined solely by the ISO 17025 standard.

For example, a pipette calibration could be performed outdoors, on a mountain top, on a submarine or in your conference room—all locations where it is impossible to control for important environmental variables--and still meet ISO 17025 requirements. None of these would pass ISO 8655 muster, however. For more on the differences between the two ISO standards, see Why ISO 8655 Compliance Should Be Your Litmus Test.

ISO 8655

ISO 8655 represents the primary international standard specifying the exact requirements for calibrating the pipettes found in every modern laboratory (aka, piston-operated volumetric equipment).

ISO 8655 requirements are extremely detailed and specific to pipette calibration and include:

  1. Measurement Specifications
  2. Methodology
  3. Lab and Environmental Conditions
  4. Process Requirements
  5. Acceptable Measurement Uncertainties and the requirement that measurement uncertainties values must be reported with measurement values
  6. Maximum Number of Permissible errors

(For further explanation of these requirements, please see the ISO 8655 page.)

Together, these 6 requirements make ISO 8655 quite different and more “scientific” than the more process-oriented ISO 17025.  In particular, its emphasis on measurement uncertainty (quantifying what you don’t know) is the foundation of TTE’s Metrology-Driven Pipette Calibration.

Since TTE Laboratories is the only calibration provider that complies with both ISO 17025 and 8655 standards at a wide range of calibration volumes, you can be sure you’re getting the most accurate pipette calibration available anywhere, every time, on time, and with free, 24 hour turnaround in our facilities.