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Calibration of Pressure Gauge
Published:2013-12-16 10:35:34    Text Size:【BIG】【MEDIUM】【SMALL
Calibration occurs just before the final assembly of the gauge to the protective case and lens. The assembly consisting of the socket, tube, and movement is connected to a pressure source with a known "master" gauge. A "master" gauge is simply a high accuracy gauge of known calibration. Adjustments are made in the assembly until the new gauge reflects the same pressure readings as the master. Accuracy requirements of 2 percent difference are common, but some may be 1 percent, .5 percent, or even .25 percent. Selection of the accuracy range is solely dependant upon how important the information desired is in relationship to the control and safety of the process. Most manufacturers use a graduated dial featuring a 270 degree sweep from zero to full range. These dials can be from less than I inch (2.5 centimeters) to 3 feet (.9 meter) in diameter, with the largest typically used for extreme accuracy. By increasing the dial diameter, the circumference around the graduation line is made longer, allowing for many finely divided markings. These large gauges are usually very fragile and used for master purposes only. Masters themselves are inspected for accuracy periodically using dead weight testers, a very accurate hydraulic apparatus that is traceable to the National Bureau of Standards in the United States.

It is interesting to note that when the gauge manufacturing business was in its infancy, the theoretical design of the pressure element was still developing. The Bourdon tube was made with very general design parameters, because each tube was pressure tested to determine what range of service it was suitable for. One did not know exactly what pressure range was going to result from the rolling and heat treating process, so these instruments were sorted at calibration for specific application. Today, with the development of computer modeling and many decades of experience, modern Bourdon tubes are precisely rolled to specific dimensions that require little, if any, calibration. Modern calibration can be performed by computers using electronically controlled mechanical adjusters to adjust the components. This unfortunately eliminates the image of the master craftsman sitting at the calibration bench, finely tuning a delicate, watch-like movement to extreme precision. Some instrument repair shops still perform this unique work, and these beautiful pressure gauges stand as equals to the clocks and timepieces created by master craftsmen years ago.
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