What is the difference between ANSI Z540.1 and ANSI Z540.3?

The replacement of the ANSI Z540.1 with the ANSI Z540.3 and the ISO/IEC 17025 back in 2007 has led to a number of questions from Document Center Inc. customers.  To help you understand the situation, here’s a review of the migration path.  And we’ll discuss the differences between the ANSI Z540.1 and ANSI Z540.3 as we go.

Calibration is an essential activity in many organizations, including test labs and manufacturing firms with precision machinery.  Back in the day, the MIL-C-45662 Calibration System Requirements ruled the day.  This original Mil Spec was replaced by the standard MIL-STD-45662 in 1980.  However with Mil Spec reform in the 1990’s, the document was cancelled in favor of the ANSI-Z540.1 and ISO-10012.

ANSI Z540.1 was titled Laboratories, Calibration, and Measuring and Test Equipment.  Released in 1994, it consisted of 2 parts — the Part 1 was based on the old ISO/IEC Guide 25 (now ISO/IEC 17025).  The Part 2 was based on the MIL-STD-45662 Revision A.  So you can see that the document was a natural successor to the old military document.  However, it was developed specifically for calibration services, not testing labs.

The Part 1 directly addressed general requirements for the competence of calibration labs.  It applied to the development and implementation of a quality system.  For some situations, these older requirements may still be used when both the customer and the lab are in agreement.

With the release of the ISO/IEC 17025 (General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories) in December 1999, there was an obvious overlap between the two standards.  In an effort to make it clear and easy for users, NCSL (the caretaker of the ANSI Z540 documents) decided to revamp the Z540 publication.  A new standard would take the place of the Part 2 while the ISO/IEC 17025 would be adopted for the material in Part 1.

The ANSI Z540.1 Part 2 addressed quality assurance requirements for a supplier’s system with regards to measurement accuracy.  This included calibration of test equipment.  It provided customers to be assured that the calibration lab was meeting the prescribed requirements.

The “new” ANSI Z540.3, Requirements for the Calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment, again establishes the technical requirements for the calibration of measuring and test equipment.  So you’ll get requirements for establishing and maintaining the performance of your measuring and test equipment.  The suitability of a calibration for the application is covered.  And the traceability of your measurement results to the International System of Units (SI) is included.

So to recap, the ANSI Z540.1 was an umbrella publication.  When the ISO/IEC 17025 was released, a new ANSI Z540.3 was issued just for the calibration requirements themselves.  The ISO/IEC document was adopted for the competence requirements.

If you need any of these publications, use Document Center Inc. for your purchase.  We have over 1 million standards for you to choose from at our webstore www.document-center.com.  Here are direct links to the order pages for ANSI Z540.3 and the ISO/IEC 17025.

Document Center Inc. has been working with standards since 1982.  We have a familiarity with standards that you’ll find at few other organizations.  Reach out to us by phone (650-591-7600) or email (info@document-center.com) with any questions you may have.  Our services support compliance needs of many companies around the world.  Make us your Standards Experts!


What’s the difference between ISO 10012 and ANSI Z540.3?

“What’s the difference between ISO 10012 and ANSI Z540.3?”  This is a question that gets raised when folks are trying to determine which calibration standard is best for them.  And it’s also generated by those of you trying to decide what standard is your best replacement for the old MIL-STD-45662.  Let’s take a look at each of these important calibration standards to see how they’re similar and different from each other.

First of all, let’s review the ISO 10012, “Measurement Management Systems – Requirements for Measurement Processes and Measuring Equipment.”  This standard provides “generic requirements and … guidance for the management of measurement processes and metrological confirmation of measuring equipment…”  You’ll use it to show that your equipment complies with specific tolerances (metrological requirements) and that your management system supports your calibration system.

The ISO 10012 covers the topics of management responsibility, resource management, metrological confirmation and realization of measurement processes and the analysis and improvement of your measurement management system.  There’s also an informative Annex A that gives you an overview of the metrological confirmation process.  The 26-page document also includes specific guidance throughout the body of the text, boxed information that clarifies various procedures.

The ANSI Z540.3, “Requirements for the Calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment,” is much more focused on calibration itself rather than the management of the same.  So your sections (apart from the usual scope, referenced documents and definitions that both standards have) include information on:

  • General Requirements
  • Calibration system implementation
  • Calibration system assessment and improvement

Detailed information is provided on such topics as records and data control, competence and training, calibration equipment and personnel, and so on.  And as a final note on the document, the ANSI Z540.3 is the successor document to the old ANSI Z540.1.

Now we’ve taken a look at both the ISO 10012 and ANSI Z540.3.  To wrap the discussion up, the ISO 10012 standard is more of a management overview of one’s calibration system whereas the ANSI Z540.3 is a focused document with specific requirements for the control of accuracy for calibrating measuring and test equipment.  Either or both will make suitable replacements for the MIL-STD-45662, the old Mil Standard on calibration.  You’ll want to choose between them based on your specific needs.

And where can you get your copies of either of these standards?  From Document Center Inc., of course!  We’re an authorized standards distributor based in Silicon Valley with over 30 years of  experience in working with this type of conformance information.  Use our online webstore, www.document-center.com, to order your standards publications when you need them.  And here’s a link to the order page for ISO 10012 and the order page for ANSI Z540.3.  Or contact our staff by phone (650-591-7600), fax (650-591-7617) or email (info@document-center.com) when you need assistance.  We’re your Standards Experts!


ANSI Z540.3 on Calibration has been Reaffirmed

ANSI Z540.3 (ANSI/NCSL Z540.3), “Requirements for the Calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment,” has been reapproved.  The document was reviewed and reaffirmed as is on March 26, 2013.  This means that the technical content is still valid.

The new copy of ANSI Z540.3 has changes on 2 pages.  The document number on the upper right hand corner of the cover is now ANSI/NCSL Z540.3-2006 (R2013).  Then the inside front cover (page i) again has the new number in the upper right hand corner and the reaffirmation statement below the original approval date in the lower left hand corner.

Your only reason to purchase the document would be to assure your compliance auditors that your copy is indeed the latest edition.  However, in practical terms, since there are no changes to the technical content there is no compelling rationale to buy this item.  Our notifications to our customers on the reaffirmation date is on a FYI basis only.

The ANSI Z540.3 is the primary American National Standard on Calibration.  It is often referenced at the same time as the ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO 10012 standards.  It provides the user with the requirements for a calibration system that will ensure the accuracy of measuring and test equipment.

The standard has replaced a number of other documents.  The document traces its roots back to the old MIL-STD-45662, “Calibration System Requirements.”  The MIL Standard was  originally replaced by ANSI Z540.1.  Over time, NCSL determined that the ANSI Z540.3, released in 2006, would be the successor for the Z540.1.  The two documents existed side-by-side for some time, until the Z540.1 was withdrawn in favor of the Z540.3 in 2008.

Document Center Inc. has been a distributor of the ANSI standards for quite some time.  You can purchase the ANSI/NCSL Z540.3 at our web store, www.document-center.com.  Or contact us by phone (650-591-7600), fax (650-591-7617) or email (info@document-center.com).  We’re here to assist you in making informed decisions about the standards you use.

What ever happened to MIL-STD-45662?

MIL-STD-45662 was one of Document Center’s all time best selling standards, bar none.  It was the quality standard for calibration until Mil Spec reform took over in the mid-90’s.  So what ever happened to the standard and what should you be using now?

MIL-STD-45662A was cancelled by Cancellation Notice 2 on Feb 27, 1995.  The cancellation notice provided superseding information for the standard, so there are 2 documents which can be used instead of the now obsolete MIL-STD-45662.

First is ISO-10012, “Measurement management systems — Requirements for measurement processes and measuring equipment.”  In 1995, the document was divided into 2 parts, ISO-10012-1 and ISO-10012-2.  The ISO-10012-1 was the first replacement for MIL-STD-45662, but is now obsolete due to the cancellation of this document in 2003 with the release of the replacement ISO-10012.

The story is much the same for the second replacement document, ANSI-Z540.1,” Calibration Laboratories and Measuring and Test Equipment – General Requirements.”  The document was revamped in 2006 as ANSI-Z540.3, “Requirements for the Calibration of Measuring and Test Equipment”, and officially superseded by the new standard in 2008.  So you’ll need to use ANSI-Z540.3 now.

One of the sad results of Mil Spec reform is the fact that expensive industry standards, like the two documents above, have replaced the inexpensive (or free) military documents that companies around the U.S. used to reference extensively.  Because of the high cost of industry standards, many of our customers have reduced or eliminated standards from their business practices.  We’re a big supporter of standards and the standards process, so if you have some suggestions on how to get these companies back into standards, please send me a comment!

The obsolete standards referenced above, and the current quality standards for calibration, can be purchased from Document Center Inc. at our website www.document-center.com.   Please note:  you’ll have to get a quote first for all obsolete documents so that we can confirm that you really want a cancelled item before the order is processed.

Feel free to contact us by phone (650-591-7600), fax (650-591-7617) or email (info@document-center.com) as well for ordering or any questions you might have about this posting.  We appreciate your feedback.