Metrologists and Calibration Technicians 101

Interface works with metrologists and calibration technicians worldwide. We are a partner, supplier of calibration grade products they use, and participants in research to advance the science of measurement. We are also proud team members with experienced experts in measurement, including our esteemed force measurement engineers and calibration technicians at Interface.

By simple definition, a metrologist is a scientist who researches and applies the science of measurement. Working in the field of metrology, they often create processes and engineer tools and systems used to measure objects, such as load cell calibration tools used to accurately to measure applied force.

Engineers and technicians work in collaboration with metrologists in the design of products and devices used for measuring objects. Metrologists are keen to maintain the accuracy standards of measurements for organizations, product makers, and manufacturers of measurement devices.

Metrologists practice their expertise in test and measurement at manufacturing facilities, corporate R&D centers, independent test and calibration labs, government entities and standards organizations, as well as at higher learning institutions. The range of industries that utilize metrologists spans from aerospace to medical sciences. It is commonplace for metrologists to participate in research, product design, testing, and repair of equipment.

To preserve accuracy of performance and standards of measurement, metrologists develop calibration procedures to control performance of devices. They use these techniques to also identify enhancements and continuous improvement initiatives. Metrology professionals often share their findings with metrologist groups and associations, for purposes of scientific research and development within the field of measurement science. NIST publishes reports related to metrology from contributors around the world. You can find thousands of reports here.

Calibration technicians calibrate test and measurement equipment, as well as provide quality inspection, installation, troubleshooting support, and regular maintenance. Cal techs operate the machines used to validate performance, then report on the findings.

A calibration technician can work in production or manufacturing environments, onsite calibration labs, or for independent labs that provide services to users and makers of measurement devices. It is quite common to find calibration labs staffed with experience technicians as a part of a manufacturer’s facility, across most industries. Depending on the size of the manufacturer, this could include a small in-house lab or multiple lab sites. These labs are stocked with a variety of sensors, rigs, machines, and tools. As noted by many of our representative firms and onsite customer visits, they often will find shelves of blue load cells ready for use at any time for test and measurement projects and calibration services.

Interface supplies calibration labs with all types of measurement calibration grade transducers and equipment, including:

Calibration technicians work with various testing and calibrating tools and technologies. The role requires a mix of expertise in the science and application of measurement. Interface has multiple onsite calibration labs with full testing rigs, machines, operating tools, instrumentation, and software used for tracking performance. Interface does calibrate every product we manufacture, to certify performance prior to releasing to the customer.

Interface Services Calibration Technicians operate within our Services Calibration and Repair Department at our Interface production facilities in Arizona. They provide services for Interface products for annual and regular calibration check-ups, as well as diagnostic, repair, and warranty evaluations. Interface recommends annual calibration services. If you need to schedule a service, go here.

Technicians perform calibrations and any additional needed services for customer owned equipment, works with quality and inspection managers to maintain the proper records within the services process application. They ensure that the measurements taken with our equipment are accurate. Interface calibration techs work on multiple shifts for a 24/6 operation. Interface is adding qualified technicians to our team to meet the demands in production and services.

Calibration technicians perform inspection, testing and validation to ensure conformance to established accuracy and calibration standards. They also help to create calibration procedures and help n sourcing errors or quality issues reported during calibration activities.

Requirements for Interface Calibration Technicians include:

  • Perform basic to mid-range diagnostics of force measurement equipment
  • Work collaboratively in a team environment to complete discrete tasks
  • Print and Review Calibration Certificates Competencies
  • Able to use fine motor skills to calibrate product
  • Able to work with hand and power tools, lifts, electronic test equipment, soldering and indicators
  • Understands industry and quality concepts and standards such as ISO, A2LA, NIST
  • Offers suggestions and improvements as they see them
  • Organize and schedule work in progress
  • Experience in calibration technology, science, engineering, or a related field

You can apply for positions Interface Calibration Technician jobs here.

For metrologists and calibration technicians, quality and control require strict adherence to ensure that the products and equipment are performing properly. As measurement is exact, both are responsible for performing routine audits and quality inspections to maintain compliance with good calibration practices.


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Quick History of Creating Standards in Measurement

Since humans have roamed the earth, there is evidence that science and measurement have played a significant part in the progression of our existence.  Early signs of tools and architecture are riddled with measurement references.

History also suggests there was little agreement in any standardization, though there were many proclamations for standard types of units to be used for measurement.  One can only imagine how any standardization could take place without our 21st-century technology conveniences used for sharing and collaboration.

Yet, there is a record of the first attempt to standardize measurements by the pharaoh Khufu, in the building of the great Khufu Pyramid around 2,900 B.C.  Khufu declared the standard for measurement was to be a fixed unit called the Egyptian Royal Cubit, now recognized as one of the earliest references to any standard of measure.

Scientists have noted that the reason the Great Pyramid is a perfect right angle within 3/1000 of a degree is because of the use of this standard unit of measurement.

With little agreement in standards for nearly 4,500 years thereafter, the use of various weights and measures were littered in the chronicles of designs and renderings by innovators, explorers, astronomers, scientists, and artists that include maps, weapon designs, mechanical inventions, architecture and more.

It is known that Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans were successful in creating standard systems of measurement accepted in their regions; though they didn’t agree with each other’s definitions.  As the role of the instrument maker and scientist grew in popularity and prominence, standard weights and measurement tools did too.

At the longing of a Scottish Inventor and Instrument Maker James Watt, a group of scientists was urged to come together to promote a common language in measurement.  During the French Revolution, The Royal Academy of Science was instructed to create the new system based on ideas proposed by Watt to promote ‘unity’.  Ultimately this is when the meter (Metron) was first set as a standard for measuring distance, and thus the metric system was to be promoted universally for all.

Or would that really be the case? As Europe struggled to accept uniformity, in the independence of the United States, Americans defied the standards and created their own. In the beginning, each state used its own measurement, with little agreement amongst their fellow countrymen.  That is until they agreed to a standard called the Parliamentary Yard. This yard was set as a standard by a bar known as Bronze No. 11, which became the US accepted length for a yard and its own standard for measurement. Yet in Europe, the Metric System started to gain traction and greater acceptance.

It wasn’t until 1875, that the International Conference on Weights and Measures got 17 nations to actually agree to a measurement standard under the ‘Treaty of the Meter’ (Convention du Mètre).

It was in 1893 that the United States finally agreed to the standards, using Meter Bar No. 27 and Kilogram No. 20, as fundamental national standards.  And to further its commitment to universal standards, in 1901 the US Congress created the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and authorized it to have custody of standards and manage a catalog of hundreds of standards.

As of 2018, there are 60 Member States and 42 Associate State and Economies of the Meter (Metre) Convention and it remains the basis of all international agreement on units of measurement. The International System of Units (SI) is the modern metric system of measurement. The SI was established in 1960 by the 11th General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM), which is the international authority of the SI and modifies the SI.

At Interface, our most frequently referenced SI unit in force measurement is the newton (symbol: N), which is the derived unit of force. It is named in recognition of Isaac Newton’s second law of motion. One newton is the force needed to accelerate one kilogram (symbol: kg) of mass at the rate of one meter per second squared in the direction of the applied force.

Measurement is still evolving, read about the redefined kilogram here.

For reference, the most recent Guide to the SI online is the NIST Special Publication 811, 2008 Edition, by Ambler Thompson and Barry N. Taylor.

Our Reputation is Defined by Our Industry-Leading Quality

Interface is proud to have a 50-year reputation for delivering the highest quality force measurement solutions on the market. To develop a global reputation for quality, we started by defining what quality means to us. At Interface, quality is providing our customers with products that meet the standards we publish, doing so quickly, and getting the products right the first time. Because of the standards we evaluate our products against, other load cell manufacturers often adopt our quality processes.

“We are known for quality because Interface leverages its gold and platinum standards to manufacture and service the best load cells in the world.”

Our consistency is evident throughout the organization, including in our dedicated metrology and incomparable engineering departments. We’re able to measure even the smallest shifts in response through our 15 hydraulic standards and five deadweight standards—all of which are just for load cells. Our engineering and metrology teams pay close attention to these standards, which we use to compare other load cells to ours. All of this data is gathered regularly and subject to strict monitoring to prevent issues.

Unlike others, Interface’s load cells do not lose their accuracy over time. Instead, our load cells demonstrate improvements in accuracy the longer our customers have them.  The way we design our load cells is the key to this success. Our load cells are low height and high precision for axial force measurement, and we use shear beams for more strain gauges inside. The strain gauge is part of the flexure, which allows all strains to be measured as accurately as possible. Our strain gauges are designed in-house so customers don’t need to accommodate their designs to account for generic strain gauges.

Interface load cells also improve over time because of the materials we use. We manufacture our load cells with steel that we machine in-house, and we manufacture our own strain gages. The strain gages are bonded to our machined steel elements, and as a result of the bonding process, the adhesive and bonding materials will gradually improve the transfer of strain with time. This allows for a better transition of force from the machined steel to the strain gauge, which accounts for the increase in long-term performance from error and output standpoints.

Our reputation for quality has been critical to maintaining our market leadership over the past 50 years, and we stop at nothing to provide our customers with the most accurate force measurement solutions available. To learn more about Interface’s load cells and quality our renowned Gold and Platinum Standards, call us at 800-947-5598 or email

Contributor: Michael Cobb, Interface Technical Services