The Expert’s Desk: Calibration vs. Certification

When looking to calibrate or service your portable measuring arm, there are many options to choose from. But what does a calibration really mean? Or is it certification? There is a lot of confusion in our industry regarding ‘Certification’ versus ‘Calibration’. In this article, you will learn the differences between the two and tips to choosing the right service.

First, let’s begin with the definition of a Certification vs. a Calibration.

A ‘Certification’ means there are no adjustments made, only ‘as is’ measurements taken and data provided. A ‘Calibration’ means that once the initial 20-position B89 test is complete the portable arm is adjusted to OEM specifications using proprietary software compensation.

Some companies use a small gauge block to tell you how your portable arm is measuring, typically in a small volume area. In most cases, these companies are not ISO 17025 accredited and do not follow the proper B89.4.22 standard for Articulating Arms, and instead follow a different standard. At Hexagon, we are ISO 17025 Accredited and follow the B89.4.22 Standard for Articulating Arms which includes a 20-position test using a Certified Trihedral bar – ensuring that your ROMER Absolute Arm is calibrated to the most rigorous standards in the metrology industry today.

To save you money, we offer a Portable Arm Accuracy Confidence check sheet that allows you to check your portable arms accuracy yourself, using your own length standard. This check sheet is an abbreviated version of the B89.4.22 Standard 20-position test. If your portable arm is measuring within the OEM specification, then you can be confident your arm is measuring accurately and you do not need to send it in. If, however, your arm is measuring out of specification, then you would need to have your portable arm calibrated.

Using our state-of-the-art calibration labs located in Wixom, MI, my team offers a full portable arm preventative maintenance service (PM) with all calibrations, at no additional cost. The PM includes cleaning the arm, inspecting all the linkages for wear, replacing a tip, gas shock or magnet if needed, and more. In addition, we always provide ‘as received’ and ‘as shipped’ data with our ISO 17025 Accredited Calibration reports. Our teams around the world also provide the equivalent local services.

If you have any questions, or would like a quotation for calibration of your portable arm, please contact customer services in your region.


  • Mike Blake

    Mike Blake has worked in the metrology industry for almost 30 years. He began his career building CMMs at DEA and became a quality manager in 1996. Mike first began working at Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence North America in 2005, becoming the Portable Arm Service Manager in 2012. Upon starting, his first priority was to get Portable Arm Service ISO 17025 Accredited for Calibrations. Accreditation was achieved and the North America team perform all portable arms service in our state-of-the-art calibration lab in Wixom, MI.

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