What Exactly is NATA and What Does it Mean?

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We often have our clients come to us with their NATA requirements, but they aren’t aware of the intricacies of this topic, or the full range of requirements that could be needed. Here we explain the three most common NATA requirements our clients require. If you aren’t sure which you require, please speak to one of our knowledgeable team.

NATA Accreditation
Some companies quality policies and procedures simply require their items to be calibrated by a company who holds NATA accreditation but do not require NATA accredited calibrations. If a company holds NATA accreditation, it does not automatically mean that all calibrations they do are NATA calibrations, but it does mean that their quality systems meet ISO17025. It is essential to make this distinction in what you require as NATA Calibrations are far more expensive than standard calibrations carried out by a NATA Accredited company.

NATA Calibration
NATA Calibrations can only be completed by a company who holds NATA Accreditation and has been accredited to carry out NATA calibrations for a particular accredited scope. Holding NATA Accreditation does not mean that a company can offer all calibrations as NATA calibrations. NATA accredited companies can only issue NATA accredited calibration reports within their scope of accreditation. Only accredited calibrations may use the NATA emblem on calibration reports. 

NATA Traceability
NATA Traceability is a commonly used term in the industry but is actually frowned upon by NATA themselves. We will look at more appropriate terminology later, but for now, let’s look at what NATA traceable means within the industry. 

This term implies that the calibration can be traced back through the line of traceability, to a NATA accredited calibration. I.e. the standard which was used to calibrate your item, has a NATA Calibration certificate itself. The calibration of your instrument is not a NATA accredited calibration itself, but the instrument/standard used to perform the calibration does have one. You can show traceability by requesting the NATA calibration certificate for the standard which was used to calibrate your equipment. Your item will not have a NATA endorsed certificate.

NATA prefer the use of terminology such as “traceability back to a NATA accredited laboratory” rather than “NATA traceable”. Given the complexity of this official NATA line and human beings preference for simplicity in terminology, ‘NATA traceable’ has become more common nomenclature.

Despite this, it is a widely used term in the industry, not to indicate that NATA performed the calibration (as they rightly say, they do hold measurement standards and therefore cannot perform calibrations), but that a NATA accredited lab did. A traceable calibration can not use the NATA emblem, but the standard that was calibrated by a NATA accredited lab, will have a NATA emblem on it’s certificate of calibration.

At Mobile Test ‘n’ Cal, we know this is a complicated topic, and are here to help understand your own internal quality requirements. We are NATA Accredited, have a NATA scope in the electrical field, and all of our calibrations have NATA Traceability (they allow traceability back to a NATA accredited laboratory). If you would like to discuss your NATA requirements with us further, contact us on 1300 662 119 for Australia or 0800 123 682 for NZ.

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