Why Choose Instron
Detailed below is a short guide to electronic/digital certification to help you understand the subject and why we believe our digitally-encrypted calibration certificates offer a good fit for your organization.
What is an electronic calibration certificate?
An electronic calibration certificate is an electronic file that contains all the information that when opened provides a visual display of a calibration certificate. They can come in varying levels of sophistication such as:
- A file generated by scanning the paper calibration certificate. They can be provided in file formats such as pdf, tif and jpg which are easily viewed. They look exactly like the paper certificate with images such as approval signatures.
- A word-processor, spreadsheet or ASCII formatted file that can be opened with proprietary software packages such as Microsoft® Word or Excel. They look almost exactly like the paper certificate, but often do not include images such as the approval signature.
- A digitally encrypted file in a pdf format that can be easily opened to provide an image that looks exactly like the paper calibration certificate including the approval signature.
What are the advantages of electronic calibration certificates?
As electronic files, calibration certificates can be:
- Stored on a variety of computer media, such the PC hard drives, networks, CDROM/DVD and the web
- Emailed to different people within your organization or even your customers
- Integrated into your organization’s databases
- Hyper-linked or merged into documents
- Printed out at any time and in any quantities
What about unauthorized changes and abbreviations to electronic calibration certificates?
You are right to be concerned because electronic documents can be altered. Even file formats like pdf can easily be edited, added to or shortened in a way that makes it very difficult to see the difference.
*NOTE: The same can also happen to paper certificates where it has been known for documents to be altered and then photocopied to disguise the change.
However, there are ways to protect against unauthorized alteration of electronic files by application of digital encryption.
What are digitally encrypted calibration certificates?
Digitally encrypted calibration certificates are electronic files that have an encrypted algorithm embedded and hidden within the file. If such files are altered a message is displayed within the document to warn the viewer.
Instron calibration laboratories only provide digitally encrypted calibration certificates. When we approve a calibration certificate we apply a digital signature. This looks like a normal signature. However, if the document were to be altered the signature block displays a warning message to indicate a change has taken place since the digital signing.
We believe that providing Calibration Certificates in a digitally encrypted format provides the customer with all the benefits and flexibility of electronic files with also the confidence in the integrity of such documentation. Many Calibration organizations may offer electronic/digital calibration certificates, but few offer digitally encrypted calibration certificates.