Metrology Laboratory

The Colorado Metrology Lab strives to provide Weights and Measures field staff, regulated customers, and the private sector with timely measurement services of the highest quality attainable while meeting statutory and regulatory requirements."

The Laboratory is accredited to the ISO 17025 standard by the National Voluntary Accreditation Program (NVLAP) and recognized as traceable by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The laboratory provides calibration services in:

  • Mass (Echelon II & III)
  • Volume (100 gal - 5 gal)
  • Time/Frequency (tuning forksand LASER speed units)
  • Grain Moisture (< or= 25%)

Schedule a Calibration Service

Before sending any work to the Colorado Metrology Laboratory, you must first call to make your initial request for calibration. All work will be scheduled as soon as possible after the initial request, depending on the current lab workload. If there are questions about your request, one of our metrologists will contact you for clarification.

After the lab has determined the amount of time it will need to process your request, you will be contacted and provided a calibration date. If you need to ship any items to the lab, please make sure they arrive prior to your scheduled calibration date.

If there are any specific requirements, such as:

  • Artifacts are sent to lab by one company, but the certificate is to be issued to another company
  • Certificate is to be sent to one address, but the invoice sent to another address

These instructions need to be included with the artifacts when they arrive at the lab.

For large mass (50 lb - 5,000 lb & weight carts)

  • Standards must be delivered on an open-bed truck or a truck with a lift-gate. An overhead hoist is available.

Any deviation from the above guidelines will result in the shipment being refused and sent back to the customer.

Services and Fees

The Colorado Metrology Laboratory offers a wide range of calibration and testing services. These services are available to both the public and private sectors on a fee basis. Calibration services are offered in the areas of mass (weight), volume, length, grain moisture, and time/frequency in both customary and metric units. The laboratory is capable of performing calibrations at varying levels of accuracy.

Many standards do not need calibration at the highest levels and in fact, may not be stable enough to maintain high accuracy. We will gladly answer your questions regarding what kind of calibration will best suit your needs by contacting us. We can also assist in specifying standards that you are looking to purchase. Please see FAQs to help answer some general questions.

Fees

Laboratory fees are $40 per hour. There is a minimum charge of one hour for all orders. Please contact us for a quote for your specific item(s).

Calibration Services

Category

Description/ Weight Classes

Examples

Range

Mass Echelon II

ASTM 2,3; OIML  F1

Precision Weight Set for Precision Balances/ Comparators

10 kg - 1 mg

Mass Echelon III

ASTM 4,5,6,7

NIST Class F

OIML M1, M2, M3

Stainless Steel weights, Weight Sets, Dead Weight Testers Cast Iron Weights

25 kg - 1 mg

2,500 lb - .001 lb

4 oz - 1/32 oz

Volume Transfer

Provers, Test Measures

5 gallon test measures
100 gallon provers

100 gal - 5 gal

Time/ Frequency

n/a

Tuning forks, LASER speed units

<= 100 mph

Grain Moisture

n/a

Corn, Millet, Pinto Beans, Sunflower, Barley, Sorghum, Wheat

<= 25 %

 
Cleaning Standards

Standards Conditions/Cleaning

All standards that are delivered to this laboratory must be submitted clean and, where required, painted. Cleaning and/or repair of standards in the metrology lab can be considerable and added to the calibration costs.

Precision Mass Standards

  • Precision Weights have very tight tolerances, thus requiring gentle handling and proper storage before, during, and after calibration.
  • Unless your management system prohibits, pre-clean each weight with a cotton swab and/or dust-less 'kim' wipe lightly dampened with ethanol. Let Air dry before placing back into their case.
  • Remove dust and other foreign objects from the cases.
  • All cases must be properly marked with an identification number. If this is missing, the laboratory will issue a generic identification.
  • When shipping individual weights, please pack each weight with tissue paper. Plastic-based packing materials will leave residues on weights.
  • For weights that are shipped inside of a case, please wrap the case with tape or rubber bands to prevent the case from opening and spilling the tiny weights in the box during shipping.

Non-Precision Mass Standards

  • Weights should be clean and in good repair. Except for weights that have been submitted to the laboratory in the past and have shown that they can maintain tolerance, all weights submitted must meet the requirements of NIST HB 105-1.
  • An ethanol-dampened rag cleans stainless steel weights well.
  • Interior cases for weight kits should be wiped down or vacuumed.
  • Cases should be sound with secure latches.
  • Cast Iron weights should have no evidence of rust, loose paint or adhering debris.
  • Do not "power-wash" cast-iron weights as this creates divots in the material, removes too much paint, and introduces water into the adjustment cavity. This can be considerable to the overall cost.
  • Light sanding with steel wool and wipe down with mineral spirits works well to clean cast iron.
  • Cast Iron weights should be painted with a light coat of aerosol paint.
    • Silver/Aluminum color for customary weights
    • Gold color for metric weights
  • Do not use epoxy or enamel paint.
  • During colder months, large cast-iron weights should be kept indoors the night before calibration to keep them as close to room temperature as possible when arriving. We cannot calibrate weights that are wet.
  • Weights should be identified with a permanent stamp or mark into the surface of the weight. Stickers are not allowed and will be removed.
  • If no permanent markings are present, the lab will issue a generic identification.
  • Handle your analytical weights carefully. Tolerances are small, so dirt or abuse can throw them out of tolerance. Adjustments add cost to your calibration.

Weight Carts

  • Make sure the cart is cleaned to remove debris, oil, and rust. Do not forget the tires.
  • Fill the gas tank to the zero reference line
  • Make all repairs/tune ups/replacements just prior to submitting the cart into the lab. Making changes to the cart in any way voids the current certificate and must be submitted back into the lab for recalibration.
  • If you make any major repairs/adjustments/replacements to the cart prior to submittal, let the metrologist know for record-keeping purposes upon submittal. For example, if you add an extra spreader bar to the body of the cart, this is viewed as a major adjustment. Another example is if you have to replace the engine, gas tank, or hydraulic tank, this is viewed as a major repair/replacement. This not only helps us for record-keeping, but it also saves time on calibration if we know if there was a significant change to the overall mass.

Dead Weight Testers

  • Weights should be clean of dirt, debris, and oil before sent to the lab for calibration.
  • All pistons should be complete with sleeves (if applicable). If the piston is incomplete or missing the sleeve, the piston will not be calibrated and will slow down the turnaround time until all parts are supplied.
  • All weights and pistons should be marked with a serial number or other identifying markings.
  • If no markings are present, the lab will issue a generic identification.

Volume Standards

  • Large volume provers and five-gallon test measures must come in clean and with no strong odors or evidence of hydrocarbons.
  • Any vessels with obvious residues will be refused and returned to the customer.
  • Be sure the prover has working valves, a clean glass gauge tube, and a readable gauge plate. Markings made by a permanent marker or anything other than the original etchings on the plate will not be accepted.
  • Be sure the mechanism for adjusting the prover can be moved freely.
  • Provers and test measures will not be tested if they come in with leaks, dents, or badly corroded interiors.
  • If any of the above conditions are found, the item will not be tested and will be returned to the customer for repair; please refer to NIST HB 105-3.

Time/Frequency Standards

  • Tuning forks should not be paired together with adhesive tape. Rubber bands, envelopes, and bags are excellent alternatives.
  • Tuning forks should be permanently marked with: frequency band, miles per hour rating and serial number.
  • LASER units should be supplied with batteries or car adapters that are fully charged.
  • Shipments of tuning forks and/or LASER units should be packed securely and include contact information.
  • Walk-ins are limited only to WEDNESDAY. Any other days must be pre-approved by a metrologist.
  • If a delivery is made other than Wednesday, we cannot guarantee that the equipment will be tested the same day.
Shipping Items

All items should be securely packed before shipping. Any item ten pounds (10 lbs) or more should be shipped in wooden crates and/or palletized. The Metrology Lab is not responsible for items improperly shipped.

Items should be individually wrapped or protected with appropriate packing materials.

If you are shipping small weight kits, be sure to secure them in the closed position with latches, rubber bands, tape, boxes, or bags. Small weights can be lost if the kit is not securely closed, delaying your calibration test.

Fifty pound (50 lb) weights or larger whether shipped or delivered, should be on an open-bed truck or with a lift-gate. An overhead hoist is available for delivery.

Return shipping arrangements should be made with the metrology lab at the time of the initial phone call and scheduling. Utilizing the owner's freight account or shipping the weights back "freight collect" are preferred and recommended methods.

Return shipment of small boxes (150 lbs or less) will usually be shipped via best shipping method. If a customer has no preferred shipper, current shipping charges will be added to the invoice along with the calibration charges.

The laboratory will not accept items shipped by truck that are "freight collect."

 

Laws and Regulations

Colorado Revised Statutes

Colorado Revised Statutes are made available for public use by the Committee on Legal Services of the Colorado General Assembly through a contractual arrangement with the LexisNexis Group. Any person wishing to reprint and distribute all or a substantial part of the statutes in either printed or electronic format must obtain prior permission of the Committee on Legal Services; permission is not required to reprint fewer than 200 sections of C.R.S. (please see §2-5-118, C.R.S.).

The Lexis Nexis website is the only official source of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Instructions for using Lexis Nexis

Title 35, Article 14: Measurement Standards ACT, Sections 35-14-101 to 35-14-134

Related Links

NIST Certificate of Traceability

  • Certificate on NIST site.

National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST)

  • Technology Services provides a variety of products and services to U.S. industry and the public in collaboration with NIST laboratories, federal agencies, national measurement institutes, state and local governments, and the private sector.

National Conference of Standards Labs International (NCSLI)

National Voluntary Lab Accreditation Program (NVLAP)

  • NVLAP is part of the Standards Services Division within NIST's Technology Services.

FAQs

Q:   Why clean my weights?

A:   Cleaning your weights should be a standard practice before submitting your weights for calibration. Proper cleaning removes debris, rust, corrosion and any other extraneous material from the weight that could cause the weight to measure out of tolerance. Proper cleaning also extends the life of the weight, especially cast iron standards, as they are more susceptible to rust and corrosion. If rust and corrosion are removed on a regular basis, it slows the breakdown of the material. On a cost basis, cleaning your standards prior to calibration reduces the amount of time required, and thus lessens the charge. If your weights come into the metrology lab dirty, rusty, or full of water, we reserve the right to reject the item. If the weight is not repairable, we also reserve the right to condemn the weight from further use.

For proper cleaning recommendations of your standards, refer to Standard Conditions/Cleaning.

Q:   What is the recommended procedure for cleaning weights?

A:   Please refer to Standard Conditions/Cleaning. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

Q:   Can you answer questions regarding the price of petroleum/gasoline?

A:   For questions concerning the price of gas, over/under charging at the gas pump, gas quality, complaints, etc. please refer to the Oil and Public Safety, a Division of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, at (303) 318-8525.

Q:   How long is my turnaround time?

A:   Upon request for calibration of your standards, a metrologist will give you an estimate of what the turnaround time will be for your standards. If the original turnaround time quoted changes, we will contact you as soon as possible. The average turnaround is 5 to 10 business days with the following possible exceptions:

  • Precision Standards take longer for calibration due to longer equilibration times in the lab
  • Submitting a large number of weights at one time can take longer in order to complete the request
  • If the standards are out of tolerance and need to be adjusted
  • Missing equipment pieces. This applies, but is not limited to, weight carts and dead weight testers
Q:   What is measurement uncertainty?

A:   Measurement uncertainty is a parameter, associated with the result of a measurement, that defines the range of the values that could reasonably be attributed to the measured quantity. When uncertainty is evaluated and reported in a specified way, it indicates the level of confidence that the value actually lies within the range defined by the uncertainty interval.

Q:   What is measurement traceability?

A:   Traceability is the property of the result of the measurement result whereby the result can be related to a reference through a documented unbroken chain of calibrations, each contributing to the measurement uncertainty.

This chain of comparisons, calibrations, tests, and other terms that imply a measurement involves increasing levels of accuracy for each measurement in the hierarchy reaching or traceable to the highest accuracy level or measurement origin. This measurement origin is normally standards and procedures maintained at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Q:   Why do I have/do not have an expiration date on my certificate?

A:   If you are a scale or service company:

  • You are required to have an adequate amount of weight to properly test/repair/place in service scales for your customers. These standards are required to be calibrated by an accredited metrology lab on an annual basis. We issue a certificate with a one-year expiration date. These standards MUST be submitted on or before the one year expiration date.
  • We accept other accredited metrology labs to complete this work for you. For a list of accredited labs, please refer to the Metrology Lab Contact webpage. To be considered "accredited" the lab MUST be at least have a CURRENT NIST certificate of traceability certificate. Please see our certificate of traceability as an example.
Q:   What are the requirements of a law enforcement agency?

A:   You are required to submit your standards (tuning forks and LIDAR) on an annual basis according to CRS 35-14-107(g). There is a one year expiration date included on your certificate. You must submit your standards on or before this date.

A reminder postcard will be sent to the current contact name we have on our database. These are usually sent out approximately one month prior to the expiration date.

If the current contact name or address is incorrect, please fill out a new postcard request form and we will update our database.

Q:   What are the requirements of a commercial or private company?

A:   

  • We do not issue an expiration date unless you specify one to our lab to comply with your current management system requirements.
  • If you did not request a specific expiration date, we issue a generic statement Certificate expiration to be determined by owner using the procedures in the National Conference of Standards Laboratories International (NCSLI) Recommended Practice RP-1, Establishment and Adjustment of Calibration Intervals. To purchase this manual for your review, please visit the NCSLI website.
  • If you like to have a specific expiration date added to your certificate, please contact us.
Q:   Why did I get a calibration reminder email?

A:   To better serve our customers, we automatically provide a calibration reminder email service. This reminder is sent out 1-2 months before the standards are due for a 1-year recalibration. This email is merely a courtesy and may be ignored if your calibration interval is longer than 1 year.

Q:   How should I ship and/or pack my equipment?

A:   The lab strongly encourages packing your standards properly to limit damage during transport to our facility. The lab is not responsible for items not shipped properly. If a package arrives in poor packaging, we try to repack it properly to limit the amount of damage leaving our facility. You may be charged accordingly if extensive repacking is required. Please refer to Shipping Items for specific information.

Q:   Why can't my weights be calibrated the same day they are delivered?

A:   There are several reasons why we cannot calibrate weights on a same day basis.

  • All weights must acclimate to our laboratory environmental conditions before calibrating.
    • Precision weights must be placed next to the balances and working standards prior to calibration at least 1 week for complete stabilization and accurate calibrations.
    • Large mass MUST sit at least overnight to limit the amount of sweating and allow the weight to stabilize to the laboratory's environmental conditions. This is especially true during the winter months. See "sweating" on weights below
  • Due to the active work load and customers who are already on the schedule for calibrations, we must take care of those appointments first.
  • We do not perform "rush calibrations" for any of our customers. We base our daily work load on appointments made on a first come, first serve policy.
  • The only exceptions to the "no same day calibrations" are law enforcement walk-ins on Wednesdays. Any other day of the week, we cannot guarantee same day turnaround.
Q:   What is sweating on weights?

A:   Weights that are brought into the laboratory form a thin layer of condensation on the surface. In other words, they "sweat". This is especially true during the colder months (cold outside into a warm and humid laboratory.) This layer of water adds enough weight to the standard that can throw the weight out of tolerance, thus forcing adjustment that can be avoided if the weights were allowed to equilibrate.

To resolve this problem, we only accept large mass on Fridays to allow the weight sit over the weekend to allow the condensation to evaporate and stabilize to the laboratory's environmental conditions.

Contact Us

Physical Address
Colorado Department of Agriculture
300 S. Technology Ct. Broomfield CO 80021

Main
Phone number: (303) 869-9240
Fax number: (303) 869-9223

Tiffany Brigner
Deputy Division Director
tiffany.brigner@state.co.us
Phone number: (303) 869-9230

Kate Smetana
Metrologist
kate.smetana@state.co.us
Phone number: (303) 869-9241

Andrew Shopes
Metrology Intern
andrew.shopes@state.co.us
Phone number: (303) 869-9270