What is the Recertification Service?

The Recertification Service is the process by which traceable standards are cleaned, inspected and recertified. If the standard meets all the certification criteria currently in practice for the given standard, a new Certificate of Calibration will be issued.

The VLSI Standards' Recertification Service originally started in 1989 to clean, inspect and recalibrate standards for our customers who need to show compliance with quality systems such as MIL STD 45662A, later replaced by ISO 10012 and/or ANSI/NCSL Z540-1. In recent years, this program has expanded significantly due to the increased awareness of quality related programs and due to the growing numbers of companies attaining certification to the ISO 9000 family of standards.

Our years of experience have shown that our customers can play a big part in determining if standards are suitable for recertification. The first step is to read each section of these guidelines and then to study the generic product flow chart. The flow chart will guide you through a visual inspection of your standard. If your standard passes this inspection, you can then follow the packaging and shipping instructions for returning your standard for recertification. Remember, the Recertification Service is a labor intensive and expensive process and this guideline, if used properly, can save you time and money as well as increase the life expectancy of your standard.

What is the Recertification Guideline?

The VLSI Standards Recertification Guideline defines the steps involved in the recertification process. By utilizing the generic product flow chart, customers can evaluate the integrity of their standard before it is shipped to VLSI Standards and in most cases, predetermine if recertification can be performed. If the product passes the visual inspection, the packaging and shipping recommendations will help minimize damage and contamination which can occur if the standard is not packaged properly. This guideline is intended to provide our customers with the information needed to minimize the recertification costs and to improve the efficiency of this service.

What Products Qualify for this Service?

The Recertification Service covers standards manufactured by VLSI Standards, Inc. and other standards such as SRM (Standard Reference Material) from NIST. Certain products do not qualify for this service due to the inherent surface damage induced by the measurement methodology of the application. Please contact VLSI Standards for specific product information.

Why Should I Recertify My Standard?

There are two reasons to recertify your standard. First, most quality systems require periodic recertification. This period is usually interpreted as yearly but it is left up to the customer to make this determination based on the usage of their standard. The second reason to recertify is based on the control charts used to monitor your standard. If your chart indicates an out of tolerance measurement and you have determined that your equipment is functioning properly, recertification is most likely required.

A generic recertification product flow chart outlines the steps you should take before you ship a standard to VLSI Standards for recertification. The most important step is the visual inspection. In the event that your standard does not pass this inspection, it is recommended that you replace the standard with a new one. This will avoid charges you will incur if the standard is received, inspected and rejected by VLSI Standards. If your standard passes the visual inspection you need to review the packaging and shipping recommendations.

For your convenience, VLSI Standards has scheduled one week a month for each product's recertification. Optimizing equipment usage and calibration time provides a faster turnaround and minimizes the amount of time your standard is not available for service. For information about this schedule, refer to the enclosed calendar or contact our Customer Service Department. They will advise you of the schedule and assign an RMA number (Return Material Authorization) to your standard. This number is required for any returned product and must be referenced on the purchase order and all shipping documents. Each time you need to recertify your standard, you must have a new RMA number assigned.

What is Product Integrity?

The generic recertification product flow chart requires that the customer conduct a visual inspection of the standard before sending it back for recertification. The calibration area of the standard can be conveniently inspected by using the viewing system on the instrument for which the standard is used or by using a laboratory microscope. To be accepted for recertification, the standard must meet the following requirements:

  • The standard should have its original physical integrity i.e. no broken edges, chips, cracks or gross scratches, even if the calibration area might seem intact.
  • The calibration area of the standard, as deined by the application notes, should be free of any pits, scratches, chips or cracks of any size. Any physical damage to the calibration area will cause erroneous measurement results, and any deviation from the original physical integrity of the standard will render it "unsuitable for the intended use by the customer" as defined in the IS0 9000 family of standards.
  • The standard should not have been in contact with or treated with any chemicals that may alter its surface finish or film thickness including, but not limited to etchant, oxidants, corrosives, finger prints, oils or contaminants that cannot be removed.
  • The standard will not be accepted if it has been altered by written identification or labels not originally supplied by VLSI Standards. This includes using marker pens to identify model or serial numbers on the front or backside of the substrate and/or the use of customer supplied labels.
  • All products must be packaged in their own original product specific containers unless written permission stating otherwise is obtained from VLSI Standards prior to shipping the product for recertification.

**Please note:  Recertified standards are packaged in new containers with new labels. If the customer has important information written on the old label, such as internal tracking numbers, the information should be recorded by the customer prior to being submitted for recertification.

Product Specific Flow Charts

Once a product has been received at VLSI Standards, we duplicate the steps outlined in the Generic Product Flow Chart. Our inspection capabilities may reveal damages undetected by your inspection. If the product fails our visual inspection, the customer will be immediately notified and we will suggest purchasing a replacement standard. A more detailed procedure is performed after our visual inspection which involves the product specific calibration procedure and documentation. If the standard does not pass this procedure, the customer will be immediately notified and invoiced for the work performed. Products which are recertified are returned with a new Certificate of Calibration or Qualification Report.

What is an RMA Number?

RMA numbers or Returned Material Authorization numbers provide a method of referencing and tracking customer property, sent to VLSI Standards. When a customer wishes to return a standard for recertification, they must contact VLSI Standards by phone or fax to obtain an RMA number. This number must appear on all purchasing and shipping documentation. A copy of the purchase order must accompany the shipping documentation and should reference the RMA number assigned to the product. If you have questions about the status of your standard while it is in the recertification process, please reference your RMA number when contacting the factory.

How Should I Package My Standard?

All products must be packaged in their original VLSI Standards' containers. This includes the protective container (plastic containers and pedestals and individual wafer carriers) and whenever, possible the packing box which is specifically designed to protect the standard during shipping. Products that are shipped in individual wafer carriers must be placed measurement side face down, with the container spring or "spider" on top and the cover tightly locked. Other products such as Step Height Standards that are packaged in custom designed plastic containers must be returned with the container tightly closed. Do not use tape to seal the container. It is recommended that all products be placed in plastic sealable bags. Double bagging in the cleanroom is required for all contamination sensitive products.

**Please note:: There will be an additional $100 packaging replacement fee for any standards not returned in their original containers. This may also cause a delay in the processing of your recalibration order.

The packing box and standard containers were designed to protect the standard during shipment. This is the best way to return materials since it reduces the risk of damage to your property and minimizes contamination which can occur if the standard is not packaged properly. It is strongly suggested that you use the original packaging to return products to VLSI Standards.

Click Here to View VLSI's Approved Packaging

Shipping and Handling Instructions

Package your standards according to the instructions listed above and reference the RMA number on the packaging slip, purchase order and all associated documentation. All inbound and outbound shipping, customs and handling charges are the sole responsibility of the customer. If you have any special shipping instructions, they should be noted on the purchase order and accompanying documentation.

Our Commitment to Quality

The Recertification Service was established to prolong the life of your standards and to help you meet the demands of your quality program. Please remember that although these standards are designed for durability, they must be handled carefully and that some applications due to their measurement methodology will damage the surface of the standard.

Our Commitment to Quality means that we must meet stringent product specifications. If the standard does not meet our specifications, or if it is damaged, a calibration certificate will not be issued and charges for work conducted will be invoiced. It is in your best interest to use these guidelines to evaluate your products thoroughly before sending them to VLSI Standards and to follow the guidelines carefully.

The Generic Product Flow Chart Outlines the Steps to Certification

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