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
- 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
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
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.
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
The Generic Product Flow Chart Outlines the Steps to Certification