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Uncertainty software ensures consistency in trade controls and legislation

The EUREKA E! 3106 UNCERTAINTY MANAGER project has developed powerful software to provide a fast, reliable means of evaluating measurement uncertainty in analytical chemistry.

The EUREKA E! 3106 UNCERTAINTY MANAGER project has developed powerful software to provide a fast, reliable means of evaluating measurement uncertainty in analytical chemistry. It is now possible to carry out assessments automatically in minutes, guaranteeing consistency in testing from checking quality of trade goods and confirming the accuracy of doping tests on athletes to enabling tougher environmental legislation. Knowing the real value of measurements is key to open trade and to effective legislation. But, the 25,000 public and private control laboratories around the world must take the same approach to checking values in areas from testing and calibration to food and pharmaceutical quality, environmental control and sports medicine. Knowledge of the uncertainty in results is a precondition for correctly assessing measurements accuracy. To meet these demands, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) launched its Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurements (GUM) in 1995. This is applicable to all levels of accuracy in all fields but addresses physical quantities. The European analytical chemistry association Eurachem produced its own guide – Quantifying uncertainty in chemistry – that translates GUM for chemical measurements in areas such as manufacturing quality control, regulatory compliance, calibration of standards and equipment, and certification of reference materials, as well as research and development. However, these guides tend to be theoretical and time consuming. “We needed software to remove the barriers,” explains Dr Bruno Wampfler of the Swiss federal materials science and technology research institute (EMPA), coordinator of UNCERTAINTY MANAGER. This EUREKA project brought together testing laboratories, IT specialists and research centres in Austria, Germany and Switzerland to automate the process. Unlike other available techniques, UNCERTAINTY MANAGER offers unique benefits, not least fully automated evaluation, a large reference database and a powerful reporting tool. “The reputation of the EUREKA label enabled us to obtain industrial participation in this project and is helping us to gain valuable visibility for the results,” adds Dr Wampfler. The software is already being made available through project partner VWR International, with continuing technical support from EMPA. Contact: Empa - Materials Science & Technology Lerchenfeldstrasse 5, CH-9014 St. Gallen, Switzerland Dr Bruno Wampfler Tel.: +41 (71) 274 77 86, Fax: +41 (71) 274 77 88 Email: bruno.wampfler@empa.chThe EUREKA Initiative aims to strengthen European competitiveness by promoting cross-border, market-oriented, collaborative R&D. It enables industry and research institutes from 35 member countries and the EU to collaborate in a bottom-up approach to developing and exploiting innovative technologies. Since 1985, substantial public and private funding has been deployed through EUREKA, an intergovernmental network to support leading edge R&D. More information about EUREKA may be found at: www.eureka.be