Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Strategy plan responsibility of the national metrology institute for metrology requirements in testing

In order to conduct product testing according to new technical requirements as well as according to ISO/IEC 17025 standard, availability of traceable measurement and reference standards is essential. It is the responsibility of an NMI to provide adequate metrological support to national testing needs, if it is required and justified to be solved on national level. NMI's metrological support is also needed in uncertainty calculations and other metrology related issues.

The full text of strategy in Slovene is attached to the INCOLAB report and is available at

Short summary of the strategy plan for the development of national metrology infrastructure for the requirements of testing outlines the two main metrology areas that mainly deal with the subject: system of national measurement standards and legal metrology. These two areas are in principle key factors for the entire technical infrastructure of a country, regardless of what is the basic structure of the organisation of the national metrology system. The two areas provide the metrology support for all test requirements, either in regulated or in non-regulated area. It is important to realise, that regulated area covers only a part of testing related to safety, while the much broader concept of quality requires an extensive infrastructure of measurement standards in order to ensure traceability of measurements, appropriate uncertainty evaluations, organising the inter-comparissons, etc. The national metrology system as such, could be in principle a centralised one, a distributed system or in many cases a combination of both. Each formal structure has its specific characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, while the basic idea of supporting testing capabilities in order to enable conformity assessment should be fully realised.

Legal metrology, especially with the respect to the implementation of Measuring Instrument Directive, incorporates to a great extent the producers of measuring equipment within the activities, which were traditionally covered by national legal metrology departments. Besides the responsibility of an NMI, there are other governmental bodies, responsible for the implementation of various other EU directives, transposed into national legislation. The real life implementation by a variety of different testing laboratories requires traceability for their test and measurement activities, which is the responsibility of the system of national measurement standards, either delivered directly at the highest level of national metrology laboratories, or by other, hierarchically lower levels, such as secondary or reference laboratories as a part of a national calibration service.

It is therefore the responsibility of an NMI to develop and establish those metrology areas and activities, which provide assistance in measurement traceability to all regulated and non-regulated test requirements that are of certain importance within particular countries. It would be unrealistically to expect that all test requirements could realise their traceability on the national level, since in many cases that is not economically justified. In such cases, an NMI should be able to provide test laboratories with appropriate information of adequate providers of traceability.

In most cases NMIs are able to provide traceability majority of basic SI units and a number of derived units. This is already a guarantee, that even derived units, which are not necessarily realised on a national level, could be traceable to the basic SI units, although not necessarily at the smallest uncertainty level.

The responsibility of an NMI would therefore be to provide measurement traceability, if only possible, for all those areas of physical and chemical measurements, which are subject to the national (EU) legislation. In addition they should also cover areas of national importance in terms of industry, services, defence, etc.

An important issue are the requirements for all such laboratories, since their traceability is the cornerstone for the conformity assessment of the tested products. It is therefore the absolute requirement that the quality systems of laboratories, which provide traceability, are fully in line with the standard ISO/IEC 17025, being ideally accredited or assessed according to the equivalent procedures to formal accreditation-by-accreditation bodies, being themselves EA members and MLA signatories.

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University of Ljubljana
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