World Metrology Day 2022 - Metrology in the Digital Era
The final episode of the 2022 World Metrology Day saga explores EURAMET’s response to internal development needs and probes the organisation’s interactions with representatives of the European and global metrology infrastructure to underpin digitally innovative measurement technologies and services.
Encompassing a very broad scope, metrology can significantly impact the adoption of scientific and technological innovations. From requirements pertaining to an efficient product design and manufacture, to a sustainable management of energy resources and advancements within the environment and health sectors, these and many more domains rely on accurate and comparable measurements.
In this context, the digital transformation vortex underpinning most stages of the production and valorisation chain of goods and services, calls for a ‘raise of game’ in metrology. As explained by the EURAMET General Secretary Mikko Merima,
“our community seeks cooperation with several Partnerships under Horizon Europe to unlock the potential for common advancement triggered by the digital transformation ambitions of the European Union. In November 2021 we have conducted a stakeholder consultation event where our guests have expressed a strong interest to further cultivate the collaborations with EURAMET and the Metrology Partnership in order to build on the existing foundations by bolstering relevant cross-sectorial research and innovation.”
Reflecting about the digital transformation challenges waiting around the corner of EUROLAB, the European Federation of National Associations of Measurement, Testing and Analytical Laboratories and its members, President Paolo Moscatti commented:
“In laboratories, digital transformation is taking place on a variety of levels, from automating basic tasks such as calibrating hardware systems and sample preparation, to processing complex data using advanced analytics software. Despite the many benefits, certain obstacles cannot be overlooked: a successful digital transformation requires not only the right set of tools but also the adequate expertise, guidance and resources to ensure the best outcome. In some instances, laboratories find it challenging to match the fast pace of digital transformation. Organisations such as EUROLAB and EURAMET are here to provide top level expertise acting as interactive platforms for the exchange of best practices, techniques and knowledge to ease the transition towards the digitalised lab of the future.”
A EUROLAB flagship initiative is the international conference 'The Lab of the Future', focusing on topics such as digital transformation, cybersecurity, evolution of metrological skills and the green lab of the future.
“The conference is framed in the context of a broader European project that EUROLAB is currently developing together with its members and experts, to explore the opportunities for digital transformation processes in the laboratory world” highlighted Laura Martin, Secretary of the EUROLAB Board.
Towards global initiatives
Digital transformation impacts metrology on a global level, taking shape for example in the creation of the Digital Task Group of the JCRB. The JCRB, the Joint Committee of the Regional Metrology Organisations (RMOs) and the BIPM, is a coordination organ under the auspices of the CIPM Mutual Recognition Arrangement (CIPM-MRA).
The purpose of the Digital Task Group is to • assess the implications of the digital transformation in metrology on the MRA instruments and processes and • to advise the BIPM/CIPM on the development of digital services underpinning the global quality infrastructure.
Within the frame of international collaboration on digital transformation fostered by the JCRB, EURAMET TC-IM chair Miruna Dobre (SMD, Belgium) evoked the BIPM Application Programming Interface developed for the Key Comparison Database (KCDB-API).
Amid its practicalities, the API can provide the basis for the implementation of digital calibration certificates, thus representing a significant technological advancement that underpins the digital transformation of global metrological services.
“Our colleagues from METAS have promptly responded to the BIPM invitation to test the KCDB-API facility by providing constructive feedback on its current features as well as suggestions for further advancements” Miruna explained. “This initiative is a fine example of concrete actions that RMOs are encouraged to put forward in order to foster confidence and recognition of calibration and measurement certificates, according to the terms of the MRA.”
In a related vein, EURAMET Chairperson Jörn Stenger (PTB, Germany) talked about the Draft Resolution B for the 27th meeting of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM): On the global digital transformation and the International System of Units. The CGPM invites National Metrology Institutes, Regional Metrology Organisations and other stakeholders to maintain and, where possible, increase their existing level of commitment and collaboration with the CIPM to continue the development, promotion and implementation of the Digital Framework of the International System of Units, the Digital SI.
“Successfully achieving the digital transformation of Europe will require engagement from a wide range of metrology, standardisation, accreditation bodies and all organisations with an interest in the quality infrastructure. Our community will consolidate the collaborative exchanges on all levels to support the implementation of the Digital SI through sustained efforts and audacious initiatives undertaken within the framework of the different EURAMET structures, metrology networks and research programmes.”
This thorough incursion into the realm of the European measurement science has shown how EURAMET and the European Partnership on Metrology are key enablers of EU policies, through a continuous provision of metrological solutions fit for the technological and societal pursuits of the Digital Era.