Logo of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt
Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Digitalization

Digitalisation - Core Objective 3

PTB develops holistic concepts for the handling of measuring instruments and measurement data

New measurement devices often contain distributed, partially virtualised components and use services from the cloud. However, in regulated areas, the barriers in terms of approval and conformity assessment are high when measuring instruments include such modern communication and information technologies. Manufacturers increasingly see this as a barrier to innovation and fear long-term competitive disadvantages. Therefore, in a digitally networked economy and industry, holistic concepts for the handling of measurement data and the networking of measuring instruments are necessary. This also includes that these concepts must meet the requirements of legal and industrial metrology. So far, these two areas have been largely separated in their metrological treatment, as they are subject to different legal and organisational framework conditions. In the course of the digital transformation, however, these boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred. PTB can support here by developing legally compliant reference architectures. The focus is on digital interfaces and interoperability across application areas. In particular, architectures for the legally compliant separation of the measuring instrument software into a legally relevant and a free part enable manufacturers to develop new innovative offers, regular software updates and individual customer adaptations without having to go through the approval process again.

The "Metrology Cloud"

Basic building blocks of the Metrology Cloud as a decentralized platform for digitalization processes in legal metrology

The PTB has initiated a pilot project to build a comprehensive digital infrastructure which will bring together already existing but still unconnected architectures and databases - the "Metrology Cloud". With this digital quality infrastructure, the digital upgrading of legal metrology can succeed: The "Metrology Cloud" is intended to enable the coupling of already existing data infrastructures and to provide differentiated and secure access for all interested parties (conformity assessment bodies, market surveillance, manufacturers and users in legal metrology). It thus provides the basis for new concepts for coordination, concentration, simplification, harmonisation and quality assurance of metrological services. Starting with a trustworthy core of this digital infrastructure at PTB, the aim is to gradually expand the "Metrology Cloud" into a "European Metrology Cloud".

The "Metrology Cloud" as a central access point for the data is a prerequisite for the efficient use of modern big-data analysis methods, as they are already used outside the legally regulated area of metrology. For example, the concepts developed there for predictive maintenance are based on the fact that continuously available data makes it possible to make forecasts for future developments. The aim is to proactively maintain machines and plants and to predict malfunctions before they have an impact or failures occur. In principle, this concept could also be used to make measurement, calibration and verification more efficient.

For more information about the "Metrology Cloud", please see here.



Prof. Dr. Florian Thiel, Opens internal link in new windowMetrological Information Technology 8.5, Phone: +49 30 3481-7529, e-mail:Opens window for sending email Florian.Thiel(at)ptb.de

Digital Calibration Certificate (DCC)

According to ISO 17025, the calibration certificate is the main means of communication in the calibration hierarchy or quality infrastructure. In the course of the digital transformation it must therefore be adapted accordingly to a Opens internal link in current windowdigital calibration certificate. It is planned to define a digital exchange document based on an XML document. The basic structure is planned as follows: In a highly regulated area, general information, e.g. manufacturer, calibration laboratory, date, data format, etc., is stored; a moderately regulated area contains the measurement results of the calibration (at least in SI units) and a number of conventions; a largely unregulated area finally contains all other information to be passed on, such as the measured values.

More information on the DCC can be found Initiates file downloadhere.



Dr. Siegfried Hackel, 1.01 Digitalisation in the Department 1, Phone:(0531) 592-1017, E-Mail: Opens window for sending emailSiegfried. Hackel(at)ptb.de

Communication of metrological data on the "Internet of Things"


The "Internet of Things" involves the digital communication of data and of the algorithms that are based on it. The same principle is used in Industry 4.0 for networked production. For this purpose, measured data from sensors are used in many places as a bridge between the real world and the virtual world. When developing the digital calibration certificate (DCC), PTB is therefore also paying special attention to its applicability in Industry 4.0 and in similar contexts. In addition, PTB, together with a European consortium (Opens external link in new windowEMPIR 17IND02 SmartCom), is developing data models and recommendations to transfer metrological data on the "Internet of Things". This includes, in particular, the development of a "D-SI" data model for SI-based, machine-interpretable communication of measurement data and measuring instrument data. PTB's goal is to establish the SI as a link between different systems in such a way that the units are always automatically converted to the SI base units for the machine.

More information about the SmartCom project can be found Opens external link in new windowhere.



Dr. Shanna Schönhals, Opens internal link in current windowWorking Group 1.24 Information Technology Force and Torque, Phone: +49 531 592-1240, Email: Opens window for sending emailShanna.Schoenhals(at)ptb.de

Metrology for the factory of the future and industry 4.0

The application of metrological fundamentals to processes in industrial IoT requires new methods such as the calibration of digital sensors, consideration of communication problems and network effects, and measurement uncertainty methods for aggregating the resulting data.

Together with a number of European partners, PTB is therefore conducting the EMPIR project 17IND12 Met4FoF ("Opens external link in new windowMetrology for the factory of the future"), in which precisely these questions are to be addressed. Calibration methods for sensors with purely digital output and MEMS temperature sensors are being developed, as well as mathematical methods for determining measurement uncertainties in industrial IoT.

In the BMBF project "Opens external link in new windowAAS-based modelling for the analysis of variable CPS", PTB continues these developments and, together with its partners, integrates metrological principles along the RAMI 4.0 model. 



Dr. Sascha Eichstädt, Opens internal link in current windowDepartment 9.4 "Metrology for digital transformation", Phone:(030) 3481-2008, EmailOpens window for sending emailSascha.Eichstaedt(at)ptb.de

Safe and robust calibrated measurement systems for digital transformation

The topic of "data as an economic good" is of great importance to industrial companies in the value-added chain and will become even more important in the future as a result of the advancing digital transformation. The quality of the data obtained, including from sensors and actuators, and the reliability of the statements and conclusions derived from it are of central importance, especially for industry. The reliable determination and assurance of data quality is thus the prerequisite for the successful use of data as an economic good.

For this reason, PTB is working in the BMWi lighthouse project Opens external link in new windowGEMIMEG-II with a national consortium from industry and research with the aim of developing a secure, consistent, legally compliant and legally compatible end-to-end availability of information for the implementation of reliable, networked measurement systems. 



Dr. Siegfried Hackel, 1.01 Digitalisation in Department 1, Phone:(0531) 592-1017, Email: Opens window for sending emailSiegfried.Hackel(at)ptb.de

Metrology by design

A suitable data model for the communication of measurement data, a connection to the Metrology Cloud as well as the efficient use of digital information about the measuring device should ideally already be considered during the development; in other words: "Metrology by design". PTB intends to establish this approach by involving measuring instrument manufacturers and users at an early stage.