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At the end of October 2008, the 13th International Conference on Legal Metrology was held in Sydney, Australia. A total of 127 participants from 41 member countries and eight corresponding member countries attended this Conference of the International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML), held every four years.

Among the German delegation were, in addition to the author, also Ms. Dr. Petersen from the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology - BMWi), Dr. Wallerus, head of the German Akademie für Metrologie (Academy of Metrology - DAM) and the acting head of the Bayerisches Landesamt für Maß und Gewicht (Bavarian State Office of Weights and Measures - BLMG), as well as Ms. S. Ludwig from the OIML Office at PTB. As technical expert and honorary member of OIML, Prof. Kochsiek, Vice-President (retired) of PTB, also took part in the conference. Further meetings were held in connection with the OIML Conference, e.g. the 43rd Meeting of the International Committee of Legal Metrology (CIML). All resolutions of the 13th OIML Conference and the 43rd CIML Conference are available in the original wording under http://www.oiml.org/download/.

In addition to the adoption of a great number of new or revised OIML recommendations and other OIML documents, two important points were under discussion:

1. OIML-BIPM Rapprochement
A possible further rapprochement of the two international metrology organizations OIML (legal metrology) and BIPM (Meter Convention; scientific and applied metrology) was discussed, see the joint Web portal http://www.metrologyinfo.org/. On the basis of a survey among the CIML members, further discussions with BIPM will be held in 2009, whereby one is in agreement that good cooperation between OIML and Meter Convention is important in the interest of a positive public image of international metrology.

2. Basic and MAA Certificate Systems
The well-known OIML certificate system, introduced in 1991, will now be called the "Basic Certificate System" in order to distinguish it from the new MAA Certificate System (MAA = Mutual Acceptance Arrangement). Until further notice, both certificate systems are valid parallel to one another. However, in future, for each type of measuring instrument for which, within the scope of the MAA, a "Declaration of Mutual Confidence" (DoMC) is signed, a date will be determined by CIML, starting from which only MAA certificates and no Basic certificates may be issued any longer for this type of measuring instrument. In this respect, both systems will in future be complementary (an exact date has not yet been determined).
The MAA Certificate System, enacted in 2003, which is more binding than the previous system, has up to now only met with relatively little acceptance, both at the Issuing Authorities as well as at the manufacturers of measuring instruments. Since 2006, the following DoMCs were signed: Non-automatic weighing instruments (R76), load cells (R60) and cold-water meters (R49). Since then, only a total of 13 MAA certificates have been issued. Essential reasons for the lack of acceptance were the relatively extensive system of mutual acceptance (by accreditation or peer assessment), involving not inconsiderable charges, the distinctly higher cost of an MAA Certificate (€ 530) as opposed to a Basic certificate (€ 159), the so far intended, mandatory end of the well-established Basic Certificate System for DoMC measuring instruments and the exclusion from the scope of the MAA of test results from manufacturers' ISO/IEC 17025 testing laboratories.

In order to confront these problems and thus distinctly increase the acceptance of the MAA in future, it was decided, on the one hand, to adjust the costs for Basic and MAA certificates (€ 350 each, starting from 2009) and, on the other hand, to continue the discussion with recognition of manufacturers' ISO/IEC 17025 testing laboratories, with the goal of establishing this possibility also in the MAA Certification System.

Thus, the essential reasons which so far have argued against participating in the MAA - from the PTB point of view - have been eliminated, so that meanwhile the participation as "Issuing participant" in the DoMCs for non-automatic weighing instruments (R76) and load cells (R60) has been applied for. Further decisions regarding the OIML MAA are expected in June 2009 at the CPR meeting (Committee on Participation Review).

Contact person:

Roman Schwartz, Head of Division 1 "Mechanics and Acoustics", German member of the International Committee of Legal Metrology (CIML),
E-Mail: roman.schwartz@ptb.de