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Topic Digitalisation of the Quality Infrastructure (QI)

(Digitale) QI – Ein Instrument der Nachhaltigkeit

Metrologie, Normung/Standardisierung, Akkreditierung, Konformitätsbewertung und Marktüberwachung sind die fünf Pfeiler von Qualität bzw. Qualitätssicherung. Deutschland genießt in diesem Bereich mit etablierten Spitzeninstitutionen und führenden Forschungseinrichtungen weltweit hohe Anerkennung.

Die fünf Pfeiler bilden zusammen die bisherige Qualitätsinfrastruktur (QI). Deren digitale und nachhaltige Transformation ist Aufgabe des Themenfelds "Digitalisierung der QI". Ziel ist eine interoperable integrierte "Qualitätssicherung 4.0" im Rahmen der Plattform Industrie 4.0.   

Die Opens external link in new windowUnited Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) hat vor kurzem eine Übersicht nationaler Qualitätsinfrastrukturen von 137 Ländern unter dem Titel Opens external link in new windowQI4SD – Quality Infrastructure for Sustainable Development Index publiziert. Die deutsche QI steht darin weltweit auf Platz 1. Wichtig dabei ist, dass die Pflege und der Ausbau der Qualitätsinfrastruktur auf viele der insgesamt siebzehn Opens external link in new windowUN-Nachhaltigkeitsziele (SDG) einzahlt, etwa auf die Ziele 1 (Armutsbekämpfung), 2 (Hungerbekämpfung), 3 (Gesundheit), 9 (Industrie, Innovation, Infrastruktur) und 12 (Nachhaltigkeit von Verbrauch und Produktion).

Globales QI-Ranking der UNIDO: Deutschland auf Platz 1.

Das Opens external link in new windowBundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz (BMWK) und das Opens external link in new windowBundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) fördern im Rahmen der Initiative Opens external link in new windowGPQI die Implementierung bzw. den Ausbau der Qualitätsinfrastruktur in den Ländern des Globalen Südens, ähnlich wie das die Opens external link in new windowGruppe Internationale Zusammenarbeit der PTB (9.3) seit Jahren vorantreibt. Gemeinsames Ziel ist der Transfer der im Rahmen der deutschen QI und ihrer Digitalisierung gewonnenen Erkenntnisse dorthin, wo sie am dringendsten benötigt werden. 

Die Digitalisierung der Qualitätsinfrastruktur

Automatically running tests, quality certificates that can be retrieved anywhere in the world and quickly developed assessment methods for new products - digitalisation offers enormous potential for the quality infrastructure (QI) to streamline and accelerate processes.  To ensure that "Made in Germany" also stands for trust in quality and safety in the future, we have been working in the Opens external link in new windowQI-Digital initiative since 2021 with other central players in the German quality infrastructure: BAM, DAkkS, DIN and DKE and with support from the BMWK. Coordinator of PTB's share in the initiative and of PTB's thematic field Digitalisation of the Quality Infrastructure is Dr Jens Niederhausen.

We are creating an innovation ecosystem in which we develop digitally networked structures, procedures and QI tools with a network from industry, research and society. The basis of our practical case studies are the test environments for "Quality Assurance in Additive Manufacturing", "Reliable Hydrogen Filling Station" and "AI in Medicine". The PTB is also home to the Opens internal link in current windowQI Digital office, which is headed by Opens internal link in current windowHelga Hansen.

IT platform for the structural foundation of the QI

With the European Metrology Cloud, PTB has been working on a federated data space for transnational metrology since 2018 as part of its digitisation strategy.  On this basis, we are creating a new structure of interoperable links for generally accepted QI processes with Opens internal link in current windowQuality-X, which will be usable for the German Industry 4.0 platform, Manufacturing-X, Catena-X and the European Gaia-X project. 

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Digital processes for more effective and efficient QI

Also on the basis of the digitisation strategy, digital certificates have been developed at PTB since 2017. The Opens external link in new windowDigital Calibration Certificate (DCC) is now being tested in practice and is intended to replace the paper calibration certificates. In the QI Digital Pilot Project Reliable Hydrogen Refuelling Station, we are continuing the work to also make the certificates in the area of conformity assessment (Digital Certificate of Conformance, D-CoC) digital and machine-readable. The development work will initially concentrate on legal metrology and the legally regulated area of explosion protection.

Beyond the project, PTB promotes the technological development of the hydrogen economy in terms of metrology and safety and contributes to the establishment of a reliable quality infrastructure. In the interactive city, you can see how measurements, analyses and explosion protection work around the energy carrier hydrogen, using the examples of residential buildings, industry and filling stations:

QI for trust in artificial intelligence

The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) methods is increasingly accelerating the development of digital products and services. With the growing use of AI, the need for clear rules and consideration in the quality infrastructure is increasing. PTB has already been researching methods for quality assessment and assurance for AI systems in the health sector for some time. Within the framework of QI-Digital, we have expanded these activities and created the competence area "Opens external link in new windowMetrology for AI in Medicine (M4AIM)". The aim is to build up long-term AI competences at PTB with a focus on the evaluation of AI methods.

In the QI-Digital pilot project Artificial Intelligence in Medical Technology, we are now developing foundations for an objective evaluation of artificial intelligence (AI) based on three quantifiable performance criteria: Explainability, Robustness and Uncertainty. Another focus is the quality of test and training data, for the evaluation of which we are researching new methods and tools. Finally, we are developing procedures for generating synthetic reference data and building reference data sets for use cases in intensive care medicine and dosimetry.

QI for new products and manufacturing processes

Additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) offers new possibilities for the flexible production of complex products. For small and medium-sized enterprises in particular, this opens up a wide range of economic potential. In the pilot project Additive Manufacturing for SMEs, we are developing methods for reliable and efficient quality assurance of additively manufactured components using exemplary manufacturing process chains.

PTB's focus is on hybrid manufacturing. Here, additive manufacturing is combined with conventional post-processing. We characterise the sample components with different methods, such as computer tomography, in order to determine criteria for quality control. The project results are used to develop recommendations as to which types and classes of measuring equipment are particularly suitable for the use of hybrid systems during production in small and medium-sized enterprises.

2nd Forum QI-Digital (10.-11.10.2023)

Energy transition, new manufacturing methods and the use of artificial intelligence in medicine - all this and much more is the focus of the 2nd QI Digital Forum, which will take place this year on 10 and 11 October 2023. Under the motto "Together for the quality of the future", everything revolves around the further development of the quality infrastructure and the fascinating opportunities that arise from its digitalisation.

Opens external link in new window 2nd QI Digital Forum

When: 10 and 11 October 2023

Where: German Institute for Standardisation (DIN), Burggrafenstraße 6, 10787 Berlin, Germany

Consortium Partners of the Initiative QI-Digital