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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Digitalization

Into the Future with Metrology

The Challenges of Digital Transformation

Foto: JT Jeeraphun / Adobe Stock

We are in the middle of a digital revolution. In households, trade and industry, new opportunities are being created everywhere by digital data traffic. The "Internet of Things" is driving this development at breakneck speed: machines exchange information directly with each other via digital interfaces. Entire production processes are already fully networked or have digital twins in a cloud. The catchphrase is "Industry 4.0". Measuring devices are also in part inseparably linked with digital technology and automated data processing.

This transformation is a major challenge to the sophisticated system of quality infrastructure, consisting of metrology, accreditation, conformity assessment, norms & standards and market surveillance. In order to be able to continue to guarantee the safety of (and confidence in) measured values, PTB has compiled all the necessary tools under the umbrella of a comprehensive digitalization strategy – from digital calibration certificates and virtual measuring instruments to intelligent research data management and digitally supported testing and approval processes. Thus, the German economy's commitment to providing quality shall continue to apply in a digitalized world.

Important publications by PTB

AI Strategy 2021

PTB has developed their own strategy for strategic planning of activities in the area of artificial intelligence (AI).

AI Strategy of PTB (German only; English version to follow soon): Initiates file downloadDownload

Digital transformation strategy 2020

This is the updated strategy on metrology and digital transformation of PTB 

Metrology for digital transformation of economy and society | 2020: Initiates file downloadDownload


Siegel des BIPM

Megacoole Nachricht für die Welt der Metrologie: Es gibt neue Einheiten-Vorsätze (Präfixe) für extrem große und extrem kleine Zahlenangaben: Ronna und Quetta sowie ronto und quecto. Die Bekanntheit von Mega (eine Million) oder milli (ein Tausendstel) werden sie sicherlich nicht so schnell erreichen. Aber die Erweiterung war beispielsweise deshalb notwendig, weil durch die Digitalisierung die...

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In einer zunehmend digitalisierten Welt muss auch die Qualitätssicherung von Produkten, Prozessen und Dienstleistungen neu gedacht werden. In der Initiative QI-Digital werden in praxisnahen Pilotprojekten Lösungen und grundlegende Strukturen und Verfahren für die hierzu nötige digitale Transformation der Qualitätsinfrastruktur (QI) entwickelt. In ihrer strategischen Ausrichtung, konkreten...

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Die Qualität deutscher Produkte genießt einen ausgezeichneten Ruf. Dies liegt an einem ausgeklügelten System zur Qualitätssicherung und zum Verbraucherschutz – der sogenannten Qualitätsinfrastruktur. Doch mit der Digitalisierung kommen große Herausforderungen auf diese Qualitätssicherung zu: Wie lässt sich beispielsweise die Qualität von Künstlicher Intelligenz in der Medizintechnik messbar und...

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Auf der Hannover Messe 2022, die dieses Jahr vom 30. Mai bis zum 2. Juni stattfindet, präsentieren die Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) und die Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) die Initiative Qualitätsinfrastruktur (QI)-Digital. An zwei praxisnahen Beispielen – Wasserstofftankstelle und additive Fertigungskette – können Besucherinnen und Besucher erleben, wie eine...

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The highly accurate form measurement of optical aspheres and free-form surfaces represents a great challenge in metrology. A new method uses artificial intelligence (AI) – i.e., deep neural networks – to reconstruct optical surfaces from the measurement data of a tilted-wave interferometer. In addition, this method quantifies the uncertainty of the prediction.

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digitales Kalibrierzertifikat

The quality infrastructure (QI) in Germany is essential for the country's economic success.The PTB wants to ensure uniformity in metrology even in a digitized world and be a guarantor for measurement accuracy, measurement stability and testability. To this end, it develops and operates:

  • digital calibration certificates
  • The "Metrology for Virtual Measuring Instruments" Competence Center
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence

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Basic elements of research data management

PTB participates in the sustainable usability of research data. It ensures that research results are properly documented, archived in the long term and made publicly accessible free of charge if possible

  • Research Data Management
  • National Research Data Infrastructure

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PTB develops holistic concepts for the handling of measuring instruments and measurement data, taking into account the interaction of digital and analog components of measurement systems and promotes the networking of all interest groups involved. Central components are:

  • The "Metrology Cloud"
  • Communication of metrological data on the "Internet of Things"
  • "Metrology by design"

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PTB supports the efficient and safe use of digital technologies. Among the building blocks of this digital transformation are the electronic file, in short E-File, and the PTB customer portal E-Service. With this service, a web-based order data processing system is to be established which is closely linked to the E-File system.

  • E-File
  • Electronic Customer Portal E-Service

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Core Objective 5: active participation of all employees in digitalization

A digital transformation can only succeed if no one is left behind and if digital innovation is stimulated. For this purpose, PTB is developing, among other things, formats for the active support of digital pioneers within its own ranks and offers a wide range of training and learning opportunities for all employees. These include a variety of seminars, training courses and learning opportunities, promotion of opportunities to participate and become involved, as well as regular "Digital Workplace" theme days as a forum for information and exchange.

Steering Group for DigitalizationSteering Group for Digitalization

PTB's Steering Group for Digitalization


Dr. Alexander Oppermann

Department 9.4 "Metrology for digital transformation"

Phone: +49 30 3481 7483

Opens local program for sending emailalexander.oppermann(at)ptb.de



Dr.-Ing. Prof. h. c. Frank Härtig

Vice President

Phone: +49 531 592-2001

Opens local program for sending emailfrank.haertig@ptb.de


Dr. Thorsten Schrader

Head of Division 1 Mechanics and Acoustics

 Phone: +49 531 592-1010

Opens local program for sending emailthorsten.schrader@ptb.de


Hon.-Prof. Dr. Stefan Kück

Head of Division 4 Optics

Phone: +49 531 592-4010

Opens local program for sending emailstefan.kueck(at)ptb.de


Dr. Harald Bosse

Head of Division 5 Precision Engineering

Phone: +49 531 592-5010

Opens local program for sending emailharald.bosse@ptb.de


Prof. Dr. Tobias Schäffter

Head of Division 8 Medical Physics and Metrological Information Technology

Phone: +49 30 3481-7343

Opens local program for sending emailtobias.schaeffter@ptb.de


Dr. Frank Lienesch

Head of Division 9 Legal and International Metrology

Phone: +49 531 592-3600

Opens local program for sending emailfrank.lienesch(at)ptb.de


Manfred Gahrens

Head of Division Cross-Sectional Services

Phone: +49 531 592-8010

Opens local program for sending emailmanfred.gahrens@ptb.de