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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Digitalization

Digitalisation - Core Objective 1

Also in a digitalized world will PTB be committed to ensuring uniformity in metrology 

The quality infrastructure (QI) in Germany is an essential guarantor of economic success. QI is based on the interaction of metrology, standardization, accreditation, conformity assessment and market surveillance. PTB plays a very important role in this. One of its core legal tasks is to ensure the uniformity of metrology according to the Units and Time Act. PTB is thus a guarantor for ensuring measurement trueness, measurement stability and testability and strongly supports international harmonization in these areas. In order to be able to achieve these goals now also in a digitalized world, PTB is developing applications such as digital calibration certificates, is researching the comparability of real and virtual measurements in the "Metrology for Virtual Measuring Instruments" (VirtMet) Competence Center and is working on objective evaluation methods for machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Digital calibration certificates

In industrial metrology, PTB supports the calibration sector with the appropriate infrastructure in developing machine-readable digital certificates for the mutual recognition of their validity. An example of this is the Opens internal link in current windowdigital calibration certificate which contains the calibration information in a structure that is comprehensible for computers and can be secured with a digital seal. By doing so, this information can be read out directly from digital systems and can automatically be used further on. In addition to using this procedure for digital calibration certificates, it can also be used for any other metrological documents, such as machine-readable certificates of conformity or digital test reports. Via suitable software interfaces, the information contained in these documents can be used worldwide.


Prof. Dr. Siegfried Hackel, Project Digitalisation of Division 1, Phone: +49 531 592-1017
Opens window for sending email siegfried.hackel@ptb.de

The "Metrology for Virtual Measuring Instruments" Competence Center

Within the scope of digitalization, the importance of mathematical and physical simulations and computer-based experiments is increasing rapidly. If such simulations are used to imitate real measuring devices and measurements, these can be designated as a "virtual measuring instrument". Here, the task of metrology is to ensure confidence in simulation results if these are to be used in the same way as real measurements. For this reason, PTB has established the "Metrology for Virtual Measuring Instruments" (VirtMet) Competence Center. Here, it carries out interdisciplinary research and pools expertise in order to develop concrete virtual measurement procedures and to work on overarching questions, for example: How can the comparability of virtual and real measurements be established? Which standards are needed for interfaces, metadata and data formats? And how can virtual experiments for complex measurement systems be handled with machine learning methods? 



Dr. Sascha Eichstädt, Opens internal link in current windowPSt1 "Coordination Digitalization", Phone:(030) 3481-2008, Opens window for sending emailSascha.Eichstaedt(at)ptb.de

Machine learning and artificial intelligence

A procedure developed at PTB and based on machine learning helps to read mammography images better. (Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

Digital change continuously allows new products and processes to emerge that push proven quality-assurance measures to their limits. This is particularly evident in the case of complex products which dynamically change their state after they have been placed on the market. To be reliable, a product would need to be tested several times during its life cycle, sometimes continuously. As of today, there are still no practicable solutions for this. An example of this is applications of machine learning (as a type of artificial intelligence – AI) in medical devices. Although numerous innovative medical products are currently being developed with a high share of software, only a fraction of them make the leap into the healthcare market. A major reason for this is the lack of structured processes as well as the lack of a quality infrastructure for an objective, verifiable and reproducible validation of AI technologies. For the use of machine learning, PTB is working on defining objective evaluation methods to assess the quality of algorithms; together with medical experts, PTB is developing procedures for the provision of reference data; and it collaborates on norms and standards for quantifiable and verifiable data quality criteria. For example, researchers at PTB are training an artificial neural network in such a way that it is able to assess the quality of individual mammography images. A virtual mammography developed by PTB which has led to a huge database of images, each with precisely known characteristics, is particularly helpful. In this context, PTB is also involved in the development and establishment of a digital quality platform with which AI-based solutions can be validated. This platform is to provide comprehensible criteria for the determination of data quality and to ensure that the evaluation by a computer is objective and cannot be manipulated.

Departments involved

Opens internal link in current window6.2 Dosimetry for Radiation Therapy and Diagnostic Radiology

Opens internal link in current window8.4 Mathematical Modelling and Data Analysis

Digitalisierung im gesetzlichen Messwesen

Die digitale Transformation macht auch nicht Halt vor dem gesetzlichen Messwesen, also in Bereichen geregelt durch das Mess- und Eichgesetz und die Mess- und Eichverordnung (mehr Informationen Opens internal link in current windowhier).

Über den bereits genannten Bereich der Medizinprodukte hinaus, finden digitale Technologien zunehmend Eingang in Messeinrichtungen, die unter das MessEG, bzw. die MessEV fallen. So beschäftigt sich die PTB beispielsweise bereits seit einiger Zeit mit Fragestellungen zur Verwendung verteilter Messgeräte, zukunftsfähigen Methoden für Opens internal link in current windowStichprobenverfahren sowie mit der Opens internal link in current windowSoftwareprüfung bei der Bauartzulassung von Messgeräten. Auch im Bereich "Digitalisierung der Energiewende" ist die PTB aktiv eingebunden, insbesondere bei der Ausgestaltung und Prüfung von Anforderungen für Smart Meter Gateways (SMGW). 

Darüber hinaus arbeitet die PTB auch aktiv an der Verwendung digitaler Technologien für die Verschlankungen von Prozessen im gesetzlichen Messwesen. Dafür entwickelt die PTB den Prototypen einer Opens internal link in current window"European Metrology Cloud" mit Anbindung an GAIA-X.

Das gesetzliche Messwesen wird sich durch die digitale Transformation verändern. Die PTB ist in zahlreichen Vorhaben aktiv an den damit einhergehenden Veränderungen pro-aktiv beteiligt und gestaltet diese mit. Dabei ist ein intensiver Austausch mit allen Beteiligten ein wesentlicher Bestandteil der Arbeiten der PTB.

Ansprechpartner "Gesetzliches Messwesen"

Dr. Dirk Ratschko, Opens internal link in current windowFB9.2 "Gesetzliches Messwesen und Konformitätsbewertung", Tel.: (0531) 592 9200, Opens local program for sending emailDirk.Ratschko(at)ptb.de

Ansprechpartner "Metrology Cloud" und "Metrologische IT"

Dr. habil. Florian Thiel, Opens internal link in current windowFB8.5 "Metrologische Informationstechnik", Tel.: (030) 3481 7592, Opens local program for sending emailFlorian.Thiel(at)ptb.de