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Into the Future with Metrology - The Challenges of Digitalization

Digital is better: DAkkS and PTB starting pilot phase for digitalization project

Digital Calibration Certificates with a digital accreditation symbol are machine-readable, resistant to manipulation and verifiable.

Joint press release from DAkkS and PTB

The Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle (DAkkS) and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have kicked off the pilot phase of the Digital Calibration Certificate with a digital accreditation symbol. As central stakeholders of the German quality infrastructure, they are both taking an important step toward digital transformation and the automation of manufacturing and quality monitoring processes. 

Calibration certificates help to automate production processes. (Symbol image: PTB, click on image for high resolution)

Both partners have announced the official start of the pilot phase today at the 3rd International DCC Conference that is taking place as an online event from 28 February to 2 March 2023. The project will initially be limited to the customers participating in the pilot phase. After the end of the pilot phase, the services will be made available in practice to all interested conformity assessment bodies, such as accredited calibration and testing laboratories. With this step, DAkkS and PTB are substantiating their close cooperation in terms of groundbreaking digitalization projects in the fields of accreditation, conformity assessment and metrology.

Two digitalization projects combined

Calibration certificates are used as proof of the metrological traceability of measurement results in many fields, and especially in industry. The Digital Calibration Certificate (DCC), which has primarily been developed by PTB as the national metrology institute, serves to perform the electronic processing and dissemination of calibration results as well as their uniform interpretation.

The upcoming pilot phase is intended to investigate in which way these human- and machine-readable calibration certificates can be integrated into the processes of accredited conformity assessment bodies and those of their customers. The participating accredited bodies will receive the new digital accreditation symbol from DAkkS. Such a symbol can be used for marking both the DCC as well as PDF-based result reports and conformity attestations. This digital national emblem provided by DAkkS is cryptographically secured and electronically verifiable. Due to the process being linked to the digital accreditation symbol, the identity of the conformity assessment body and the status of its accreditation can be read out, and the authenticity of the content can be confirmed in the form of an “eAttestation” in a way that is resistant to manipulation.

Automated, efficient and safe by means of digitalization

With the piloting of the DCC and of the digital accreditation symbol, DAkkS and PTB are setting the course for the future and are also taking possible steps in this field on a global scale. By integrating the accreditation symbol into the DCC, all relevant information issued by accredited calibration laboratories is, for the first time, being made available in its entirety in a machine-readable format. Based on this, production processes and their quality assurance can be automated, efficiency can be increased and costs can be saved in the production process in the future.

The aim is to use the results of the pilot phase directly for the further development of the two digitalization projects. In addition, the determination of the necessary interfaces and processes is to lead to the compilation of best-practice guidelines that will facilitate the use of the Digital Calibration Certificate for calibration laboratories. The pilot phase will lay the foundations for making the Digital Calibration Certificates and the digital national emblem of the DAkkS available on a broad scale and in a timely manner.

The project as a component of the “QI-Digital” initiative

The project offers the possibility of digitalizing further processes within the quality infrastructure (QI). It is part of the “QI-Digital” initiative in which DAkkS and PTB are working on viable digital solutions in the different areas of QI (metrology, standardization, accreditations, conformity assessments and market surveillance) together with other partners. The objective is to seamlessly integrate the individual process steps of QI.

Together with DAkkS and PTB, the following institutions are involved in the “QI-Digital” initiative: the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM) (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing), the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) (German Institute for Standardization) and the Deutsche Kommission Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik in DIN and VDE (DKE) (German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies). The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is therefore supporting the “QI-Digital” initiative as an essential contribution to the success of innovative technologies, products and processes to strengthen Germany as an industrial base.

The Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle (DAkkS)

DAkkS is the national accreditation body of the Federal Republic of Germany. By issuing an accreditation, DAkkS confirms that a laboratory or a certification body is qualified to perform its work according to the requirements of internationally valid standards, legal bases and relevant rules. DAkkS also monitors whether these requirements are met. This is its legal mandate. With the accreditations it issues, DAkkS contributes to making products, processes and services safer and to facilitating trade in Europe and worldwide by means of mutual agreements.

The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) is the national metrology institute of Germany and the supreme technical authority of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). It is therefore Germany’s highest authority when it comes to correct and reliable measurements. PTB employs a total of approximately 2,100 staff members at its two sites (Braunschweig and Berlin). They conduct research on fundamental questions concerning the physical units, they calibrate measuring instruments to meet the most demanding requirements, and they perform conformity assessments – many of these with a legal mandate. In cooperation with other stakeholders, PTB is working on a digital quality infrastructure that is geared to the future.


  • Ing. Prof. Dr. iur. Raoul Kirmes, DAkkS, Head of Accreditation Governance, Research and Innovation, Email: afi@dakks.de
  • Dr.-Ing. Prof. h.c. Frank Härtig, Vice President of PTB, Phone: +49 531 592-2000, Email: frank.haertig@ptb.de