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All over the world – weighing instruments made in Germany

  • International Affairs

Every third weighing instrument worldwide is "Made in Germany". The large market share of Germany's weighing instrument industry reflects the good reputation of its products – they are viewed as precise and dependable. The Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) has also contributed to this success. Its certificates awarded according to OIML (Organisation Internationale de Métrologie Légale), ensure that the weighing instruments tested by PTB can be approved in numerous countries in the world.

Previously the recognition of these certificates was only "morally binding". But since 24.09.2009 PTB has belonged to the circle of ten institutes worldwide, whose certificates are binding. These are certificates which are in line with a new, strongly binding agreement, made by all members of the OIML, the worldwide organisation for legal metrology. PTB may now - on the foundation of this so-called OIML Mutual Acceptance Arrangement (OIML MAA)1 - issue certificates and could in this way provide further impetus to the export of weighing instruments.

From among the roughly one hundred Member States of the OIML, Germany, represented by PTB, belongs to the group of ten countries which are responsible for the certification of non-automatic weighing instruments in the frame of the MAA, as well as to a group of only six states which are permitted to issue such certificates for load cells. The OIML has set itself the aim of achieving the same quality standards for important measuring instruments throughout the whole world, to create fair and dependable foundations for worldwide trade, besides other things.

It is true that for years PTB has been awarding OIML certificates2 which test and confirm the quality of weighing instruments by means of strict criteria, yet their recognition in other OIML Member States was only "morally binding" to date. Since 24.09.2009 PTB's OIML certificates in accordance with OIML MAA have, however, been binding. This means that a weighing instrument tested and certified in accordance with extremely strict metrological and quality-assuring criteria has to be approved in the "implementing" OIML Member States – totally in the interest of the manufacturer.

The inclusion of PTB in the group of those permitted to issue binding certificates has encouraged the German national institute to campaign for an optimisation of the new binding OIML Agreement2. It intends to further the intensive discussions and consultations which have already begun in the executive committees responsible at OIML, which deal with the recognition of manufacturers' test results. The aim is the recognition of manufacturers' test results for weighing instruments and load cells under defined and strictly controlled conditions. That would clearly reduce the time-consuming routine work in the test laboratories.

1 OIML MAA (MAA = Mutual Acceptance Arrangement) in force since 2006

2 in accordance with OIML Recommendations R76 and R60

Contact person:

Roman Schwartz, Div. 1, E-Mail: roman.schwartz@ptb.de


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