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Metrology for the Digitalization of Economy and Society

Digitalization is an area, which will very intensively engage and sustainable change the PTB in the long run. Novel measurands in high frequency technology (5G), imaging techniques (e.g. in medicine) and in the manufacturing technologies require fundamental research to ensure trust in such measurements by establishing their traceability to the SI-unit system. Especially for SMEs this simplifies the decision to invest in new digital technologies and enhances their international competitiveness.

A various number of standards and guidelines nationally as well as internationally have to be revised substantially in the foreseeable future, in order to comply the extensive changes of the digital transformation. Here the international importance of the PTB as a competent partner plays an important role in issues of measurement technology and data analysis. Thereby standardization, especially for SMEs are effective means to enter new markets and to enable new digital business models.

Especially in Germany the legal metrology, with its 160 million devices, counts on the major role of the PTB in digital transformation and needs a full and sustainable support. Therefore, the PTB pushes the digitalization of conformity assessment and market surveillance processes by developing a metrological platform, establishing data based services, cutting down innovation barriers and offering reference architectures. In this way, all partners in legal metrology can benefit from the possibilities of the digitalization.

The PTB counts on existing cooperations as well as national and international platforms for an efficient networking of legal metrology. At the Berlin Initiative “digital capital” the PTB, for instance, uses a tight cooperation with the local excellent research institutes and networks. Moreover, the PTB is engaged in cooperations with representatives of the “Plattform Industrie 4.0”, the “Labs Networks Industrie 4.0” and many more, to advance the metrology research and standardization. Currently, in the field of digitalization international cooperations are striven with a series of EMPIR-proposals within the scope of the programs of horizon2020.

New focal points

Metrological services

  • Digital calibration certificate with maschine interpretable calibration information and digital stamp
  • Digital customer platforms for calibration and conformity conformity assessment
  • Digital quality infrastructure with one shared platform for conformity assessment bodies, market surveillance system, manfactures and costumers of legal metrology

Data analysis

  • Data analysis and measurement uncertainties for high-dimensional quantities
  • Reliability of using maschine learning and big data analyses
  • Dimensionality reduction and disemination of large quantities of data

Communication systems

  • high-frequency measurands of digital communication systems
  • traceability of signal parameters like error vector magnitude and the error rates
  • nonlinear and stochastic high-frequency measurands

Virtual measuring instruments

  • Analyses and feedback of virtual measuring instruments into optical metrology
  • Development of virtual measuring instruments in the area of coordinate metrology for the measuring data analyses
  • Simulation tools for the optical unit, dimensional metrology and CT imaging

Latest activities at PTB

  • EMPIR Projects 17IND02 "SmartCom" and 17IND12 "Met4FoF" started their collaboration on Initiates file downloadMetrology for the Internet of Things in June 2018 with a joint kick-off meeting. 
    Contact:Opens window for sending emailThomas Wiedenhöfer (SmartCom) und Opens window for sending emailSascha Eichstädt (Met4FoF)

  • The internal project team "Digital customer platform for metrological services" is evaluating an Open Source platform solution and discussing with potential external partnerns
    Contact: Opens window for sending emailMichael Brinkschröder

  • The PTB team working on the digital calibration certificate (DCC) is extending in number of application areas and internal labs.
    Contact: Opens window for sending emailSiegfried Hackel

  • The internal project group "Research Data Management" published a first concept paper (Initiates file downloadDownload - German only) and supports the PTB-coordinated projects with a web-based data management plan solution based on Opens external link in new windowRDMO.
    Contact: Opens window for sending emailGiacomo Lanza

  • Together with TU Berlin PTB started the group "Secure and trustworthy networked systems"
    Contact: Opens window for sending emailJan Nordholz 
    and is preparing a joint group on "Uncertainty and machine learning" 
    Contact: Opens window for sending emailTobias Schäffter

Structure and organisation

The main pillars for PTB, as a supporter of digital transformation in the economy and society, are, in the first place, interdisciplinary cross-sectoral projects:

Metrology cloud – Establishing a trustworthy core platform for a digital quality infrastructure by coupling existing data infrastructures and databases and providing all partners with customized access for digitally upgrading legal metrology.

Digital calibration certificate – Developing a secure and standardized digital information structure for universal use in calibration, accreditation and metrology as well as digitally upgrading the whole calibration hierarchy in the quality infrastructure.

Virtual experiments and mathematics-aided metrology – Developing an interdisciplinary, virtual competence group to metrologically support the paradigm change for the use of simulations and data analysis as essential components of measurement procedures.

Moreover, the metrological research for modern high-frequency networks (5G), the expansion of the quality infrastructure to online surveillance, and the metrological support to digitalized precision production are some of the tasks that will have to be furthered in the long term in the respective departments.

These initiatives are accompanied, coordinated and cross-linked centrally by the working group Opens internal link in current windowPSt1 "Koordination Digitalisierung".


End 2017

Beginning 2018

  • The PTB published a comprehensive concept about the management of research data to support the special needs of the research community in the field of reliable freely accessible data according to the Open Data Strategy. (Initiates file downloadDownload in German only)
  • The joint professorial chair “Biomedical imaging” in cooperation with the TU Berlin and the Einstein Center started its work with the main focus on “digital health” and the integration of quantitative image data in biomedical information.
  • Together, NIST, PTB and NPL organized an Opens external link in new windowinternational workshop, where the future role of the NMIs in the field of data science will be discussed.
  • The junior group and cooperated junior professorship “secure and trustworthy net-tied systems” started their work at the Einstein Center, and based on the existing and broad industry connections, it aims on supporting the increasing digitalization of measuring instruments and measurement methods in legal metrology.

Middle of 2018

  • The project “European Metrology Cloud” started and concentrates on conformity assessment and market surveillance processes by developing a common platform, creating data based services and cutting down innovation barriers. 
  • Together with several international partners the two PTB-coordinated research projects 17IND02 "Communication and validation of smart data in IoT-networks" and 17IND12 "Metrology for the factory of the future" started their collaboration on metrology for the industrial Internet of Things. Both projects are funded by the EU as part of the EMPIR program.
  • The PTB established a research focus in the field of “Opens internal link in current windowmetrology for heterogeneous sensor networks”, which will combine the expertise of the measurement technology and data analyses with the challenges of Industry 4.0 and other areas in an interdivisional and interdisciplinary way.

End of 2018

  • The PTB will start the measurements of systems for the 5G-technologies (e.g. antenna systems and waveguides). Prospectively, these measurements will be implemented into the broad research proposal “Metrology for 5G”.
  • An implementation of an interdisciplinary and inter-divisional competence group for the topic “Metrology of Virtual measurement devices” is planned. It is expected that this group will pick up und push the existing tasks of the PTB in the sections of “digital twins”, “mathematic based measurements” and physical simulation in a holistic approach.
  • Preparations for the appointment of a joint professorship “Uncertainties and Machine Learning” with TU Berlin are expected to be completed soon. The aim is to describe the behavior of machine learning methods more proper with regard to data uncertainty, so that barriers of using that methods are cut down.