The National Metrology Institute (NMI) of the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC) together with the Southern African Development Community Cooperation in Measurement Traceability (SADCMET) Secretariat hosted a Dimensional Inter- Laboratory Comparison (ILC) training workshop, from 11 to 13 February 2019. The workshop was attended by 15 participants drawn from 11 SADC National Metrology Institutes of Botswana, D R Congo, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The workshop was sponsored by the National Metrology Institute (PTB) of Germany.
Metrology is the science and practice of precision measurement. Accurate and reliable measurements are a critical necessity for production of quality products in the manufacturing industry; testing and inspection of products and services; and, maintaining safety, environment and health standards. The Dimensional Inter Laboratory Comparison is a process conducted by National Metrology Institutes to establish Equivalence of their measurement standards. Each NMI will perform a calibration process on a measuring instrument (artefact), in this case dimensional metrology standards such as a micrometre screw gauges or vernier calipers and many others, to come up with results. The results for each NMI are then statistically compared to determine their equivalence. These results are published in the technical supplement of the international metrology journal, the Metrologia.
There are many benefits that are derived from ILC and these include but not limited to the development and improvement of NMI measurement quality procedures, sharing and exchanging experiences on techniques of calibrating dimensional artefacts as well as building and improving NMI metrology competences.
Zimbabwe benefits from such workshops as they help fulfil the requirements of the International Conference of Weights and Measures Mutual Recognition Arrangement (CIPM-MRA) which Zimbabwe is signatory to as well as the registration of Calibration and Measurement Capabilities (CMCs) in the International Key Comparison Database (KCDB). It is also important that comparisons with other countries NMI results leads to improved confidence in NMI – Zimbabwe’s calibration results leading to acceptance of local products in the export market. Such capabilities are crucial in the elimination of technical barriers to trade (TBTs).
SIRDC – NMI is accredited to ISO 17025 in four laboratories which are Temperature, Dimensional, Volume and Mass Metrology. Scientists from the dimensional laboratory were participating in the workshop. The workshop was meant to enable the laboratory to fulfil its accreditation requirements as well as prepare for the registration of CMCs in the KCDB.
The Director of the NMI, Mr Mathew Ranganai indicated that, the workshop, which is the fourth under the PTB sponsorship, is part of efforts by the Germany National Metrology Institute to develop and strengthen metrology capacity in the SADC region. Three similar workshops for Volume, Mass and Temperature Metrology have already been held in Tanzania (November 2018), Zambia (December 2018) and Botswana (February 2019), respectively.
Welcoming the participants at SIRDC for their practical training session, The Chief Executive Officer of SIRDC, Professor Robson Mafoti said that he was happy with the work being done in the region to put Africa on the map in the area of metrology. He thanked National Metrology Institute of South Africa, which is the leading NMI in the region, for supporting capacity building initiatives for its SADC colleagues. He emphasised the importance of Metrology for economic development.
For more information, contact
Mr Mathew Ranganai
National Metrology Institute
Public Relations Executive