DAkkS and PTB start test phase for digitisation project
Germany’s national accreditation body DAkkS and the National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB) have given the go-ahead for the pilot phase of the digital calibration certificate with a digital accreditation symbol. This means that as key stakeholders in the German quality infrastructure, both organisations are taking an important step towards the digitisation and automation of manufacturing and quality surveillance processes.
The official start of the pilot phase on 1 March was announced by the two partners during the 3rd International DCC Conference, an online event running from 28 February to 2 March. The project is limited to begin with to a group of participating test phase clients. Once completed, the services will be put into practice for all interested conformity assessment bodies, such as accredited calibration and testing laboratories. With this step, DAkkS and PTB reaffirm their close cooperation in pioneering digitisation projects in the areas of accreditation, conformity assessment and metrology.
Two digitisation projects combined
Calibration certificates are used in numerous areas, in particular in industry, as proof of the metrological traceability of measurement results. The goal of the digital calibration certificate (DCC), developed in large part by the national metrology institute PTB, is to enable the electronic processing and transfer of calibration results and their uniform interpretation.
The upcoming pilot phase will examine how these calibration certificates, which are both machine-readable and human-readable, can be integrated into the processes of accredited conformity assessment bodies and their clients. DAkkS will provide the accredited bodies participating in the pilot phase with the new digital accreditation symbol, which can be used to mark both DCC and PDF-based result reports and attestations of conformity. This digital national emblem issued by DAkkS is cryptographically encrypted and electronically verifiable. The process associated with the digital accreditation symbol allows the identity of the conformity assessment body and the status of its accreditation to be read out automatically and confirms the authenticity of content as a tamper-proof “eAttestation”.
Automated, efficient and secure through digitisation
With the joint test phase project, DAkkS and PTB are charting an important course for the future and exploring potential new avenues in the industry on a global scale. By integrating the accreditation symbol into the digital calibration certificate, all relevant information issued by accredited calibration laboratories is made available in machine-readable form for the first time. On this basis, it will in future be possible to automate production processes and their quality assurance and achieve improvements in efficiency and cost reductions in the process flow.
The aim is to incorporate the results of the test phase directly into the further development of the two digitisation projects. In addition, the definition of the necessary interfaces and processes will be used to develop best practice guidelines designed to facilitate use of the DCC for calibration laboratories. The pilot phase will create the conditions required to enable rapid and widespread introduction of the digital calibration certificate and the DAkkS digital national emblem into practical use.
Project as a building block of the “QI-Digital” initiative
The project also offers starting points for the digitisation of other processes within the quality infrastructure (QI). It is a building block of the “QI-Digital” initiative, in which DAkkS and PTB are working together with other partners to create digital, fit-for-the-future solutions in the various areas of the QI: metrology, norms and standards, accreditations, conformity assessments and market surveillance. The goal is to achieve seamless integration of the individual process steps in the QI.
Together with DAkkS and PTB, other bodies involved in the “QI-Digital” initiative include the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) and the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies in DIN and VDE (DKE). The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) supports QI-Digital as a substantial contribution to the success of innovative technologies, products and processes – to strengthen Germany as a business location.
German Accreditation Body (DAkkS)
DAkkS is the national accreditation authority of the Federal Republic of Germany. With an accreditation, it confirms that laboratories and certification bodies can perform their work competently and in accordance with the requirements of internationally applicable standards, legal bases and relevant rules, and monitors the fulfilment of these requirements. That is its legal mandate. With the accreditations it issues, it helps to make products, processes and services safer and to simplify trade in Europe and around the world on the basis of reciprocal agreements.
The National Metrology Institute of Germany (PTB)
PTB is Germany’s national metrology institute and the higher technical authority of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. It is therefore the highest authority with respect to all questions of correct and reliable measurement. In total, more than 2,100 people are employed at its Braunschweig and Berlin locations, carrying out research into fundamental questions concerning physical units, calibrating measuring instruments for the highest accuracy requirements and conducting conformity assessments – in many areas with a statutory mandate. Together with other stakeholders, PTB is working towards a digital and future-oriented quality infrastructure.