Component 6 Metrology

What is Metrology

Metrology is the science of measurement. It establishes a common understanding of units, crucial in linking human activities. Modern metrology has its roots in the French Revolution’s political motivation to standardise units in France, when a length standard taken from a natural source was proposed, but metrology has always been a function required since time immemorial.

Since metrology is the study of measurement, it is expected to enforce, validate and verify predefined standards for traceability, accuracy, reliability, and precision. All of these are factors that would affect the validity of measurement. Although these standards vary widely, these are mandated by the government, the agencies, and some treaties. Consequently, these standards are verified and tested against a recognized quality system in calibration laboratories.

Metrology is divided into three specialities. These are: legal, scientific and industrial metrology. Each of these specialities are distinctly different from the other.

Legal Metrology

Measurements are so much a part of our daily lives that we often take them for granted and possibly don’t even notice them. For example:

  • we monitor the speed at which we drive to ensure we travel safely and thus reduce road casualties,
  • we undergo medical checks to make sure we remain healthy,
  • we use time to be punctual for appointments, and satellite positioning systems to pinpoint our location,
  • we consume electricity, gas and water which are billed based on measurements,
  • we buy meat, fish, fruit and vegetables by weight,
  • we fill our cars with fuel by volume,
  • we have our vehicles checked to monitor the exhaust emission levels,

Legislation on measurements and measuring instruments is required in all these cases, as well as when there is a need to protect both the buyer and the seller in a commercial transaction, or where measurements are used to apply a sanction. Virtually all countries provide such protection by including metrology in their legislation – hence the term “legal metrology”.

In accordance with the OIML, Legal metrology is the application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments for the protection of life, the environment, health, and public safety.

Scientific Metrology.

This form of metrology deals with the organization and development of measurement standards and with their maintenance. As you might expect, scientific metrology is deeply involved with research and new technologies for industries concerning government, healthcare, and research for commercial products.

Industrial Metrology

Industrial metrology’s purpose is to ensure that instruments, used in a wide variety of industries, are functioning properly. An example of this type of metrology might be seen in the production of products for the commercial industry, the testing and designing of aircraft, the functioning of large machinery, or even in factories using rotating equipment during the manufacturing of their products.

Industrial metrology is rather specific in its applications, which are primarily for various industrial processes including manufacturing among others. This sector intends to establish the importance of measurement in the industry. Moreover, it also ensures the appropriateness of measurement instruments including the maintenance, quality control, and proper calibration of these instruments.

Project Expected Outputs

Provide capacity building to Metrology Calibration section of SLBS on calibration techniques for:

  • Thermometers;
  • Bulk/fixed storage tanks.
  • Provide capacity building on uncertainty of measurements.

A report on the Metrology Act and Regulation to determine if any changes might be required to bring the ACT/Regulation to date.

Mission 1      Training on Calibration of Thermometers and Storage Tanks and Uncertainty of Measurement.

International Expert:  Mr I. Turner

Dates:                    21 January to 1st February 2019

The mission was composed of four main elements. The first was a review of the Metrology Act: Saint Lucia No.17 of 2000 and the Metrology Regulations No.113 of 2001. The second third and fourth elements were training days on thermometry, uncertainty and the volume determination of bulk tanks. The training day on bulk tanks also involved a practical determination of the volume of a bulk tank in the field.

Delegates from up to five other Caribbean Countries using a live video stream joined the training days. This increased the reach an effectiveness of the training.

All of the training days were live streamed to a range of Caribbean countries: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas. The technology allowed “real time” input from all of the delegates. This was a great success and should be replicated in the future.

Conclusions

The SLBS is a well-organised and functioning department with a high level of understanding and competence. The trainings were well received and it is felt that IT joining countries was a great success and should be repeated when future training takes place.

Improvements to the Act and the Regulations could be achieved by noting the comments    in the report

Recommendations

  • That a clearer policy input be made in to the operation of the legal metrology function of the SLBS;
  • That the SLBS increase its role in International cooperation. It is suggested that they become corresponding members of the OIML;
  • The Metrology Act be reviewed in light of the comment made in the report;
  • The Metrology Regulations be reviewed to bring them in to line with the OIML Vocabulary;
  • That further trainings be co-ordinated with other Caribbean nations to increase the affect of training.

Visibility

The activity was subject to television news and the Team Leader and the Head of the Metrology Department were interviewed, for more information please open the following link: