At the supermarket or a farmer’s market, consumers can rest assured that the weight indicated by the balance is accurate: if they want to buy a kilogram of potatoes, they will get exactly one kilogram. This is thanks to quality infrastructure, a national quality assurance and consumer protection system aimed at assessing whether certain goods and services are in conformity with standardised product requirements. It includes legal metrology, which creates trust in the accuracy of measurements in the context of commercial activities or official acts, as well as measurements in the public interest, protecting both the users of metering devices and their customers.
In order to ensure the proper functioning of metering devices, the European legal framework requires such devices to undergo examinations during their entire life cycle by means of a security and trust chain.
Europe’s industrial sector supports the view that the digital transformation of the processes being implemented within the quality infrastructure framework will provide a major boost to the adoption of technological innovations, the development of innovative products, process optimisation, and the development of new data-based business models.
Germany’s and Europe’s quality infrastructure systems need to confront these challenges and become more effective and efficient in the long term. It is therefore necessary to establish a decentralised and trustworthy digital network for EU-regulated legal metrology as part of a digital quality infrastructure – a ‘European Metrology Cloud’. To this end, the German National Metrology Institute (PTB) will expand its infrastructure concept in conformity with GAIA-X.
What added value does the "GAIA-X project" offer?
GAIA-X allows the establishment of a European digital trust network for quality infrastructure in which all participants can interact in a digitalised and regulated environment, e.g. share data and offer services. Data sovereignty, security, and data protection (GDPR conformity) are established by design. The architecture permits an uncomplicated integration of existing structures and data bases being used by the participants. The result is a platform economy as the foundation of new business models and metrological service models.
In practice, this means that cloud storage and data silos located in Germany or the EU are integrated as a GAIA-X node into the trust network. Thanks to safety standards and the development of a consistent systems architecture via GAIA-X nodes, it is possible to harness untapped potential for innovation promotion, to streamline processes, and to improve coordination.
GAIA-X can also support the harmonisation of processes, the implementation of conformity assessment, and the examination of metering devices in Europe, thereby promoting uniform quality standards and strengthening the free movement of goods within the European Single Market.
This GAIA-X compliant infrastructure may be expanded by further trust-based or regulated processes in the field of quality infrastructure, e.g. calibration for quality assurance in industrial production and traceability to national standards at the PTB.
Dr. habil. Florian Thiel – German National Metrology Institute (PTB)
Prof. Dr. Jan Nordholz – German National Metrology Institute (PTB)