It is now possible to carry out assessments automatically in minutes, guaranteeing consistency in testing from checking quality of trade goods and confirming the accuracy of doping tests on athletes to enabling tougher environmental legislation.
Knowing the real value of measurements is key to open trade and to effective legislation. But, the 25,000 public and private control laboratories around the world must take the same approach to checking values in areas from testing and calibration to food and pharmaceutical quality, environmental control and sports medicine. Knowledge of the uncertainty in results is a precondition for correctly assessing measurements accuracy.
To meet these demands, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) launched its Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurements (GUM) in 1995. This is applicable to all levels of accuracy in all fields but addresses physical quantities. The European analytical chemistry association Eurachem produced its own guide – Quantifying uncertainty in chemistry – that translates GUM for chemical measurements in areas such as manufacturing quality control, regulatory compliance, calibration of standards and equipment, and certification of reference materials, as well as research and development.
However, these guides tend to be theoretical and time consuming. “We needed software to remove the barriers,” explains Dr Bruno Wampfler of the Swiss federal materials science and technology research institute (EMPA), coordinator of UNCERTAINTY MANAGER. This EUREKA project brought together testing laboratories, IT specialists and research centres in Austria, Germany and Switzerland to automate the process. Unlike other available techniques, UNCERTAINTY MANAGER offers unique benefits, not least fully automated evaluation, a large reference database and a powerful reporting tool.
“The reputation of the EUREKA label enabled us to obtain industrial participation in this project and is helping us to gain valuable visibility for the results,” adds Dr Wampfler. The software is already being made available through project partner VWR International, with continuing technical support from EMPA.
Catherine Shiels | alfa
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