Software bringing continents together

NMi visits South America

At our Welmec 7.2 training sessions, we inform customers that the importance of proper software certification is not only evident in Europe. Large continents outside of Europe also have to contend with the use of software in measuring instruments and the best way of achieving certification for same.

Manufacturers as well as certifying organisations and market surveillance institutes sometimes still lack the necessary experience with metrologically relevant software. The questions they ask include: “Do we need to conduct checks at source code level? How do we go about revising and recording this? Are (re)tests required following the revision of software? How can market surveillance determine which is the latest approved version of the software?”

In our twenty years of testing weighing instruments (NAWI and AWI), we have learned that developments never cease. Manufacturers are constantly improving and adapting to the demands of the market. In the past, this might have involved checking a display or an electronic adjustment. Now, however, it tends to relate more and more to software applications, ‘in the cloud’ solutions or customer wishes which require modifications to be made to the software. How do you deal with this as a testing institute, end user, market surveillance institute, and indeed as a regulator? That is the question.

Mutual understanding and more openness in Sao Paolo
These were among the issues which NMi discussed during our visit to Brazil on 10-14 March 2014. The visit ended with a seminar in Sao Paolo which was held in cooperation with Inmetro, the Brazilian institute for Metrology and Sibapem, the professional organisation for manufacturers of weighing instruments. The object of the seminar was to provide the local trade association and its members with an outline of the software certification process. Among the issues discussed were the procedures that apply in the EU and the range of solutions on offer regarding the metrological certification of weighing instruments. Also discussed were the current state of affairs and approaches being taken by Welmec, the future requirements of the market as well and the options and challenges of forthcoming legislation, guidelines or standardization.

The seminar led to an enhanced mutual understanding and a better knowledge of the current state of affairs. The various parties present were able to share their opinions and insights, and this led to more openness and awareness of the subject. We are very pleased to announce that as a result of these successful discussions, NMi has been asked to participate more frequently in seminars of this kind so as to keep our Brazilian partners appraised of developments within Europe and Welmec 7.2.

Click here for the (Portugese) article of Sibapem about NMi’s visit.