May 20 is World Metrology Day, commemorating the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875. This treaty provides the basis for a worldwide coherent measurement system that underpins scientific discovery and innovation, industrial manufacturing and international trade, as well as the improvement of the quality of life and the protection of the global environment.
The theme for World Metrology Day 2022 is “Metrology in the Digital Era”. This theme was chosen because digital technology is revolutionising our community and is one of the most exciting trends in society today.
Across the world, National Metrology Institutes (NMIs) continually advance measurement science by developing and validating new measurement techniques at the necessary level of sophistication. World Metrology Day recognises and celebrates the contribution of all the people who work in intergovernmental and national metrology organisations and institutes throughout the year. Additional information about this day can be found on www.worldmetrologyday.org
National Metrology Institute’s celebration of World Metrology Day
The National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) is part of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s (the dtic) family of technical infrastructure (TI) institutes. These TIs also include the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) and the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), that together provide for confidence in local goods and products and allow for successful prosecution in cases of non-compliance.
The accuracy of measurement results can be demonstrated through traceability to the National Measurement Standards realised by NMISA. This enables:
Globalisation of trade in manufactured products by:
- Providing traceable, comparable and mutually acceptable measurements globally
- Assisting manufacturers to get it right the first time
Lean manufacturing by:
- Allowing for productivity, product reliability and less waste
- Supporting repeatable and predictable results over time
- Leading to fewer errors in decision-making
- Promoting improved human safety
Market acceptance of products and services by:
- Leading to product superiority by meeting quality specifications
- Resulting in market confidence in measurement reliability
In celebrating World Metrology Day 2022 with the focus on the digital era, NMISA is inviting South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to enter a competition where one SME owner could win a 3D printer for his/her business.
The institute has recently experienced how additive manufacturing of instrument replacement parts benefited NMIs in SADC when the Additive Manufacturing project was launched. Metrology requires advanced scientific instrumentation and tools. Most African NMIs typically import sophisticated measurement instruments, while replacement or modification parts for the instruments are non-standard, unique, expensive, or only available from the original equipment manufacturers (OEM). These OEMs and their support engineers are geographically far away, and servicing such instruments is therefore often difficult, sometimes impossible - resulting in significant costs and shipping or custom clearance delays.
The ability to locally manufacture mechanical components with the assistance of a 3D printer greatly assists in resolving this problem and reduces the reliance of African NMIs on international supply chains. The AFRIMETS Additive Manufacturing (AM) project was developed by NMISA to provide a 3D printer, online training and support for six African NMIs. This project allowed these NMIs to manufacture mechanical components as required by their laboratories, and included training on digital part modelling, design for AM, and 3D-printer usage.
The project was very successful, providing opportunity for expansion in the future. Locally, additively manufactured functional parts will make African metrology institutes more sustainable and independent. These institutes are now able to provide additional calibration services, which link the measurement units to industrial and everyday measurements.
Providing a 3D printer to a SME could assist them in creating additively manufactured functional parts for machines or in developing new products, as well as in prototype manufacturing while developing new products. It forms part of the ongoing support NMISA provides to these businesses. NMISA supports SMEs operating at all levels of the value chain: from basic measurements enabling traditional trade (mass and volume), to sophisticated measurement systems supporting leading edge research and enhancing export opportunities for local producers. In addition to measurement services, NMISA provides a suite of training courses (including a measurement toolkit for SMEs) to local and African technologists, scientists and engineers working in the field, through its Training Centre. Hands-on practical training in NMISA laboratories is offered as part of some courses or on request for specialised guidance.
In addition, special development projects to assist SMEs have been created. This includes the development of an SME toolkit and educational video material.
Ndwakhulu Mukhufhi, Chief Executive Officer for NMISA, said: “NMISA recognises that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are invaluable to accelerate inclusive growth in the South African economy, as advocated in the National Development Plan 2030.
“NMISA will continue to look for development opportunities related to measurement science and technology that will enable SMEs, especially innovation-based SMEs, to weather ongoing economic uncertainty.”
To enter the competition and possibly win a 3D printer for your business click here.