Overtime, accuracy in measurements has been highly emphasised.Historically, most communities viewed honesty in measurements as oneof the highly held virtues, and that every member of the communitywas often encouraged to do so, especially at the time of tradingamong others. The emphasis on measurements is a clear indication thatit has been in existence for as long as possible. By the time of theauthoring of the mentioned Holy Books, the mention of the issue ofweights is a clear indication that it is not a thing of the recent.However, there must exist specific gauges and parameters upon whichthe accuracy and honesty is based on. It is from this idea ofmeasurements that the idea of metrology was born.
Thehistory of the metric system can be traced back to Paris in France.In the approach of the eighteenth century, measurements in Francewere made by depositing two platinum standards. The two standardswere essentially meant to represent metres and kilograms. With thegauge being used for quite some time, it acted as the forerunner towhat we have today as the international systems of units, popularlyreferred to as the SI system. From then, other nits have been wellresearched and developed, obtaining international recognition andstandardization. The units have been scientifically formulated withthe major aim being the industrial use. Again, national, regional andinternational regulations have been put in place with an aim ofcontrolling the units. In fact, some nations have gone a step aheadand formulated specific and categorical internal legislations thatgovern the measurements within its territories. In Europe alone, thecosts involved in weighing and measuring is so significant andcontributes to an equivalent of six per cent of the total combinedgross national product.
Despitethe term metrology not being a common term even amongst theengineering practitioners, the various definitions attributed to theterm can generally be summarised into a science that deals withmeasurements. The science is very vital in the day to day activitiesand in almost every other dialogue. For instance, in every dialogue,quantification is likely to be done. This stipulates that decisionsand judgements are made based on the quantities, which metrology isall about. In metrology, standards are set and quantificationdefined. The term was coined from a Greek word and its directtranslation refers to the art of measurement.
Significancein the global market place
Thereexist different parameters that dictate the value of an item.Essentially, the value can only be obtained through getting to knowabout the actual measurement. The measurements may vary from time totime, with the value changing depending on various factors such asweight, size, density or length amongst many other factors. Withoutthe factors being put into consideration, the actual value of an itemcannot be quantified. Taking an instance, the value of sugar isquantified through its weight. Through the measurements used, thefinancial value of each gram of sugar can be known. Consequently, theprice for any amount can be accurately placed depending on the totalweight in comparison with the cost per unit.
Aspricing and other regulations are being put into place, the weightsand measures are carefully considered. The need for equality andcontrol of global trading in this era of globalization requiresparticular parameters through which the control can be implemented.The metrics are used to determine the economic value of the variousgoods and services. The specific measurements are particularly usedin as far as price control is concerned. Various aspects of commerceand trade are pegged on the measurements and as such, metrology playsprobably the biggest role in both local and global markets.
Withmetrology playing a major role in ensuring standardization ofmeasurements, uniformity is enhanced. The metrics are specific thusreducing any probability of cheating in business. This means that theweight that constitutes a kilogram of an item remains standard andthe weight does not change from one place to another or from onelegal jurisdiction to the next. In case of any variations that mayconsequently affect the financial value, other metrics in adherenceto metrology must be put into consideration such as density orquality, depending on whichever measurement that is agreed upon. Theuniformity is important in ensuring the stability of the economy.
Variousscholars have put metrology into different types. However, all thedifferent types fall under three main categories scientific,industrial and legal metrology. Scientific metrology concerns itselfmajorly with the formulation of the various standards. The scientificmetrology is aimed at ensuring standardization of the variousmetrics. In this category, the formulation and development of variousstandards is done. For metrology to fit in any other category or tobe released for final use, then it is compulsory for it to have gonethrough the scientific process of developing it to be what it is atthe moment and for it to fully and effectively carry out its intendedpurpose. Further, its maintenance is organised and developedscientifically in order to ensure consistency.
Industrialmetrology is on the other hand meant to ensure that all themeasurement instruments are functioning effectively. Essentially, itensures that all the measurement equipment used in the industriesperforming various roles from production, testing to packaging areaccurate. It is used to ensure that the desired quality or quantityis achieved. Frequent testing and checks are done to ensure that theappropriate measurements are made for a number of reasons includingquality checks, adherence to the honesty statement and avoidinglosses through uncontrolled measurements. Unlike the scientificmetrology, industrial metrology concerns itself with checking themeasurements produced as a result of the scientific metrology. Thiscategory indulges in controlling the functionality and effectivenessin comparison with the scientific metrology. Unchecked industrialmetrology is dangerous to the financial vision and purpose of anenterprise as it makes it prone to loss of raw materials or finalproduct, cheating which may ruin the image and reputation and alsoexposure to harm of fellow human beings, especially where theproducts are meant for human consumption.
Thefinal category is the legal metrology which involves a legalframework, with a special emphasis on function ability andtransparency. It involves legal verification of the variousmeasurement instruments, especially where the measurements affect aneconomic transaction. Various local and international regulationscontrol the measurements. In most nations, legislative measures aretaken in order to create a legal framework which all issues relatingto measurements and weights must adhere to.
Oneof the control measures in legal metrology is the preventivemeasures. These measures are normally taken before the measurementequipment is released into the market, meaning that it is done at theindustrial level. Once the instruments are manufactured, they have tobe carefully and professionally verified. Once they are verified,they are approved and allowed to get to the market. In a normalsituation, there exists local bodies and which are mainly competentparastatals which verify and authorise the instruments to be releasedto the market. The authorising bodies also issue the manufacturerswith type approvals.
Marketsurveillance is yet another legal metrology and which comes after theinstruments are already in the market. It involves market inspectionof the instruments to confirm that they conform to the set standards.The instruments on the market are tested for legal conformity.
Varioustechniques exist and which are used in determining measurements. Inmy own preference, the intermediate statistical inference methodsserve the best. Amongst them is the regression analysis which is astatistical methodology that acts as a standard intermediate level.This technique is used to improve the systems used in measurements.First, it improves the measurement system through calibration. Again,it can correct the measurements of an identifiable vector ofvariables zapartfrom the measurand. In regression analysis, one can put intopractice either simple line regression and calibration or theregression analysis for the effect of extraneous variables.
Thesecond intermediate statistical inference method is the shewhartchart. This technique is mainly used for measuring and monitoring thestability of the various devices used in measurements. They aremostly used in monitoring the production processes. Whenever a changeis detected, warning is given. Issuance of a warning is an indicationthat the standard operation of an industrial process has beeninterfered with. It is further used to monitor the degree of deviceperformance over time.
Thefinal technique is the use of two samples to separate measurementstandard deviation and the measurand standard deviation. In the fieldof engineering, estimating the process standard deviation is alwaysproblematic. Normally, if you take samples of measurands withstandard deviation from any fixed process, there will be a bigdifference with the measurands alone due to measurement errors. Inthis technique, two varying types of samples are utilized to isolateprocess variation in a scenario where a device that is linear hasprecision that is constant in xand it is possible to re-measure the same specimen.
Measurementshas three main attributes measurand, comparator and the reference.The measurand refers to the specific quality that is being measured,be it length, density or angle. The comparator on the other handrefers to the means by which a comparison is made in order to makeany judgement. To compare, there must be some form of reference. Thereference in this case refers to the actual physical item to whichthe comparison is being made.
Therealso exists a number of measuring means, including the standards.They are also referred to as the reference and are normally used asthe benchmark. Whenever a value of any quantity is needed, thestandards are used as the reference. Fixed gauges are on the otherhand used to check the various properties of an item such as itsposition or dimensions. Finally, measurement instruments and whichare made in compliance with the standards are used to determine theactual value of the measurand(Howarth and Redgrave 2008).
Economicsuccess and equity cannot be acquired in absence of metrology. Withmeasurements having existed from early days to date, the need foraccuracy and standardization of measurements is necessary. Thedifferent categories of metrology namely scientific, industrial andlegal metrology are instrumental in ensuring high quality ofmeasurements right from the formulation and standardization ofmeasurements and devices, its suitability in an industrial settingto how the devices are used in an economy. The input of metrology inthe current world cannot be downplayed and can be attributed as oneof the main causes of economic stability.
Howarth,P., & Redgrave, F. (2008). -InShort(3rd ed.). Brauschweig: Euramet.