Weights and measures officials in the United States and Canada have agreed to mutual recognition of test results and examinations of weighing and measuring devices by the U.S. National Type Evaluation Program of the National Conference on Weights and Measures and the Legal Metrology Branch of Industry Canada. NCWM is sponsored by the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The U.S./Canada Mutual Recognition of Type Evaluation Program implements applicable international standardization provisions of the U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreement that are designed to remove barriers to trade between the two countries.
The program will reduce costs and time delays for device manufacturers and will eliminate duplication of tests performed by the two countries. This will increase the competitiveness for both U.S. and Canadian manufacturers by speeding the time from design to end use in the marketplace.
The initial scope of mutual recognition of type evaluation covers non-complex electronic weight indicating elements, electronic non-computing bench and floor scales up to 500 kilogram capacity (or up to 1,000 pounds), and weighing/load- receiving elements with capacities up to 500 kilograms (or up to 1,000 pounds). Other device types will be added following satisfactory implementation of the program.
According to Carroll S. Brickenkamp, chief of the NIST Office of Weights and Measures, the U.S./Canada Mutual Recognition of Type Evaluation Program was initiated by a work group with representation from OWM, U.S. and Canadian device manufacturers, four U.S. NTEP-participating laboratories and Canada's LMB.
Brickenkamp and Robert Bruce, director of Weights and Measures for Canada, agreed to keep procedures for the program to a minimum. The program allows the staff of the type evaluation laboratories in either country to perform type evaluations to the common and unique requirements of both countries. A single type evaluation will satisfy the type evaluation requirements of both countries. On the basis of the evaluation test results, the United States will continue to issue its own Certificate of Conformance and Canada its Notice of Approval.
Plans call for extending the U.S./Canada Mutual Recognition Program to other devices and to include Mexico under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Brickenkamp notes.
NTEP is a cooperative partnership with NIST, state governments, NCWM and commercial measuring device manufacturers. Since 1986, nearly 1,400 Certificates of Conformance have been issued for prototype commercial devices and components that meet legal metrology standards at federal and state levels, such as load cells (tested by the NIST Force Group), turbine and mass flow meters, measurement software, retail motor fuel dispensers, railroad and truck scales, and cash registers.
Measurement devices used for commercial exchange of commodities or services by weight or measure may not be offered for sale until national approval is granted that the performance and design of the device meet minimum criteria. For example, supermarkets and grain elevators in the United States purchase commercial scales from a list of potential suppliers whose products have an NTEP certificate.
The U.S./Canada Mutual Recognition of Type Evaluation Program is expected to be adopted as a statement of policy by weights and measures officials at the 79th Annual Meeting of NCWM, July 17-21, 1994, in San Diego, Calif.
NCWM, a standards-writing organization of more than 3,500 state, county, and city weights and measures enforcement officials and associated business, federal and consumer representatives, receives technical support from NIST, a non- regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, through OWM.