Consumers and businesses can look forward to improved accuracy in the system of weights and measures thanks to MEASUREnet-gov, a new effort at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
MEASUREnet-gov is an Internet-enabled, interactive system intended to support training and collaborative work between NIST and state weights and measures laboratories.
U.S. industry relies on the state weights and measures laboratories to calibrate standards for a variety of processes from manufacturing pharmaceuticals to filling cereal boxes. State laboratories provide more than 340,000 calibrations to more than 19,400 customers each year. Ninety percent of those calibrations are for mass measurements.
The NIST Office of Weights and Measures just completed initial MEASUREnet-gov training for weights and measures experts and computer support staff from 10 states and Puerto Rico on Jan. 20. Weights and measures experts from California, Idaho, Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona, Maine, Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia and Puerto Rico attended the training workshop.
"MEASUREnet-gov is going to strengthen the way our calibration procedures are transferred to the regional, state and local weights and measures labs," says Gil Ugiansky, chief of the NIST Office of Weights and Measures. "For the first time, state and local metrology labs will be linked in an interactive system where they can get technical assistance, collaborate with NIST staff and get immediate validation of their calibration procedures."
MEASUREnet-gov will take advantage of the Internet to allow video conferencing between NIST and the state metrology laboratories. NIST weights and measures experts will be able to provide technical training more frequently and efficiently, develop standards in partnership with states and provide real-time technical assistance as they monitor measurements via video cameras sending live images over the Internet.
MEASUREnet-gov is designed so that the entire state and federal weights and measures system eventually could be linked via the Internet. Starting with 11 state labs and mass measurements, it will leverage the Internet to improve and harmonize measurements made in state and local weights and measures laboratories.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce'sTechnology Administration, NIST strengthens the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.