Interlaboratory Comparisons in Europe: Which Way to Choose?
Published Online: 3 FEB 2010
Copyright © 2009 ISTE Ltd.
Transverse Disciplines in Metrology
How to Cite
French College of Metrology (2009) Interlaboratory Comparisons in Europe: Which Way to Choose?, in Transverse Disciplines in Metrology, ISTE, London, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470611371.ch38
- Published Online: 3 FEB 2010
- Published Print: 1 JAN 2009
Print ISBN: 9781848210486
Online ISBN: 9780470611371
- calibration results;
- surveillance visits;
Proficiency testing/interlaboratory comparisons (PTs/ILCs) represent very effective method of the laboratory technical competence assessing. This powerful quality assurance tool enables individual labs to compare their performance with that of similar labs, to take any remedial actions needed and can be used for the purposes of a continual improvement of their quality systems as required by new ISO 17025:2005 standard. Recently, this activity has spread up very rapidly.
The infrastructure of PTs in Europe consists now of basically 3 elements, all of which are aimed at providing support to the accreditation system:
– IMEP program of EU JRC IRMM;
– EA-organized PTs and
– various national schemes.
In the area of physical metrology (the world of calibration laboratories) there is a regional level of ILCs operated by accreditation bodies which is complemented by providers on a national level. An example of a national system is presented: the Czech Metrology Institute (CMI) has been a provider of ILCs in the Czech Republic since 1995 with nearly 90 comparisons completed since that time – during the last two years even with international participation.
The following text presents operation of such national system and its results not only on the national level but also expanding to the international level. On a practical example of an internationally organized recent ILC the importance of ILCs to underpin mutual recognition agreements both in accreditation and metrology is being demonstrated.
With the example of Europe it has been demonstrated that the current system of PT provision is more or less still in an infant stage and there are a lot of loopholes in the system. The question is what is the situation in other regions of the world, but at least a couple of lessons can be taken from that. The aim of the paper is to generate a broader discussion at least among laboratories themselves to arrive, hopefully, at a common position on the issue which could subsequently be used for negotiation and action at various levels, especially with accreditors and towards any new revisions of ISO/IEC 17025. Laboratories would clearly benefit from the proposed new system in a number of ways starting with a reduction of costs associated with maintaining their technical competence up to a more robust level playing field.