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Measurement is a key factor in trade, as harmonised measurements mean that everyone involved can speak the same language and know they are getting a fair deal. As the key organisation in Ireland in creating and maintaining the standard for measurements in trade, NSAI is delighted to celebrate the theme of ‘Measurements for global trade’ on World Metrology Day on May 20th, 2020.

The theme for World Metrology Day 2020 highlights the importance of measurement in fair global trade and the role it plays in scientific discovery, innovation, the development of new products, manufacturing and sustainability, among other things.

Exactly how to measure things in a harmonized, internationally agreed manner is fundamental to our society, thus it is defined in what is known as the International System of Units (SI) used by scientists, academics, businesses and governments everywhere. On a national level, SI units are maintained and supported in Ireland by NSAI’s National Metrology Laboratory.

Speaking on the importance of consistent, traceable measurement, Paul Hetherington, head of the National Metrology Laboratory said, “Given that harmonized quantities and units are used in many aspects of the trading process, from transport packaging and container ships to the dimensions of the product itself, the SI literally “makes the world go around”. This internationally agreed way of measuring things also supports conformity assessment, allowing not only efficient logistics but also the satisfaction of both legal requirements and customer expectations.”

The legal enforcement that maintains the integrity of measurement in trade is another central function of NSAI, headed up by the Legal Metrology division. This is carried out by certifying and inspecting measuring instruments used by traders and by inspecting pre-packaged goods to ensure correct quantity. 

“The use of non-standardized quantities and units is a serious barrier to trade,” said Paul Turner, head of Legal Metrology at NSAI.

“Different estimates of the value of goods might be made by the seller or buyer if there are differences in measurement and testing when determining the quantity, quality, safety, robustness and other characteristics of a product. Here at Legal Metrology, we legally enforce the accurate measurement of products like fresh food, petrol, and pre-packaged goods to  sustain a level playing field in trade.”


This World Metrology Day, we're giving a special online tour of the National Metrology Laboratory. Join in the tour by following us on Twitter