Weighing Industry in Market Expansion Mode

In order to achieve something, it may be required to embark on what has not been done earlier and tap what has been left untapped. Working in silos may not help. Whole fraternity including Regulator need to work together, join hands and exchange ideas for the greater good of the Nation and its economy. Composition below is an attempt in that direction.

National Model Approval and OIML Certification System

What is Model Approval

Model signifies final representation of a weighing instrument. It has to conform to Legal Metrology (General Rules) 2011 Rule 13, as regards physical characteristics, configuration, constructional details, materials, performance, tolerances and such other details corresponding to specifications laid down for such measuring instrument in 7th and 8th schedule for MPE (maximum permissible error).

Who requires it

As per Section 22 of L.M Act 2009, every person, before manufacturing or importing any weight or measure shall seek the approval of model from such authority as may be prescribed.

Model Approval may not be required in respect of any cast iron, brass, bullion or carat weight or beam scale, length measures.

Provided further that the prescribed authority may, if he is satisfied that the model of any weight or measure which has been approved in a country outside India conforms to the standards established by or under this Act, approve such model without any test or after such test as he may deem fit.

Is Model Approval required for Weighing instruments imported from outside India and approved by the authorities there

Yes, such approval is mandatory in India. Testing may or may not be done depends upon the satisfaction level of the authority concerned.

Link between model approval and manufacturing / Import.

As per Rule 20 of Model Approval Rules 2011 “License to manufacture W&M when to be issued”: –

Before issuing a license to manufacturing or importing any weight or measure, the state government shall satisfy itself that a certificate of approval of model of such W & M has been granted by the central govt. under section 22 of the Act.

Who all can import W & M

As per section 19 of the Act, no person, Importer, retailer or manufacturer can import without being registered with Director L.M.  Also, as per Rule 15 of L.M General Rules 2011, any manufacturer can register himself as importer. Registration is valid for 5 yrs. and can be renewed every 5 yrs.

Difference between Model Approval and OIML (International Organization of Legal Metrology) certification

Model approval happens at national level and is country specific. OIML CS is an international certification system.

About OIML Certification System

Legal Metrology Department of consumers affairs India is now an OIML issuing authority under OIML certification system, besides other 22 out of 63-member countries, conforming to accreditation standard ISO/IEC 17065. RRSL Ahmedabad is duly accredited under ISO/IEC 17025 for carrying out testing in this regard. Presently its scope includes only 4 measuring instrument categories, namely, material measures of length, water meters, non-automatic weighing instruments and liquids other than water duly covered under OIML recommendation numbers, R35, R49, R76 and R117 respectively. Other measuring instrument categories that are yet to be included are automatic catch weighers under R51, load cells under R60, automatic rail weighbridges under R106 and weighing road vehicles in motion under R134. It is encouraging to know that all the inclusions are now covered under OIML scheme A, as the other measuring instrument categories have already transited from scheme B to scheme A.

OIML certification system actually started in 1991-92 with R49, R76 and R60 and the system was called OIML Basics. It did not enjoy much acceptability for the reason that the issuing authorities and testing laboratories would self-declare their competence without conforming to international accreditation standards. Since coverage and acceptance was least, redressal of limitations became essential. Improvisation was done around 2005 that gave birth to OIML Basics and MAA. The system was combination of basic and mutual acceptance arrangement between member countries. Some countries followed accreditation standards and others continued with the same basic system. Subsequently further upgradation happened and OIML-CS came in to operation on 1st January 2018 with the participation of 20 countries then. According to this system it was made mandatory for testing labs to conform to ISO/IEC 17025 and for issuing authorities to ISO/IEC 17065. Initially Old and new systems worked parallelly under scheme A and B. For certification of measuring instruments under scheme A it was a prerequisite condition that both testing laboratory and issuing authority conform to international accreditation standards. Target of 2 Yrs. was set for transition of all the remaining instrument categories from scheme B to scheme A. The target was adhered to and transition completed. By 2020 only scheme A was operational and continues to operate.

OIML certification system of 1 January 2018 subsequently covered remaining measuring instruments of Scheme B, under its scheme A. Broader objectives of this certification system are: –

  • OIML-CS to harmonize the work of national bodies that are responsible for the type evaluation and approval of measuring instruments subject to Legal metrological control
  • Manufacturers who wish to market their products in different countries to get benefitted so far as national approvals are concerned. OIML-CS being an evidence that their instrument type complies with the requirements of the relevant OIML Recommendation.
  • Certification scheme helps to avoid unnecessary re-testing when obtaining national type evaluations and approvals. By this approach, the measuring instrument type needs to be tested only once by an approved laboratory.
  • OIML member countries may remain morally obliged to implement OIML recommendations as far as possible.
  • Offers more opportunities for manufacturers to place their products on a global market.

Possible alignment of national regulations with OIML recommendations and to accept OIML test results for national model approvals has found wider acceptability and has proved as a path breaking achievement for both domestic as well as overseas manufacturers.

As rightly maintained in press briefings by honorable secretary consumer affairs, it will auger well for businesses, both in terms of increase in exports and foreign exchange earnings.

It is estimated that India is the biggest importer of Load cells from overseas, particularly from China. Load cells are load sensing devices, considered to be heart of weighing machines and play pivotal role in ensuring weighing accuracy. Since our Legal Metrology General Rules 2011 are silent about Load cell accuracy class and minimum specifications, it contributes to import of cheaper load cells, both in quality and price. Indian customs may have exact details of such shipments to India.

Incorporation of Load Cell accuracy class and minimum specifications in General Rules can ward of potential threat to weighing accuracy, safeguard consumer interests and upgrade the quality of products for better acceptability in our own country and across the borders.

It will really be a game changer if LM (DOCA) India, as an OIML issuing authority, incorporates certification of Load cells under R 60 along with other measuring instrument categories like automatic catch weighers under R51, automatic rail weighbridges under R106 and weighing road vehicles in motion under R134. This will give a boost to made in India weighing instruments of world class Quality. As a consequence, we will have better quality products to meet domestic and international demand with wider acceptability. Dependence on imports will reduce and uptick in exports will translate to increased foreign exchange.

 OIML certified weighing instruments, irrespective of location of certification and manufacturing, have a better market acceptability amongst OIML member countries and beyond. That means if the market is located across borders, national approvals are granted on the basis of OIML certification with out any further tests. This is one of the main objectives of OIML CS 2018. It implies that for both Model approval and OIML certification the testing applicability is only once. It is a very progressive step towards reducing regulatory costs and increasing positive and effective regulatory impact.

We are sure that Legal Metrology DOCA India, is keen to catalyze, manufacturing of world class products in India, in line with their consistent stand voiced in various seminars and press briefings.

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