The International Organization for Standardization (www.iso.org
), commonly referred to as ISO, is a standards-setting body which was founded in 1947 to primarily advance worldwide industrial and commercial benchmarks. An independent, non-governmental organization, ISO is made up of representatives from national standards organizations from 163 countries, with imprimatur from the United Nations and headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. While ISO primarily produces international standards, with nearly 22,000 published to date, numerous technical reports, specifications, and guides are among its other works.
ISO standards are integral to industrial flow measurement for a broad range of streams, with standards covering hardware, software, operations, methodologies, etc. One representative standard that impacts flow measurement is ISO 17025, arguably the paramount worldwide standard for calibration and testing laboratories. In simplest terms, accreditation to this standard certifies that a compliant organization meets the specified general requirements of competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations using standard, non-standard, and laboratory developed methods.
An ISO 17025 compliant laboratory, for example, would have a detailed quality system in place. Benefits to an accredited lab’s clients include: minimizing risks due to inaccurate testing; avoiding expensive retesting resulting from inconsistent results; and confidence that all analytical work has been performed by a competent testing/calibration laboratory which has been certified by a prestigious independent third-party.
Among the most relevant factors which can impact a laboratory’s ability to achieve ISO 17025 certification and capability to produce precise, accurate test results and calibration data are the following:
- Staff training, experience, and technical competence;
- Validity and appropriateness of test methods;
- Traceability of measurements and calibrations to a national metrology institute;
- Quality assurance of test and calibration data;
- Quality of sampling and testing environment;
- Maintenance of test equipment; and
- Appropriate transportation and handling of items/samples to be tested.
For more guidance on how ISO standards, especially in combination with API (American Petroleum Institute: www.api.org
) flow measurement standards, can benefit your organization, be sure to consult with your in-house or third-party measurement experts.
"If you think of standardization as the best that you know today,
but which is to be improved tomorrow, you get somewhere."
~ Henry Ford, American industrialist