Pattern approval is the process whereby an impartial body examines the pattern (design) of an instrument prototype against a published national standard. This determines whether an instrument is capable of retaining its calibration over a range of environmental and operating conditions and ensures that the instrument is not capable of facilitating fraud. It is a means of determining the quality of the instrument.
Pattern approval (in other countries this is sometimes called 'type approval') is mandatory for measuring instruments used for trade in Australia. The National Measurement Institute (NMI) evaluates measuring instruments to check they meet specific Australian standards. When an instrument is successfully submitted for approval, that particular pattern or type is approved and a certificate of approval is issued.
The pattern approval certificate permits the measuring instrument to be verified and then used for trade, or other legal purposes.
The pattern approval examination process to test the pattern or design of an instrument involves:
Here are the steps commonly associated with the pattern approval process conducted by NMI.
We issue Certificates of Approval for:instruments including, but not limited to:
We approve these instruments, but we appoint approving authorities to test them
We can also issue OIML certificates of conformity to assist with international approval. These certificates are accompanied by a test report, and state that the instrument evaluated complies with the requirements of an OIML recommendation for patterns of instruments in use for trade. We issue OIML certificates for:
If pattern approval for a measuring instrument has been issued in another country, NMI can accept certain test results (please note that we do not normally accept manufacturer's test results). To allow us to determine acceptability we require:
NMI has mutual acceptance agreements with:
Pattern approved measuring instruments must be “verified” before they are used for trade. Verification involves testing an instrument in situ to ensure that it operates correctly.
Verification is the process whereby an instrument is:
Verification is carried out by an NMI-appointed servicing licensee with an appropriate licence class for the instrument that they are verifying.
Information on servicing licensees.
A servicing licensee can only verify a measuring instrument that:
A verification mark will be placed on the instrument at the conclusion of the verification process.
You may be interested to know that servicing licensees must follow the National Instrument Test Procedures (NITPs) when performing verifications.
If your Certificate of Approval allows you to connect an auxiliary device, such as a printer or fuel dispenser nozzle, it may include a reference to a General Supplementary Certificate of Approval.
If such a device is being supplied to third parties with your instrument, you must ensure that it complies with the relevant general certificates and is marked appropriately.
Auxiliary devices are not required to be assessed for pattern approval.
Information about requirements such as the installation of a measuring instrument, or what accuracy class can be used for a particular application e.g. approaches for weighbridges and licensing for public weighbridges can be found under the Trade Measurement section of our website.
Some Certificates of Approval include special clauses which may require additional action, such as advising NMI of instrument locations or providing copies of test results.
Please forward this information to NMI by email: email@example.com.
If you make any changes to the design of the instrument after the certificate of approval is issued, you are required to notify NMI. Changes may require a variant to be added, or other amendment made, to the certificate.
You must also notify NMI if your company or contact details change.
Certificates are normally required to be reviewed every five years. The review date is included on the Certificate of Approval. You will need to send an application when your certificate is due for review. The approval remains valid even after the review date has been reached.
Australian law requires that every measuring instrument used for trade in Australia is pattern approved by NMI’s chief metrologist (scientist). Specific exemptions from the requirements may be applied, otherwise it is an offence to sell or use a measuring instrument for trade purposes in Australia that does not have an Australian certificate of approval.
Q1. Who can mark my pattern approval number on an instrument?
Only the submitter, or somebody authorised by them, may mark an instrument with the pattern approval number.
Q2. If I have an instrument approved for legal use only, can it be used for trade?
No. Some measuring instruments have been approved for legal use only, e.g. some weighing instruments. These instruments cannot be used for trade because they may have been assessed against different criteria and have different controls around their use.
Q3. Where can I find someone to verify my measuring instrument?
To find a servicing licensee to verify a measuring instrument, you can send an email to the Trade Measurement Licensing Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your location and the type of instrument you wish to have verified. NMI will provide details of servicing licensees in your area who may be able to help. NMI is not able to recommend specific service providers.
For more information contact 1300 686 664 or email@example.com