by Will Beuttell, Application Engineer, EKO USA
How do you know that the instrument you are buying will work, that it will be well-built, accurate, and reliable; that the company you are buying from is genuinely going to deliver a product or service that meets your requirements?
The answer, ‘International Standards’; technical parameters developed and established by international organizations that are usually independent, industry-based, and not for profit. From morse code in early telecommunications, through barcodes, the periodic table, and the binary code used in computer programming today; international standards touch on many aspects of modern life, science, technology, and communications. They are crucial to international trade and generally supersede technical regulations and standards developed independently and separately by each nation; ensuring that products work consistently, and as expected, wherever they are manufactured, bought or sold.
These same standards help companies and customers make informed choices, helping them to select the right products for their needs or applications. They provide buyers, researchers, and users with a consistent benchmark, and guide manufacturers through design and production.
At EKO, we develop instruments that conform to standards set by a range of organizations, national and international; from specific standards for measuring IV curves in Japan (JIS), to how we calibrate spectroradiometers (ASTM G138), and IEC 61724-1 which outlines equipment, methods, and terminology for performance monitoring and analysis of photovoltaic (PV) systems; including the specifications for Class A pyranometers like our industry-leading MS-80 and MS-80S.
As a manufacturer of scientific instruments, with the goal and responsibility of producing the most accurate and highest quality sensors possible, we believe that it is crucial to stay up to date; and where appropriate, to contribute to and support the development of standards. That’s why many of our engineers and scientists take part in technical working groups with bodies including ISO, IEC and others; helping to ensure that our products meet the needs of all our customers now and in the future
Since 2016, EKO Instruments has been an organizational member of American Society Testing and Materials International (ASTM). As an organizational member, EKO is actively participating in the revision of current, and the creation of, new ASTM standards.
While there are many individuals and companies within each ASTM subcommittee, our role as a radiometer manufacturer is especially crucial in the development of standards for meteorology, photovoltaics, and weathering.
We provide information into the latest state of the art of radiometric calibrations and measurements as well as communicating to various subcommittees on the needs of the respective industries.
For example, when using a Class A pyranometer (MS-80/S), users expect top-level performance. However, all measurements have some level of uncertainty. Calculating uncertainties accurately is crucial, and can be very complicated.
In 2017, the ASTM subcommittee G03.09 on Radiometry developed ASTM G213-17, ‘Standard Guide for Evaluating Uncertainty in Calibration and Field Measurements of Broadband Irradiance with Pyranometers and Pyrheliometers’. This standard allows users to have a consistent methodology for calculating measurement uncertainty. Users can enter the specific contributions of uncertainty based on their sensor design and location. The standard provides an adjunct spreadsheet file that allows users to calculate uncertainty values directly from their recent measurements. This adjunct also provides a direct example to learn from. Users can take the information and develop more elaborate uncertainty calculations, but G213-17 gives everyone a great, and consistent, starting place.
Other new standards EKO is taking part in developing include a ‘New Guide for Performance Classification of Solar Radiometers’ and an ‘Estimation of UV irradiance received by samples as a function of location, orientation and tilt’. As the needs of various industries change, ASTM and EKO will be ready to respond to the challenges, working together to create the latest standards to appropriately support those industries.
If you have an interest in ASTM or would like to learn more about a specific EKO product and its adherence to an ASTM or other international standard, please contact your regional EKO office for more information.
Anyone wishing to contact our offices around the world can now book an online video meeting using Calendly and Zoom.
Calendly is a booking tool that allows you to choose the date and time of your meeting. Simply make a selection from the available timeslots, and you will receive an automated email with the details and a Zoom link.
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