Each year, ACTIA carries out some 2,481 periodic inspections and 5,237 initial inspections after repair on its anti-pollution systems. Exhaust gas analysers and opacimeters for measuring the density of exhaust fumes are two essential tools in the fight against car pollution – a major public health challenge. As a manufacturer, ACTIA is bound by a stringent regulatory framework at each stage of the product life, be it design, manufacture, repair or reliability checks.
These legal metrology requirements involve a high level of expertise and understanding. Its customer support teams guarantee the conformity of anti-pollution inspections as well as the precision of its products. Let’s take a closer look to see how this is achieved.
WHAT IS LEGAL METROLOGY FOR VEHICLE INSPECTION EQUIPMENT?
Anti-pollution systems : a public health challenge
Legal metrology lays down all the rules and obligations to ensure the conformity of measuring instruments. The anti-pollution measuring instruments used in vehicle inspections are covered by these stringent regulatory texts because they are directly linked to public health challenges. ACTIA exhaust gas analysers and opacimeters for measuring the density of exhaust fumes must be accurate and reliable, which is why they are subject to frequent inspections to guarantee they are working properly.
Other equipment subject to legal metrology requirements
Legal metrology covers a far-reaching scope because a total of 38 categories of instruments are concerned if they are used for a regulated purpose.
They are organised according to their use, for example:
- – commercial transactions;
- – legal and criminal reports;
- – administrative sanctions;
- – fiscal operations;
- – health and safety of people.
Here are some examples of instruments covered by legal metrology requirements: weighing devices (scales and weighing bridges), petrol pumps, lorry fuel oil flow meters, digital tachographs, taximeters, etc.
REASSURING DRIVERS ABOUT THE RELIABILITY AND CONFORMITY OF THEIR VEHICLE’S ANTI-POLLUTION INSPECTION
Obligations of the vehicle inspection centre
Managers of vehicle inspection centres are legally obligated to guarantee that their anti-pollution measuring devices are fit for purpose, accurate, properly maintained and in good working order.
To this end, and under their own responsibility, they must have the regulatory checks carried out by government-approved bodies. Any instrument deemed to be inaccurate must be put back into conformity by a qualified repair professional and inspected post-repair before being reused.
It is illegal to continue using a device which is subject to the inspection procedure but does not have a valid inspection stamp, if it is not clear that the device in question has been decommissioned.
In addition, instruments must have their own metrology log. The latter provides a record of the various operations performed on the equipment.
Exhaust gas analysers and opacimeters must be inspected every year. These mandatory inspections are carried out by a technician qualified by ACTIA.
Operations involved in metrology inspections
- The instruments covered by legal metrology requirements are inspected at several stages:
- – design;
- – production;
- – in service: with an initial inspection after repair and a periodic inspection.
- The conformity and reliability of the measuring instruments are checked twice a year.
What is the initial inspection after repair?
This service aims to validate the legal conformity of the instrument further to a repair, troubleshooting or maintenance inspection. It includes a calibration followed by initial inspection tests. The technician qualified by ACTIA breaks the seals of the instrument. Among other things, the technician checks that the instrument is intact, that its identification plate can be read clearly and that the metrology tests are in conformity. The technician also fills in the mandatory metrology log to ensure traceability.
What does a periodic inspection involve?
This annual inspection is carried out by a government-approved body. ACTIA Automotive is approved by the prefecture for this operation. As a result, all ACTIA mobile inspectors are also qualified. An administrative check is performed to confirm that the instrument is in conformity with the regulatory provisions, and metrology tests are performed to determine whether it is accurate. A maximum permissible error is fixed for each category, based on the accuracy class of the instrument inspected.
Labels you can trust
If the instrument is in conformity, at the end of the inspection, the technician affixes a green label bearing the final validity date. One of the purposes of this stamp is to reassure car drivers that the periodic inspection of the instrument has been carried out properly. If the instrument is found to be non-compliant, it is given a red label, meaning it can no longer be used.
Inspections for inspectors
Officers from the DIRECCTE (French regional agency for business, competitiveness, consumption, labour and employment) carry out random audits on ACTIA technicians when the latter are performing periodic inspections on anti-pollution inspection devices.
ACTIA’S METROLOGY EXPERTISE
An in-house metrology laboratory
ACTIA Chartres also has a Metrology laboratory. The purpose of this laboratory is to provide all teams (mobile inspectors, distributors, production, logistics, design office, etc.) with precise calibration tools that comply with the regulatory standards – so there is no doubt about the quality of the instruments used.
Each measuring device must be connected using a set of reference data.
It must be calibrated using a COFRAC method or equivalent to guarantee a degree of reliability recognised by the French government and worldwide.
This unit is responsible for providing technicians with the up-to-date calibration standards they require.
3,000 calibration standards handled
Each type of calibration standard has a connection procedure that stipulates the applicable frequency, methods and maximum permissible error (MPE) depending on its use and the uncertainty calculation.
The ACTIA laboratory handles a stock of around 3,000 calibration tools. The technicians who oversee compliance with the requirements related to legal metrology and tool management need to have specialised know-how.
ACTIA ensures the ongoing skills of those members of its staff who are qualified to carry out inspections, to guarantee the quality of this highly demanding service.
ACTIA approvals and certifications
ACTIA Automotive holds:
– Approvals from the DIRECCTE authorising it to carry out periodic inspections. Authorisation is valid for a four-year period, and involves an annual audit along with in-the-field supervisory exercises carried out every year.
– Certification from the LNE (the French metrology and testing laboratory): as repair professionals qualified to carry out initial inspections after repair (maintenance and troubleshooting) of measuring instruments.
This certificate is valid for three years and is subject to an annual audit. The latter consists of a check of the provisions of the quality system and in-the-field inspections with auditing of the technicians.
– The opacimeter manufacturer certificate is also issued by the LNE. It approves the product design based on a technical description in compliance with the regulatory texts applicable to its category.
ACTIA maintains its certifications and approvals by means of an effective quality policy and employees who are committed to excellence. The company sets itself extremely challenging continuous improvement objectives to safeguard its long-standing level of excellence for its entire range of vehicle inspection equipment. For ACTIA, quality is not just about certificates and approvals – it is a deeply-rooted mind-set shared by all employees.