The Quality Infrastructure is normally associated with quality management, quality assurance and quality control, inspection and certification, accreditation, conformity assessment, quality marks and labels, standardization, metrology, testing, market surveillance, etc.
A Quality Infrastructure operates on the basis of a number of components taking into account the needs, resources and limitations of the society.
In the past, the abbreviation MSTQ (Metrology, Standardization, Testing and Quality Assurance) was used for this combination of single elements. Quality infrastructure must ensure the:
- Standardisation (ISO, IEC, regional standardisation bodies)
- Elaboration and implementation of technical regulations for products, moving from compulsory standards to voluntary ones;
- Application of good practice codes regarding different elements of quality infrastructure;
- Elimination of all measures that cause trade barriers not only customs, taxes and quantitative restrictions, but all measures with equivalent (protectionist) effects.
The overall description of the quality infrastructure is defined in the following diagram:
The national quality infrastructure is based on a number of components. These components are closely related and form a network, whose logical links are based on a technical hierarchy. This national network must be linked to the relevant international requirements. Only if these requirements are met, international commodity trading and an exchange of services are possible. The national quality infrastructure is closely linked with the International Quality Infrastructure System, which is based on the existence of the relevant international organisations in the fields of:
- Metrology (Metric Convention, CIPM, BIPM, OIML, regional cooperation in the field of metrology, including legal metrology)
- Quality management systems and conformity assessment (WTO, regional co-operation in the field of testing and certification)
- Accreditation (ILAC, IAF, RCBs)
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