Court Decides in Favour of Digital Inscriptions

The Higher Administrative Court in Germany has found in favour of allowing the use of digital inscriptions for weighing instruments, agreeing with the conclusions made by WELMEC experts’ extensive analysis of the issue

The Non-automatic Weighing Instruments Directive (NAWID, 2014/31/EU) sets the legal and essential requirements for weighing instruments. This includes the need to bear inscriptions of the minimum (MIN) and maximum (MAX) weight they can carry, as well as the divisions of their scales (e). These inscriptions must be shown near where the result is displayed, and must be visible, legible and indelible, such that the inscriptions can’t be removed without damage.

A case was recently brought to the Higher Administrative Court in Germany regarding the allowability of digital, or software, inscriptions under the above conditions. A German manufacturer brought a scale onto the market which uses a digital display. As a result, MIN, MAX and e could only be read when the instrument was turned on. German Authorities did not regard that this fulfilled the essential requirements as stated above, arguing that these values should be inscribed onto the hardware of the weighing instrument.

As part of the case, WELMEC experts from Working group 2 undertook a comprehensive examination of the problem, including scrutinizing the relevance of European harmonized standard EN45501, the international recommendation OIML R76 and WELMEC guide 2. This analysis found that, based solely on the essential requirements in NAWID, that software inscriptions are allowable, that they do not negatively affect the high level of protection of public interest, and that the acceptable solutions specified in EN45501 and WELMEC guide 2 reflect this application.

This evidence was presented to the Higher Administrative Court during oral proceedings, which concluded in the Court finding in favour of allowing the use of digital inscriptions for weighing instruments.The grounds for the decision have recently been published. The case has demonstrated the challenges associated with keeping NAWID in line with technological developments. Consequently, this result will be an important case study for the European Commission’s examination of whether the Measuring Instruments Directive (MID) and NAWID continue to be fit for purpose.

WELMEC would like to thank the experts from Working group 2 for their efforts and looks forward to the publication of the grounds for this decision from the Higher Administrative Court.

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Excerpt from the minutes of the court – Translation

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