No Better Time to Review E&E Product Certification Strategies
The holiday season is no better time to focus on the complexities of launching new electrical and electronic (E&E) products on the market
Product certifications handled on a national level are still very complex, and different considerations need to be observed in order to fulfill all national regulations and requirements. Expert knowledge is essential to guarantee short time solutions for each market and minimize business risks. With a thorough certification process, holiday gifts can be delivered on time and budget around the world.
Certification requires expertise, solid contacts and a worldwide presence, which is why manufacturers tend to outsource the certification process to experienced, globally present service providers. Many national certification marks also require third party testing and certification to guarantee independent verification of compliance with safety regulations.
The IEC Works to Harmonize Regulations
For a simplified certification process, international efforts towards common certification and shorter product development cycles have been established. For the most common electrical household products, ITE, power tools, electrical toys and medical products, the CB-Scheme governed by the IEC (International Electrical Committee) was set up.
It works with a series of multilateral agreements and harmonized standards. Being a member of the CB scheme shortens the lengthy processes between different testing labs and certification bodies. Only one initial test is carried out in a single location, which is situated in the applicant's or manufacturer's country. Therefore, waiting times and costs are considerably reduced, the process becomes more convenient and access to international markets is facilitated.
CB reports are internationally standardized test reports, and if issued by a National Certified Body (NCB) can be the basis for receiving several other certificates without having to retest a product, which translates into time and costs savings. SGS has two CB certification bodies and runs dozens of recognized laboratories in various countries across the globe.
Navigating International Requirements
In China, a major children's products manufacturing country, harmonizing legislations is a complex process. This is confirmed by the particulars of Chinese certification rules. The CCC Certification requires additional on-site testing in China, even if a product has obtained a CB report.
On the other hand, in other parts of the world, such as Germany, there is the GS-mark (Geprüfte Sicherheit = Tested Safety mark for Germany), a well-known certification mark, which requires additional technical documentation. The GS-mark is in high demand for German retailers of electrical and electronics products, because it proves conformity with safety and additional requirements such as chemical analysis of plastics (PAH testing) and annual quality checks by factory inspections.
Accessing the North American market is frequently misunderstood. A common mistake is that it requires only Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certifications. However, SGS, as a member of OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) and with an NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories) accredited laboratory, it offers tests and certifications in accordance with UL and North American standards and norms.
For electrical and electronic products, including products for kids, SGS experts offer an attractive and speedy alternative to UL Certifications for the US through the SGS North America mark, allowing more flexibility in the development and launching of products in the US market to maintain and build a positive brand reputation.
Finding the Right Approach to Certification with an SGS Partner
Country-specific, product-specific or job-specific qualification requirements can be extremely frustrating to deal with for manufacturers and retailers. If not approached correctly, the process will require considerable time and money that could otherwise be invested in developing new business ideas.
In addition to safety regulations, there are specific EMC, performance or restricted substances requirements. SGS can support manufacturers and retailers through its extensive global portfolio of services. Experienced, multidiscipline SGS experts help shorten product development processes and time to market.
A worldwide network of labs, as well as the necessary contacts in key manufacturing regions simplify certification processes and provide clear support with developing norms-compliant products. SGS can also perform factory inspections required to secure various certifications all over the world.
Additionally, the implementation of SGS quality control systems helps companies control and decrease production costs. SGS experts can also assist their clients in enhancing the marketability of products through various certification marks and will help them gain access to all global markets quickly.
SGS Industrial Services
SGS is the world's leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 80,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,650 offices and laboratories around the world.