020_EETE-VF

EETE JANUARY 2013

TEST & MEASUREMENT Validating test evidence to reduce supply chain risk by Jean-Louis Evans to mEEt thE dEmand for Low-cost goods, companies authenticity of factories as often mass-production is done in a are increasingly buying directly from manufacturers outside the different facility. EU. while such products must bear the cE marking, this is not a save yourself time and hassle by selecting products which sign of safety or compliance. relying on a cE marking could put have already been tested and certified, asking for pre-repro- an EU company’s brand reputation at stake as they may be pur- duction samples and compliance documentation for evaluation. chasing unsafe goods. they must therefore go beyond gather- such products may carry a price premium, but they will help ing evidence that a product complies to protect brand reputation and with cE marking requirements, they save costs further down the line must validate that evidence as cor- when validating the evidence rect to ensure that their supply chain becomes more burdensome. complies. Ensure that any factory you A technical file is the evidence that deal with outside the EU has a a product has been tested correctly Quality management system in and proves compliance, not solely a place and is regularly audited. cE marking on a product. do consider pre and/or post Ultimately it is the company that shipment inspections, taking places the item for sale within the EU random samples from boxes market that is responsible to prove to ensure that the goods meet cE marking compliance, but they expectation. should push further down their supply Before the products are sold chain to the manufacturer to pro- in the EU, send samples for a vide the evidence in the form of test ‘spot-check’ so that they, and reports and certification. their test and certification evi- a cE marking declaration of con- Fig. 1: Some products that would fail tests are still given a dence, can be verified as being formity (a single piece of signed pa- compliant. CE marking. per) is not proof – the technical file is If a manufacturer can incorrectly affix a CE marking, how can tÜV sÜd Product service has launched a field Labelling you be sure that the products have been tested correctly to pro- service to help UK and European manufacturers of electrical duce the technical file? As the retailer, importer or manufacturer and electronic equipment export to the USA more easily. using components, you need to check that cE marking has field Labelling is a mandatory requirement for most bespoke been applied correctly by validating the evidence shown to you. electrical and electronic equipment used in manufacturing or Do the relevant reports and certifi- commercial sites in the Usa. cates match the correct product? Are Premises that use uncertified they less than two years old? – this is equipment can be fined or shut what tUV recommends as over time down. tÜV sÜd is one of only reports do not relate to the product in 18 nationally recognized test- its current form due to material and ing Laboratories (nrtLs) in the manufacturing changes. Ensure that world that are allowed by the the tests are relevant to the current occupational safety and health requirements and don’t use out of administration (osha) to per- date standards. form this field evaluation activity. Very often products supplied are the new tÜV sÜd service re- not the same as those ordered (if for duces complexity and cost, as it example they were seen at a trade offers European manufacturers a show) due to production costs reduc- combined local and Usa based tion. service, as well as a next-day Ideally compliance testing should option for time-sensitive proj- therefore be done pre-shipment to Fig. 2: Retailers often test goods themselves to ensure ects. tÜV sÜd Product service validate the evidence that the product engineers will visit the European products meet CE marking requirements. has been tested and certified or the manufacturer on-site to com- buyer should request it as part of the contract condition. plete an initial evaluation of the equipment against compliance factory inspections can also be carried out to check the requirements. once the equipment is installed in the Usa, tÜV sÜd’s local engineers will complete the process, verifying the Jean-Louis Evans is managing director at tÜV sÜd Product original evaluation report and confirming the installation is in service - www.tuv-sud.co.uk accordance with the specific requirements. 20 Electronic Engineering Times Europe January 2013 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE JANUARY 2013
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