Certification Marks And Their Supervision
Product certification demonstrates compliance to a given standard.
More often than not, it includes the right to apply a certification symbol to the certified product to assure customers and consumers of its status.
Benefits And Responsibilities
Alongside the right to display a certification symbol however, product certification also means that annual factory inspections and supervision will become a part of your everyday operations. This ensures that the high standards met to achieve certification are maintained through the lifetime of the certificate, or product.
SGS in Finland certifies more than 5,000 electrical and electronic products annually. Conducting audits, verifying policies and processes, and issuing certification/making recommendations to standards bodies. These are many varied, but typically include:
- FI certification (the right to use the FI and/or SGS FI mark)
- GS certification (the right to use the SGS GS mark)
- ENEC certification (the right to use the ENEC 16 and/or ENEC 16 FI mark)
Why Is Product Certification Supervised?
Using a certification mark requires that the product to be marketed is identical to the tested and certified product. The aim of supervision is to ensure consistency. Supervision is one of the basic requirements of product certifications, as per international standard ISO/IEC/EN 17065.
Supervision ensures that the certification and the certification symbol can be relied upon, and that quality is high. This benefits all parties – customers, manufacturers, fitters and users. The most common and important supervisory methods include:
- Factory inspections
- Surveillance tests – for example, ENEC certification requires the manufacturer and certifying to conduct body regular tests, and under the FI system, critical products are chosen for testing
- Visiting shops and wholesale distributors
- Internet surveillance
Certification is only valid for products that are identical to those tested and certified. During surveillance, products bearing the FI/SGS GS/ENEC 16 mark have been found that are not identical to those tested and certified. Modified products are not certified and they may not use or display a certification mark, either on the product itself or in marketing and sales material. If modifications have not been notified to, or have been rejected by, the certifying body this constitutes misuse of the certification mark.
Common product modifications:
- Critical safety components modified and they do not necessarily fulfill the relevant requirements
- Critical safety materials modified and they do not necessarily fulfill the requirements for isolation or fire behavior
- The design of the product has been modified, which may cause a potential safety risk, for example, isolation distances are too small, which may cause an electric shock
- Model designations or technical specifications have been changed – markings are not identical to the certified product
If modifications have not been accepted, the product may not even meet the requirements set in the Low Voltage Directive.
At SGS, we monitor hundreds of products each year, and the above-mentioned product modifications are seen regularly. In addition, we have seen products with certification symbols, but which have not been certified. In most cases, things will be clarified when we contact the manufacturer, and any misuse can be rectified, for example, by discontinuing the certification symbol on a product, withdrawing certification and/or applying financial sanctions.
Further information on our Electrical & Electronic product certification services, visit SGS EE or contact:
SGS Fimko Ltd.
t: +358 9 696 3475