5 Points to consider for Testing and Certification
As the world continues to navigate the current global pandemic, we have all been forced to think out of the box and explore creativeness. If you have been thinking about creating or developing a new product… this article is for you! The next few lines highlight 5 important points to consider before testing and certifying products for the Canadian or US markets.
1. Intended use/application and ratings
Having a clear idea of the intended use of the product, the market, and ratings are key to providing the chosen third-party with the necessary information for the product’s future testing and certification. On occasions, one standard will take precedence over another, because of the intended use or rating limitations of the product, such as maximum voltage.
2. Think one step ahead
Determine if you are about to test an individual model or a series including multiple models and give it a name. This is important to know as, for electrical safety, the whole series can be evaluated by testing a representative sample, instead of testing every single model. That is, if the models only have minimum variations among them. This will be up to the third-party approval agency to determine. Also, if you are planning to distribute your product to other markets in the future, such as Europe or Australia, evaluating the product to the standards for all your desired markets at the same time, instead of performing individual tests for one market at a time, will save time and economic resources.
3. Scope of Testing
On occasions, products require to be evaluated to different standards like, for example, Lithium batteries, which not only require to be evaluated for Electrical Safety and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC), but they also require to pass Environmental tests in order to be used in transportation, increasing considerably the amount of time and the number of required samples needed for the full testing scope. Contacting your third-party agency ahead of time to discuss all of the different applications for your product will save headaches later on.
4. Choosing the right Third-Party
First, verify that the testing laboratory of your choice is an ISO 17025 Accredited laboratory, with its accreditation provided by one of the ILAC signatory members, and that the standards required for your product are in their Scope of Accreditations. Next, pay attention to their response time, as you will have to deal with that for the next few weeks/months, and time is money! Lastly, find out how long it is going to take to get your product approved, as that will be your time-to-market.
The above image shows an example of a cLCus label on an already installed product which was tested as per the applicable CSA and UL standards.
Consider the time it will take for the whole process. Testing is not the only thing that will take up time. Lead time; shipping the product to the laboratory; gathering documentation like manuals, drawings, and schematics; communication; getting your manufacturing facility ready for and conducting Initial Factory Inspection; any product non-compliances; and lastly, potential required modifications, are all factors that will add time to the final process. While some standards will only take weeks to complete, others could take months. When inquiring about turnaround time, note that the clock will start ticking from the moment that samples, documentation, and anything else needed by the third-party to start working on the project is received.