When you get a product tested by a Test Laboratory, it’s a one-off. They will test a sample of your product and check that it conforms to the requirements you specify. You’ll receive a test report and if all goes well, a Statement of Conformity stating that the product complied with the requirements at the time the testing was done.
Having your product tested by a Certification Body goes much further. It involves both your product and its production being evaluated to the requirements of a Certification Scheme. Certification Schemes are based on regional, national or international standards together with any other criteria deemed necessary by the scheme owner. For example, we manage a Certification Scheme for mobile access towers on behalf of PASMA. This is based on European Standard EN 1004 but also includes an additional requirement for safe assembly, alteration and dismantling methods to be used. The product will be evaluated usually against the requirements in product standard.
The production evaluation will include an audit of elements of the quality management system which could affect product conformity. This ensures that the product supplied for testing can be produced to the same, consistent quality level as the tested product, time after time.
If successful, you’ll be given a Certificate of Conformity and granted use of a Certification Mark to apply to the product. To maintain the Certification Mark, your products and production method must pass regular surveillance audits on a schedule devised according to risk. Gaining a Certification Mark allows you to demonstrate that your product continues to meet the quality and safety standards required by the scheme.
So you’ll see, there’s a significant difference between product testing by a Test Laboratory and a Certification Body. Test & Research Centre can fulfil both roles and which approach is best for you will depend on your own circumstances, the requirements of your market, distributors or end users and whether there is a Certification Scheme in place for your product. We’re happy to discuss this with you and together we’ll come up with a product testing plan that meets your needs.
We’ve summarised the differences below.