The Certification Process
The reason for Certification is that without it, a purchaser has no idea whether the product being offered to him along with a nice test report, is actually the same as the product that was tested. It is usually not possible to tell by inspection whether the product is the same because much of what makes it up is concealed by finishes. Small differences in the manufacturing process, such as a change of material or adhesive, for example, can be the difference between passing and failing a test.
In a shop without a consciousness of following quality procedures and rules, it is quite easy for small but significant changes to be made to the process which invalidate the test results. Of course there is also the possibility of deliberately preparing a sample for the test and then substituting less expensive components.
It is a requirement of the Civil Defence and Fire Departments that products for which their approval is requested must carry this Certification.
The process has a number of simple steps:
- The manufacturer must have a Quality Management system such as ISO 9000/9001 in place.
- The Certification Body (which has to be ‘accredited’ to ISO 17065) visits the factory to check their QM system and select a sample from production for testing.
- The sample is sent to the lab and tested by the Testing Team, and the test is witnessed by the Certification engineer.
- If the test is successful, a full QM audit is performed at the factory and the factory has to correct any non-compliances.
- On satisfactory conclusion of the non-compliances a Certificate is issued with detailed information on the construction of the sample tested and the provenance of its components. This information is also uploaded to a publicly accessable website http://www.tbwcert.com/. At the same time the manufacturer is given authority to use our Certification Mark.
- The factory is visited twice a year to ensure continuing adherence to its QM system.
- In case there is any kind of problem with the QM system or the product or the use of the Certification Mark, the Certification can be withdrawn and removed from the website. It is essential to check on line that the Certification is current.