Whatever your role in the industry, from manufacturer to specifier, or installer to end user, there are a number of advantages to producing, specifying, installing or using certified heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) products. In this article we are going to focus especially on the value of certification for manufacturers, who can harness reputation enhancement and increased customer confidence, through the transparency and trust of certification.
Certification tests and evaluates product characteristics. Certification not only ensures products comply with all the relevant regulations and standards, but also verifies manufacturer data on product performance.
The value in third-party certification, as opposed to in-house testing by the manufacturer alone, is that certification is offered by a completely independent and impartial expert body, with no bias towards the product or manufacturer. Certification finds the truth of a product and provides transparent product data.
However, not all third-party certifiers or certification schemes are equal. HVAC&R manufacturers can choose from a range of programmes, delivered by laboratories or certification bodies like Eurovent Certita Certification (ECC), so it’s always wise to understand what each offers, and the added value each brings.
At the heart of certification lies the reduction of risk and the building of trust between industry stakeholders. Third-party certification removes the risk of variations between stated and real product performance, with independently verified data. This builds trust, as stakeholders know they can rely on product performance. This is key as it safeguards from the risk of ineffective or inefficient systems, spiralling running costs, and non-compliance with regulations.
However, this trust can only be built by providing quality certification schemes, from reliable and respected providers. Eurovent Certita Certification has therefore created a number of world renowned certification programmes, under a common set of criteria for the rating of products. All manufacturers are treated fairly and equally, with all units going through exactly the same route and process to certification, wherever in the world they are manufactured.
Voluntary Certification programmes hold significant value for manufacturers, who have gone above and beyond to prove the performance and reliability of their products.
Eurovent Certified products are trusted worldwide. This is a key selling point for manufacturers as certification provides:
When it comes to product certification, ECC uses state of the art evaluation protocols including:
Certification is a continuous process. Therefore, it can act as a tool for both quality control and product development. Programme participants undergoing yearly manufacturing and selection software audits can use it as part of their quality control protocols, which can be especially useful as assessment is made by a completely independent body. Additionally, feedback from the certification process can be relayed to R&D teams to help improve and innovate products.
Keeping evaluation protocols uniform across all products, countries and continents makes sure the certification process is fair for manufacturers.
• ECC evaluates all products within a programme according to the same criteria
• ECC expresses results in the same unit of measurement – allowing direct comparison across a common language
• ECC ensures all products within the programme go through exactly the same certification, auditing and surveillance process
• ECC ensures products with components manufactured across multiple sites (sometimes in different countries), all reach Eurovent certification standards.
Product certification is a useful tool when it comes to international trade. Not only is Eurovent Certified Performance recognised internationally, but certification can be key to unlocking trade both within and outside of the European Union (EU). Certification proves that products comply with the most stringent EU Regulations, Standards and Codes. As certification creates a level playing field for products breaking into new markets, specifiers have confidence using previously unknown brands if they are Eurovent certified.
ECCs programmes are constantly evolving to keep pace with new technology, refrigerants and regulations. Eurovent certified products have to pass a number of checkpoints to receive certification, which is far in excess of laboratory testing alone. Eurovent Certified Performance for instance takes the criteria needed to reach European Standards, (some of the most stringent Standards in the world) and adds in additional measures based on real-life performance.
Eurovent certification claims such a high level of impartiality because the manufacturer and laboratory have no direct contact, keeping the process clear of any bias. Additionally products to be tested can be taken from the production line, factory stock or point of sale, ensuring the product tested is exactly the same as those leaving the production line. Because of the stringent standards of certification, ECC is internationally recognised and globally respected when it comes to providing truly independent testing and data.
Manufacturers successfully applying for our certification marks can expect the following:
1) First the participant puts in a certification request.
2) Next their certification application and reported data is analysed and validated.
3) Then we move onto testing and evaluating the product(s) to be certified, which may vary slightly between programmes. This can include the physical testing of products in a laboratory, production site auditing, a check of product selection tools, desk study etc.
4) Once the evaluation is complete, the results are reviewed and a decision on certification made.
5) The manufacturer achieves certification of the product.
6) Successful participants will then move onto a surveillance process, which may include annual factory and software audits, to ensure products continue to meet the certification requirements. This also ensures a more streamlined certification renewal approach.
Firstly Eurovent certification is the gold standard when it comes to the HVAC&R market. Not just because of the thorough and stringent nature of the programmes, but because ECC is accredited as a certification body compliant with ISO/IEC 17065:2012 standard by COFRAC (Accreditation Nb 5-5017). Not only is the accreditation recognised throughout Europe by the EA, the European co-operation for Accreditation, but it is also recognised internationally by the signatories of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). To ensure consistent compliance, COFRAC accreditation is a continuous process, with evaluations every 15 months across a five year accreditation period. Not all certification bodies choose to be accredited themselves.
Then there’s the range of certification marks available. ECC certifies 44 programmes, including the flagship Eurovent Certified Performance mark, the NF mark, QB mark, Keymark, CE Trade Mark and MCS for Heat Pumps. For products requiring an energy efficiency label under the energy labelling and Ecodesign requirements, the ECC energy efficiency label uses certified data to provide a clear and reliable solution to quickly identify the energy efficiency of a product.
Of course then there is the knowledge and experience of the ECC team. ECC has been certifying products since 1994, so manufacturers can rest assured they are in safe hands. All manufacturers are allocated a client manager who is there to guide them through the full certification process.
ECC certified manufacturers also have their products promoted to specifiers, industry professionals and end users. ECC has invested in a dynamic digital marketing service to support manufacturers in their business and raise awareness of the certified brands. Plus ECC offers a number of additional services including: