TÜV Rheinland, a leading international certification body, began operations in India more than two decades ago. The German technology giant brings 146 years of global experience, with technical competency centres located across the world. A team of experts from each region ensures compliance with national & international standards and regulations for safety & quality.
Backed by global expertise, TÜV Rheinland India boasts of a network of technical experts from the local lighting industry who are helping shape the future of regulatory compliance in India by operating advanced laboratories that meet the specific needs of customers for testing & certification services.
In order to explore how the testing and certification major is placed in India and how it sees the future, we, at LED World, met with Ravindra J., AGM – Electrical, Local Field Manager – India, Regional Field Manager – IMEA, TÜV Rheinland. Excerpts of the interaction are here to follow:
How is TÜV Rheinland positioned in India?
When it comes to positioning ourselves in India, our markets see us as a one-stop solution provider with a diverse portfolio of services that ensure safety and quality of products, systems and processes, for both Indian and global players. All our services are tied to the central idea of enabling successful market access to both Indian markets and markets in any other parts of the world.
As a leading technical services provider in the Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) industry, TÜV Rheinland has developed a wide range of new services related to testing and certifications. To name a few, we were the first International Certification Body in India to obtain CBTL (Certification Body Test Laboratory) status under the international IECEE CB scheme.
Initially, we started with serving product categories like OFF (IT and Office Equipment), MED (Electrical Equipment for Medical use) and PV (Photovoltaic) under this scheme. Over a period, our service scope expanded to include BATT (Batteries), MEAS (Measurement, Control and Laboratory Equipment and Audio-Video (AV) apparatus under (TRON – electronics, entertainment). We are in the process of expanding our service scope (under CBTL) to cover other product categories as well.
How has the testing & certification major set its goals in India?
We help Indian manufacturers comply with government regulations such as the Bureau of Indian Standards’ Compulsory Registration Scheme (BIS CRS) for the Indian market. As a one-stop solution provider, we enable the success of manufacturers by offering the minimum number of required testing cycles, optimised testing programmes and cost-effective solutions, in order to make them comply with regulations in both Indian and international markets. Moreover, as a one-stop solution provider, we enable our clients to move away from the protracted and expensive process of approaching different labs for multiple rounds of testing.
As far as goals are concerned, in 2019, we have set ourselves a milestone to achieve a scope expansion under CBTL for HOUS (household and similar equipment) and LITE – lighting product categories. Further, by the end of this year, we will have four independent EMI/EMC testing chambers, which will make us the first certification body to own these many chambers in India. This expansion will meet the rapidly increasing demand from manufacturers for product testing and certification services to cater to the requirements of new regulations, and stay on the right side of the compliance.
How has the journey been so far? Please shed some light on the growth of TÜV Rheinland in India.
We began our operations in 1996 by opening up our first lab for product testing services within a limited area of operation, catering to only a few industries such as telecommunication and IT. Gradually, we expanded our portfolio of services to include medical and home appliances, followed by photovoltaic and lighting. With time, we worked on our strengths to meet growing market needs in India for third party testing and certification. Over a period of time, we added new services like performance & energy-efficiency, followed by EMI/EMC test facility.
I am proud to mention that TÜV Rheinland is the first certification body in India that has set up a 10-meter Anechoic Chamber. This facility enables manufacturers to not only get their products tested for European, US and other countries across the world, but also offer them certification. The laboratory in Bengaluru will soon be equipped with FAC (Fully Anechoic Chamber) technology to support wireless and IoT testing.
Which all services does TÜV Rheinland offer?
Currently, TÜV Rheinland offers a wide range of services, covering nearly every product industry that requires testing & certification. My business vertical – Products – serves industries segmented under Softlines (toys, textiles, clothes & leather products), Hardlines (house & kitchenware, tools and furniture), Electricals (household appliances, IT/telecom & office equipment, audio/video products, luminaries & LED, batteries and lab equipment), Commercial (components & machinery), Medical (active and non-active medical products) and Solar/Fuel Cell Technology (PV components & modules). We even audit and certify the manufacturing process. Our goal is to have a pan-industry presence in India as the testing partner of choice, be it an Indian, global manufacturer or a retail brand.
How many product-testing laboratories does TÜV have in India? Which all kinds of products are tested & certified?
TÜV Rheinland product testing laboratories are established keeping in mind regional market needs. Currently, we operate labs at three locations in India – Gurugram, Bengaluru and Tirupur. While the Gurugram lab caters to tests for safety, performance and energy efficiency of home appliances, lighting, IT/AV and components; the lab at Bengaluru caters to safety, EMI/EMC, wireless & IoT and reliability for IT/AV, medical, laboratory equipment, batteries & cells and PV module & components. The Gurugram lab is focused more towards the manufacturing segment compared to the Bengaluru lab that supports design and R&D industry. The Tirupur lab focuses on leather & textile testing because of that industry’s presence in the area. However, we do offer leather & textile services in Bengaluru and Gurugram, as well.
Which all types of tests do you offer here in India? Which all testing equipment are used in TUV Rheinland India labs?
Our labs conduct two types of product testing – for safety and for performance. Safety testing involves equipment such as thermal analysers, power analysers, mechanical simulation tools and environmental simulation tools & chambers, insulation testers, to name a few. We also conduct tests under performance requirements for lighting products. For instance, we test colour temperature analysis, colour rendering index, total lumen output, centre beam intensity, beam angle, light output ration, etc. Our Gurugram lab is equipped with Gonio Photometer and Integrating Sphere System to support these tests.
For LED bulb energy-efficiency testing, we offer multiple test set-ups to facilitate long duration life/endurance test to support volume projects from manufacturers. For streetlights, we conduct light spread analysis in a dark room. We operate a Vibration Shaker to test the transmission of vibration for rough surface luminaries. For luminaries that are made for outdoor applications, we operate an IP testing lab to validate designs (of the enclosures) for penetration of dust & water. All these tests are offered at our Gurugram lab.
When it comes to Bengaluru, we operate a 10-meter Anechoic Chamber to measure radiated emission (the kind of radiation the luminary emits), and the radiation susceptibility in terms of how the product can sustain the existing radiation. For luminaries connected to mains, we do surge testing, electricity transient testing, voltage dips & interruptions, THD – Total Harmonic Distortion under the electromagnetic immunity evaluation process to check the performance of the product where there are power quality issues. We also operate a lab for battery testing, where batteries & cells are tested for intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuse.
Our PV lab in Bengaluru conducts environmental simulation testing (vis-à-vis thermal cycling test, humidity freeze test, damp heat test), mechanical endurance tests such as hail (stone) test & mechanical load test, insulation tests such as wet leakage, current & dielectric withstand test and fire test for PV panels, etc. are to name a few. With all these, we facilitate manufacturers to meet total compliance to standards.
For wireless testing, we are coming up with a new testing facility that houses a 3-meter Fully Anechoic Chamber (FAC), for spurious emissions testing of luminary & LED products that are equipped with wireless features & IoT sensors. The lab also equips test facilities to support testing of conducted measurements. We are one of the few labs in India that offers an SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) test facility for handheld wireless devices.
In short, we are a truly one-stop and-end-to-end solution provider for our markets!
Why is testing important for lighting products? Why is it a necessity to comply with standards?
A product undergoes testing for three main reasons. First, to define the safety level of the product, both from an environmental as well as user point of view and second, to define the existence of the kind of hazard(s) and its various levels of impact on the users and the environment. The third reason is to facilitate harmony in the marketplace wherein manufacturers are often competing in the same product categories.
A user does not know what a hazard is, unless and until he/she encounters or experiences one. Therefore, a product should be hazard-proof, and this is achieved once a manufacturer adheres to all the requirements of the standard concerned as a pre-requisite, and declares that a product is designed to be safe.
Hence, adherences to standards are a must. This would give a common platform for benchmarking safe products to users. Moreover, hazards are defined according to the product’s end-applications, and therefore, product safety standards are designed to address various levels of hazards that an end application could potentially pose.
What are the accountabilities for a testing laboratory when it comes to product failure?
When a product sample is sent to a lab for testing, one of the priorities for the lab is to document all design parameters of the sample that has undergone testing – be it mechanical or electrical, or the critical components that have been used to build the product.
A manufacturer bears the onus of developing a product to meet standard requirements. Once a testing lab evaluates a product as per the relevant standard, it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to continue manufacturing the product applying the same standards of quality & safety that the product sample met during testing.
However, there are certain certification programmes, wherein a certification body that offers a certificate also authorises a license or a certification logo to be displayed on the product. Here, the certification body undertakes periodical factory inspections to verify whether the product marked with the body’s certification logo is manufactured as per the quality & safety standards of the product that was tested in the lab. As this inspection activity is a sampling process, the responsibility of continual compliance with the standard still lies with the manufacturer at all times.
As an international certification body, how do you gauge the implementation of Compulsory Registration Scheme (CRS) of BIS?
In India, lab operations by international certification bodies have evolved their presence in the country over a period, from operating a basic set-up to managing state-of-the-art testing facilities that support compliance with a wide array of Indian regulations. During the nascent stages of setting up labs, testing services were often offered in collaboration with government-owned labs. These government labs have been the backbone of any country, in taking the first steps towards compliance.
CRS is certainly a right step in this direction, given the phenomenal increase in the number of BIS recognized labs in India. As an outcome, manufacturers now find it easier to get their products fully tested and certified at a much faster pace.
How do you assess this development?
No doubt, regulators’ intentions behind this scheme is to introduce and build quality and safety standards in India. They want to make sure that safe products are delivered to users. They also intend to stop electronic dumping, besides pushing for domestic manufacturing. With all this on the cards, CRS looks promising.
However, with product testing labs mushrooming all over the country and vying for the attention of the manufacturer who wishes to register their product in BIS CRS, quality of service would be a key differentiator. In order to maintain a level playing field for all players in this cluttered product testing landscape, quality of services ought to be driving purchase decisions.
While TÜV Rheinland supports price structures and capping for top level pricing, there is a critical need to look into capping of the bottom level pricing as well. This is a must in order to protect the quality of service delivered and which, in turn, will make BIS CRS truly meet its objectives.
How is TÜV Rheinland helping to improve the situation in the Indian testing arena?
TÜV Rheinland adopts a dual approach of being a knowledge partner to regulators and a service provider to brands and product manufactures. We are part of various BIS and other regulatory committees (e.g. TEC) wherein we bring knowledge to the regulators on international standards & norms so as to keep harmonising the testing & reporting processes under the regulatory schemes. We try making the compliance process faster for manufacturers. Since India is the future growth market for us, we have been expanding our facilities to meet market demands.
I would like to add, TÜV Rheinland is committed to protect safety & quality standards in the interaction amongst people, technology and the environment. With India as a major growth market, we look forward to enabling manufacturers to introduce products for Indian markets that are backed by safety & quality standards, in an evolving regulatory environment in the country.