Arrow has a great article in their blog this week on product certification. Product certification can be the forgotten cost and schedule item in some projects. In part its reads:
It’s critical to get the right certifications when you’re developing and building a new technology product. Having the right certifications shows customers that you’ve succeeded at meeting specific standards and signals to them that they can trust your brand.
There are many types of tech certifications out there, available from hundreds of organizations worldwide. Looking through certifications can get complicated because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, but failing to get the certifications you need could result in fines or legal action against your company.
To help you get a better understanding of how to think through what certifications you might need, we’ve illustrated three hypothetical products and the certifications they’d need to sell in the United States.
To summarize their list and add more context:
- Underwriter Laboratories (UL) – Typically required for anything that runs at 110 and/or has safety critical functions. Don’t forget CE, CSA and other country specific requirements.
- Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (ROHS) – This is typically dealt with by requiring that all your raw materials be certified. With this sale into Europe is not possible and more countries are adopting these standards or derivatives every day.
- Additional Children’s Safety Standards – Specific to children’s toys however a risk assessment and more specifically a choking risk assessment should be done on any household items. Bayard Design has an in-house choking risk test fixture for such testing.
- Specific Carrier Certifications – For cellular communication networks providers like At&T may require that your radio or chip set be specifically certified by them for use on their network. This is typically resolved by sourcing a certified radio, however, this could force you into a specific carrier or an older chip set.
- Battery Pack Certifications – UN testing is typically required to air freight any item containing a lithium battery due to its extreme fire risk.
- Bluetooth Regulatory Certification – This is typically resolved by sourcing a certified chip set or radio.
- Federal Communication Commission (FCC) – This is mostly resolved by sourcing a certified radio. However there will likely still be unintentional emitter testing and other simple testing to ensure your product doesn’t interfere with other devices. Furthermore there are many good reasons to NOT source a certified radio like a desire for smaller size or enhanced range. Additional testing will be required, but it can be enabling in enhancing product performance.
- NSF International (Formerly known as the National Sanitation Foundation) – This is mostly resolved with material selection however certain products may require more testing.
Bayard Design has relationships with all the major national and many regional test houses to facilitate all your testing needs. For some tests we can do pre-testing in-house to ensure a successful outcome.