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20.03.2015

To certify, or not to certify – that is the question

Each company decides whether or not it needs to certify its own goods and services. Nevertheless, these days certification has become a kind of seal of quality of goods in the market. In Russia, the certification culture has begun to actively develop in recent years, while in Europe it became a mandatory requirement for manufacturers long ago.

The importance of certification, particularly for lighting equipment, should not be underestimated. Quality certificates are those “markers” which identify to customers a product which really is good. Moreover, customers have become choosey and understand the meaning of one certificate or another and know the companies who conduct audits and laboratory investigations. As a result, customers demand more from the purchased product, and the requirements of certifying authorities and product tests have also become stricter.

Unfortunately, a lot of certifying companies currently in the market do not always conduct high-quality tests. There are a lot of examples showing that, according to the results of independent testing, those specifications claimed by lighting equipment manufacturers are not met. Thus, if a manufacturer is really convinced in the quality of his product, he should address experienced companies with a worldwide reputation. For example, Russian LED lighting fixtures manufacturer AtomSvet LLC regularly confirms the compliance of its products with quality standards, including international ones.

Over a period of several years the company has been working actively in obtaining certificates for the different series of its products. AtomSvet LLC chose a German office of one of the largest European companies, TÜV SÜD, as its certifying authority. The Independent corporation, TÜV SÜD, was founded in 1866 and is currently one of the leading technical service organizations in the world. More than 400,000 companies are clients of TÜV SÜD, and its certifying authority, TÜV SÜD Management Service, has issued more than 35,000 certificates solely for quality management.

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It should be mentioned that AtomSvet LLC is the only Russian manufacturer possessing СЕ and GS certificates for industrial LED lighting fixtures. Currently they are actively working on securing compliance of the explosion-proof AtomSvet® Plant Ex lighting fixtures series with the international ATEX explosion protection standard. Additionally, AtomSvet regularly undergoes a quality management audit under ISO 9001 directives.

The Development Director of AtomSvet LLC, Yelena Filatova, comments: “Nowadays a responsible attitude of companies towards the quality of goods and services offered to customers has become a crucial factor in competing in the market, especially in the European market. Analyzing the latest trends and studying practical cases, the Russian market sees the issue of certificate for lighting fittings as one of the entry barriers. I would also state that selecting a certifying authority in Europe we regarded the reputation of the laboratory in the market, as well as detailed study of the product for compliance with the strictest European directives, as the main criteria.”

Apart from quality verification of the products, obtaining of certificates is important from the point of view of internal processes. For example, before launching a new product the manufacturer must conduct laboratory testing of a prototype (so called prior certification). This process allows non-compliance with technical specifications of the product to be identified at the test sample stage. And so there is an opportunity to refine and improve the goods before launching their batch production.

Certification of lighting equipment

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Certification of lighting equipment is a complex process, as a lighting fixture comprises optical, electrical and mechanical components. Each of them is tested for compliance with the relevant requirements.

Optical components of products are tested for compliance with the claimed specifications, such as luminous flux, colour temperature (of warm or cold light), colour rendering index (an important specification for branches of industry dealing with colour-transmitted data), and light intensity distribution curve (LIDC), correct selection of which allows the illumination to be optimized.

The electrical components of lighting fixtures are tested for interference tolerance (the ability to continue normal operation under the impact of external interference) and electromagnetic interference (the generated interference signals must not exceed the standard acceptable values). Usually, experts test the efficiency factor of lighting fixtures (this index influences operating costs) and a range of other specifications.

All components of lighting fixtures are tested for compliance with the required degree of protection, i.e. the level dust-proof and moisture-proof properties, resistance to mechanical stresses, etc. These specifications often determine the service life and serviceability of a lighting fixture.

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