In the U.S. and Canada, certification marks can be used on a number of products in a variety of ways. Intertek Certified products can be listed, recognized, classified, or have a limited production certification (LPC). By nature of their work, inspectors and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) will encounter a variety of marks in the field, so it is important to understand what each type means, what it entails, and what sets it apart.
A listed product has had samples tested and deemed compliant to applicable product safety standards. In addition to illustrating full compliance, listing allows a manufacturer to continuously label production, requires quarterly follow-up inspections and follow-up service reports. This makes it good for volume production. Testing can occur at a testing lab or factory, and the mark is accepted nationwide.
Recognized components are incomplete objects used in end products. Examples include a fuse used within a power supply or the casing of a motor. Recognition can be used to test and certify components of a larger product to specification. It will include a specification as to how the component was assessed and how it can be used to ensure the end product is compliant. Additionally, if assessing an assembly or larger product, knowing that components have a recognized listing can help the inspection or certification of the entire product as those recognized do not need to be reassessed.
A recognized component assessment illustrates compliance to a standard, with conditions relating to proper component installation. Like the listing options, it allows manufacturers to continuously label production, requires quarterly follow-up inspections and follow-up service reports. Testing can occur at a lab or factory. Recognized component certification is good for volume production and has nationwide acceptance.
A classified product has been assessed to accepted standards, but not all aspects of the design have been assessed. An example would be a medical product that meets the safety requirements of medical product standards, but not electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements. Another example would be a safe or strongbox that is fireproof, but not burglarproof, as it can be stolen in its entirety if it isn’t secured to the floor.
Classification illustrates compliance to certain aspects of a standard (for example, electrical safety) while not evaluating other aspects (such as physiological effects or effectiveness of treatment). It allows manufacturers to continuously label production, requires quarterly follow-up inspection and follow-up service reports. It is a good option for volume production. Testing can occur at a testing lab or factory and is accepted nationwide.
Limited Production Certification (LPC)
Limited Production Certification (LPC), also called single batch certification, applies when one or only a few pieces of the equipment are manufactured or produced. The evaluation may be performed at the manufacturing location or a testing laboratory. The process includes evaluation and testing of the equipment and review of the components used, the markings, and the associated drawings. Once the equipment has been certified, and the applicable label has been attached, the product can be sold anywhere in the United States and Canada.
There are several situations that may call for an LPC. If a product is unlisted, the quantity of units may run from one to several hundred. All production is scheduled within a contiguous three-month period. If a limited “market test” run of a product that would normally be mass-produced is planned, LPC can be valuable for the production schedule. If a significant modification to a listed product will be made to a certain number of units, LPC may be used where a published or draft standard exists. An LPC involves illustrating full conformance to recognized standards, assessing a representative sample in the lab or factory, and certification applied at the final point of assembly to a limited number of units produced over a defined time. An LPC report is also issued at the end of the process. No ongoing quarterly inspections are required, given that it is for a set number of units in a certain time frame.
With a variety of products serving a variety of uses, it is important to understand the difference between the certification types. This understanding can aid in equipment inspections and completion of projects..