Why certifying your Fire Safety and Security products is a wise – and necessary – choice
Fire can destroy not only buildings and houses, but also lives. A fire alarm or sprinkler system must therefore function properly and meet requirements set. Not only in homes, but also for example in tunnels, hospitals, schools and data centers.
Kiwa offers a wide range of testing and certification services in the field of Fire Safety and Security (FSS) electrical or electronic equipment. We do so for manufacturers who wants to bring these products to the international market. Let us inform you about procedures, relevant standards and the work of Kiwa’s Test Engineers.
Why testing and certification?
Testing equipment and making sure it complies to relevant standards is an important step for manufacturers who want to market a product. Guusje Fonville, Project Manager FSS products and Test Engineer at Kiwa explains: “Standards ensure that products meet certain quality requirements. They describe various levels and grades of testing; each grade can have different requirements. Regarding fire, safety and security products, we test the performance of a product: does it meet the relevant standards? Does it perform according to the producer’s claims? Can it handle environmental factors as claimed by the manufacturer? Insurance companies can also require certain security standards for products used by insured parties.”
Product testing: how does it work
Suppose you are a manufacturer and you develop a smoke detector for an international market. To have the product certified, you contact Kiwa. Guusje explains the full procedure: “We’ll first ask you where you want to sell your product. Then, we will determine to which certification schemes it must comply. As schemes have different quality levels, we will advise which level to choose. As soon as your prototype and documentation are ready, we’ll set up a test plan for your smoke detector. Provided all necessary input is available on time, we can test very efficiently – and thus, we’ll make sure the time to market is as short as possible.”
There are certain conditions, Guusje stresses. “Of course, we’ll inform you about testing progress throughout the entire process. When testing starts, you as a manufacturer play an important role when it comes to providing input when necessary. An assessment of the production facility can also be part of a test project, so be prepared for that. If, for any reason, a test fails, we will inform you about that. You can then make improvements and have the product retested – or choose to stop development. But let’s assume all goes according to plan and we can conclude testing successfully. We will ensure you receive the test reports and certificates immediately. And then, your product is ready to enter the market!”
What does the work of Guusje entail?
Guusje explains: “As a Test Engineer in the field of Fire, Safety and Security at Kiwa, I am responsible for testing products used in fire alarm systems and security systems. Think of fire detectors, evacuation systems, sirens, detectors for burglary protection, and so on. I assess whether a product meets applicable requirements and, if necessary, schedule a factory inspection."
"The position of test engineer is very varied. The large range of products, with their own requirements, as the variety of tests which have to be performed. We perform tests in all kinds of areas, ranging from EMC to climate and electrical tests. These are also important to check whether the product performs like the manufacturer claims. For example, we test smoke detectors in a smoke tunnel and in our fire chamber, using different fuels that create different types of smoke.”
“As a Project Manager, I do not only perform tests, but I am also our customer’s first contact; whenever there are problems, they can consult me. My colleague Test Engineers perform tests and keep customers and me up to date about the outcomes. That way, I keep track of all projects. After tests have been performed, I inform customers about the outcomes. The combination of full project responsibility and still being able to perform tests myself is something I really like.”
Standards for Fire Safety and Security products
Fire safety products
Fire safety products range from sounders, heat detectors and smoke detectors to voice alarm control and indicating equipment. Certification of these products can be performed according to e.g. the Construction Product Regulation (CPR) No 305/2011, the EN 54-3, EN 54-5, EN 54-7 and EN 54-16 standards.
Security products can be detectors, magnetic contacts, panels, shock detectors, sirens, and power supplies. Verification of security products can be performed according to standards like EN 50131-2-2, EN 50131-2-6, EN 50131-3, EN 50131-2-8, EN 50131-4, EN 50131-6 and T 031.