The first-ever DEKRA Inspected Panelbuilder Certificate has recently been awarded to Hotraco, The Netherlands. The Hegelsom-based manufacturer of products including control panels, switchgear assemblies and distribution panels successfully complied with all the assessment criteria within the new certification programme, which DEKRA launched in late 2014 in response to industry needs.
The panelbuilding industry faces unique challenges since manufacturers traditionally produce small volumes of many different products. Erwin de Goede, Business Development Manager at DEKRA, says: “Our scope as a world-leading testing, inspection and certification organisation specialised in safety, quality and environment also covers low-voltage (LV) panels and related products. Type testing and design verification of series-built systems is by far our most popular service among panelbuilders. For quality-conscious customers we also offer the KEMA-KEUR mark for panels. In addition to type testing, this includes an inspection of the production facility in accordance with CENELEC Inspection Guidelines (CIG).”
Unlike KEMA-KEUR, DEKRA Inspected Panelbuilder (DIP) is not related to a specific product. This means that although the inspection takes longer, it can cover more production lines and has a wider scope. Furthermore, DIP can be tailored to a panelbuilder’s individual needs, such as by combining the inspections for different export markets (e.g. Europe plus North America).
Maurice Knippenberg, Project Manager at Hotraco, comments: “We have many years of experience of working with DEKRA and its KEMA-KEUR mark". For a new series of products we were producing in relatively small numbers with lots of variety in the design, we approached DEKRA to discuss how to obtain Test Certificates and, if possible, KEMA-KEUR for those products”. Erwin explains: “The variety in designs combined with limited volumes in that product family was going to make it very expensive for Hotraco to obtain the KEMA-KEUR on all the products. That didn’t make commercial sense, so we had to find a creative solution to meet Hotraco’s needs.” That solution was the DEKRA Inspected Panelbuilder Certificate, which was launched as a new service in late 2014.
Erwin de Goede (left) awards the DEKRA Inspected Panelbuilder Certificate to Maurice Knippenberg of Hotraco (right).
The new service has been launched as a logical extension of the existing DEKRA services for panelbuilders, and the complete package is now as follows:
- Design verification according to IEC 61439-1 and IEC 61439-2
- DEKRA Inspected Panelbuilder (DIP)
- KEMA-KEUR (which is a combination of the first two aspects)
The factory inspections performed as part of KEMA-KEUR certification give manufacturers a ‘third pair of eyes’ on their quality processes. Compared with ISO certification, the CIG requirements are more focused on the actual manufacturing process and routine tests, thus consistently improving the quality of factory output. “At Hotraco, we see ourselves as a mature and experienced panelbuilder,” adds Maurice. “In that respect, it’s even more notable how much we learn when we spend a day side by side with the DEKRA inspector.” Hotraco strives to maintain the highest level of product and process quality, and being a ‘DEKRA Inspected Panelbuilder’ fits that ambition perfectly.
If you would like to know more about the DEKRA Inspected Panelbuilder Certificate, please contact us.