KOMO innovation certificatesMay 8, 2023
Innovation Certificates can be issued from within the KOMO system but what are these exactly and how does a KOMO Innovation Certificate relate to the ordinary KOMO Product Certificate? ”There appears to be a lack of clarity on this so it’s good to explain,” says Erik-Jan de Bont, operational manager for the KOMO Foundation.
“First of all, there are the three pillars involved in certification: standardisation, metrology and conformity assessment. Accredited certification schemes are supported by these pillars. When we talk about Product Certification in relation to concrete, it leads to the following interplay.“
The process of standardisation is work performed by institutes such as NEN. If there is a market-wide technological development in which the industry develops, more or less as a whole in a certain direction, then at some point this development leads to the need for a broadly supported standard in the form of requirements and assessment methods that provide the basis for comparing products within the entire industry. And that need is reflected in the development of a normative document. For example, standardisation looks into: What should something comply with? How do we establish exactly what compliance is?
Sometimes a final answer to these questions doesn’t appear to be readily available because the necessary experience and product knowledge is lacking, however, if it concerns concrete, it is possible to start a CROW CUR process for this purpose. Within such a process both questions are answered on the basis of focused research covering general suitability for the application. Ultimately, this results in a pre-normative document: a CROW-CUR Recommendation.
“If the market has access to a normative document, it doesn’t mean everything is done and dusted,” Erik-Jan de Bont explains. Because if a measurement is taken in two places you can’t just put these side by side and assume they mean the same thing. So this is the subject for metrology focussing on questions such as: Can we compare each other’s measurements? Are we using the same reference points? You cover matters such as calibration of measuring equipment and traceability according to international standards. Metrology is a complicated subject. Accredited laboratories spend lots of time and money on it.
This is the domain in which KOMO operates. Ultimately, the core question is: Can we trust each other?
Certification focuses – in the case of product certification – on creating trust between producer and buyer. One party demands demonstrable compliance with the requirements and assessment methods in the normative document, and the other party has its product certified to be able to demonstrate compliance. This is one of the needs met by ordinary KOMO Product Certificates
KOMO innovation certificates
And what is the situation when it comes to the KOMO innovation certificates? Companies innovate and are sometimes ahead of market-wide development. This isn’t about setting standards in order to be able to compare products with each other, given that at the moment there are either very few providers or none at all.
There is, however, a need for a different type of conformity statement. The producer needs a certificate that focuses mainly on the constancy of the quality delivered plus a description of what is meant by that quality. This need is met by the KOMO innovation certificate.
When it concerns concrete, a KOMO innovation certificate focuses on defining product characteristics and demonstrating that there is always full compliance with the requirements set out for those characteristics. This is different from targeted research covering general suitability for the application in a CROW-CUR process.
The KOMO Innovation Assessment Guideline is not a substitute for a standardisation process. The KOMO Innovation Assessment Guideline fulfils the role of a pre-KOMO Assessment Guideline. It is driven by the need to respond more quickly to market changes in the field of independent conformity assessment. Every KOMO innovation assessment guideline must be converted into an ordinary KOMO assessment guideline within a maximum period of 3 years. If the certificate holder does not seize the opportunity to have an ordinary KOMO assessment guideline issued within this period, the KOMO innovation assessment guideline concerned and the certificates issued in relation to it, will nevertheless be withdrawn.
Viewed in this light, every KOMO innovation certificate is thus by definition a certificate of a transient nature. There are also other differences between a KOMO Innovation Certificate and an ordinary KOMO Product Certificate. See below for a list of these.