Certifications in technical ceramics
Certifications basically follow two directions:
- A main area includes the certification of operational management systems (e.g. for quality, energy or environmental management).
- Another area extends to the certification of materials or products that are used, their respective origin as well as their manufacture for safety-relevant or sensitive areas of application (such as drinking water, food or pharmaceuticals). In this regard, it also means that products are manufactured according to certain standards (for standard ceramic components, e.g. according to sizes, diameters, etc.).
Where applicable, individuals can also be certified according to their special qualifications.
In principle, certification is means of confirmation that companies or organisations comply with certain specified standards or guidelines (e.g. regarding quality and the environment). It’s carried out by independent certification bodies and can be recognised and valid both nationally and internationally, but this is usually limited in time. A specific certification is usually a prerequisite to be able to meet the requirements of the customers. In the case of industrial ceramics, the certificates generally relate to the scope of “development, manufacture and distribution of ceramic products”.
Certification bodies such as DQS, TÜV and DEKRA issue their certificates independently. In Germany, they’re approved exclusively by the national accreditation body DakkS. In accordance with EC regulation 765/2008 and the Accreditation Body Act (AkkStelleG), this body acts in the public interest and not for profit. DakkS is the sole service provider for accreditation in Germany.
Certifications relevant for companies in the field of technical ceramics
Certification of operational management systems:
- The international DIN EN ISO 9001 standard defines the requirements for quality management systems and continuous quality checks in companies. A key goal of ISO 9001 is to create trust in the products and services and to increase customer satisfaction.
- Requirements for environmental management systems are certified as part of DIN ISO 14001. This concerns systematically managing environmental protection, using sustainable resources and avoiding climate risks. The entire life cycle of a product, from development through production to recycling or final disposal, is also taken into consideration.
- DIN EN ISO 50001 encompasses requirements for the introduction, implementation and optimisation of energy management systems.
Certification for materials or products used:
- DIN EN ISO 13485 determines the requirements for quality management systems for medical products. Approval for FDA-compliant use is also important for technical ceramics (US Food and Drug Administration). For use in the food sector, it must also be proven that components made of ceramic materials are “food-safe” and can be used in food production, processing and packaging without concern. In addition, they must also be harmless to health and neutral in smell and taste.
- ISO TS 16949 – specifies requirements for quality management systems for series and spare parts production in the automotive industry.
- DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 encompasses general competence requirements for testing and calibration laboratories and material testing. Impartiality and a consistent way of working by laboratories are also regulated by this standard.
- AS/ASD 9100, which is based on ISO 9001, is important for companies that produce in the American market in the fields of aerospace and defense.
- UL-, cUL– or CSA – is an independent certification organisation in the field of product safety and was established by the US Underwriter Association to define test procedures and standards for product safety. This is particularly important for companies that produce for the American market, where product liability laws are much stricter than in Europe. The UL/cUL approval always refers to all pre-production stages, starting with the production of materials and processing to placing on the market. Appropriate evidence must be provided for each of these levels. UL certification is common, for example for electrical components such as ceramic chip varistors for overvoltage limitation or SMD ceramic capacitors.
So-called hard armour ballistic ceramics and bullet proof protection classes are generally certified according to the technical guideline TR 2008, and in the case of protective vests according to the classes:
- SK 1: Bullet-resistant against soft-core bullets, for example for protective vests against the threat of small arms and knife attacks
- SK 2: Bullet-resistant against armor-piercing bullets
- SK 3: Bullet-resistant against ammunition from rifles
- SK 4: Bullet-resistant against rifle ammunition with hard core and full jacket