TÜV Rheinland addresses energy issues, export opportunities

TÜV Rheinland was founded in 1872 to inspect pressure vessels in the districts of Elberfeld and Barmen, Germany (TÜV stands for Technische Überwachungsvereine, or Technical Inspection Organization; the organization was previously called DÜV, where the D stood for Dampfkessel, or steam boiler.) The end of the 19th century saw the addition of electric grids, while the beginning of the 20th century saw the addition of automobiles.

Today, TÜV Rheinland AG has expanded into a worldwide organization that employs about 17,000 people in 500 locations in 65 countries and generates annual revenues of €2 billion, according to CEO Dr. Manfred Bayerlein. In the US alone, TÜV Rheinland employs 500 people. “In the US we are active in product testing and certification, especially in the electronics area,” he said.

See related article, “Bayerlein Named Chairman of Germany's Technical Inspection Agencies' Association.”

A key area of expertise is energy. “Our capabilities are very strong in the whole energy area. We are the world's largest testing and inspection company for photovoltaic modules with a market share of 60%,” he said. He cited a joint venture in based in Arizona that can test and certify photovoltaic equipment for worldwide markets.

Dr. Bayerlein said TÜV Rheinland's position in energy makes it suited to help develop standards for smart-grid technologies. Renewable energy resources, he noted, are subject to fluctuation depending on the availability of sunshine or wind, for example. When energy supply is low in a particular region, he said, an SMS could be sent to instruct smart appliances like refrigerators to turn themselves off for a half hour—having minimal impact on the food they are storing. Though conceptually simple, much work needs to be done, he said, to define interfaces and protocols for units exchanging such SMS messages while maintaining smart-grid cybersecurity.

TÜV Rheinland also addresses the energy efficiency of individual products. The organization awards Green Product Certificates to products that meet requirements for carbon footprint throughout key phases of the lifecycle, energy efficiency in normal use, responsible use of chemical substances, and recyclability and use of recycled materials. “Green” is an important concept for European customers, Dr. Bayerlein said, adding it's very important to comply with RoHS regulations and make sure there are no detrimental substances like cadmium or lead in a product. “If American manufacturers want to sell their products into Europe it will be important that they satisfy the desire of European customers to have green products,” he said.

Dr. Bayerlein noted that although exports account for more than 50% of Germany's GDP, they account for only 12% of US GDP. Therefore, he sees significant opportunity for American manufacturers to compete by producing quality products that they can sell globally.

In an interview in our July print edition, Dr. Bayerlein elaborates on global competition, international approvals related to safety and electromagnetic compatibility, the importance of quality, and the pending trade agreement between the EU and the United States. That article will be available online later this week.

TÜV Rheinland at EMC 2013

In related news, TÜV Rheinland said it will be highlighting the testing capabilities of its five testing facilities in North America at EMC 2013 in August 5-9 in Denver. At the event, the organization will emphasize how it can help its clients get their products to market quickly. Customers can choose from EMC labs equipped with 5- and 10-meter chambers to handle products of varying sizes from many industry, including IT, wireless, industrial, medical, and renewable energy. Mobile EMC labs can test at the customer’s location. All TÜV Rheinland's EMC labs are ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited, FCC-listed, VCCI (the Japanese Voluntary Control Council for Interference by Information Technology Equipment)-registered, and IC (Industry Canada)-recognized, and its Pleasanton, CA, lab carries both Wi-Fi and ZigBee accreditations.

In addition, TÜV Rheinland of North America is accredited by OSHA and Standards Council of Canada. It can provide inverter/converter testing and certification services for the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and it can assist with local grid connection requirements. TÜV Rheinland’s International Approvals team assists with EMC requirements worldwide.


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