Many consumers are familiar with the TÜV seal on household and electrical appliances. However, the members of the TÜV association not only test toasters or refrigerators, but in fact almost everything that can be held in the hand, moves or is permanently installed. From toys to vehicles and elevators to medical devices, steam boilers and even power plants and chemical plants.
Some of these tests are mandatory by European legislation because of the high risk potential of the products. For example, a manufacturing company may only put a pacemaker on the market if it has first been tested and found to be safe by an independent body such as TÜV. However, most tests are carried out voluntarily at the request of the manufacturing company or the dealer. This applies, for example, to electrical appliances or toys.
Digitalization makes it necessary to redefine the concept of product safety
With increasing digitization, product safety is being defined more broadly than before. Today, a product must not only be physically safe, i.e., protected from electric shock, for example, but must also be able to withstand cyberattacks. This applies to networked vehicles and systems just as much as to the "smart home". Products and applications that use artificial intelligence also pose new challenges. Independent tests can provide additional security here. The TÜV Association is therefore working to ensure that IT security is more firmly anchored in national and European legislation.
In addition to the digital functions of products, climate protection and sustainability are also increasingly coming into focus. The entire life cycle of products, from manufacture to disposal or recycling, must be taken into account. Compliance with minimum ecological and ethical standards is an important purchasing criterion for many consumers. Independent testing organizations can use on-site audits or laboratory tests to determine whether companies are fulfilling their due diligence obligations. However, this requires a binding legal framework. That is why the TÜV Association is campaigning for a European supply chain law.
To safeguard the quality infrastructure, testing organizations must continuously meet the highest standards of competence and independence in order to obtain the license to test - known as accreditation. Another important component of the quality infrastructure are the norms and standards to be complied with by the testing organizations themselves in the context of product testing. This is the so-called conformity assessment.Whether products can be taken in the hand, move, or are permanently installed - the TÜV Association is committed to ensuring that all products are as safe as possible.