“We focus on products that are safe for environment”

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TÜV Rheinland is a global provider of testing, inspection and certification services. Founded in 1872, the company has its headquarters in Cologne, Germany employing more than 16,000 people in 500 locations in 65 countries. The Group’s mission and guiding principle is to achieve sustained development of safety and quality in order to meet the challenges arising from the interaction between man, technology and the environment.

Shanmuga Sundaram, country head–material testing laboratories, TUV Rheinland India spoke to Ashwin Gopinath of EFY about TUV’s operations in India and future plans.


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Shanmuga Sundaram

Q. Could you start by giving us an overview of TUV India?
A. TUV Rheinland is a Germany-based notified body. We are extensively involved in 6 major different activities, which include industry service, mobility, product safety and quality, training and consultancy, health care and system certifications. Our industry service departments are extensively involved in third-party inspections, material characterisations, pressure equipment directives compliance and certifications. From a mobility point of view, we certify cars for their safety.

TUV is involved in Testing Inspection and Certification (TIC). We evaluate men, machine, material and methodology and certify them. We even certify the organisations against various international standards, which include ISO 9001 for system level compliance – quality management system (QMS), ISO 14000 for environmental compliance, ISO 22000 for food safety, ISO 27000 for information security.

Q. Could you tell us about any on-going projects of TUV?
A. The project DG-HSPM (Hazardous Substance Process Management Standard), which is a part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity, is a partnership program funded by DEG Industrial Bank in Germany. The aim of this project is to help the electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing industry in India to comply with a new standard called HSPM Standard. In other terms, the standard can be identified as ICQ HSPM QCO 80000.

Q. Could you elaborate on the challenges of working with environmental directives for foreign markets?
A. Today if you are looking to enter the European market, you need to comply with certain environmental directives. These environmental directives look to safeguard the safety of the environment and of the people. So all along, we not only concentrate on producing a quality product but a very important criterion is that it shouldn’t be unsafe to the people and the environment. In other words, every product you manufacture should be free from certain identified hazardous substances and the product should be designed in such a way that even after the life cycle gets over, it should be easily recyclable or recycling activity friendly.

This environmental directive is called WEEE (Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment) Directive. It clearly indicates RRR (Recovery Recycling Ratios) which is very important. After the usage, the product should be re-cyclic friendly and easily dismantled. Even if it is recycled, you should be in a position to recover more material out of that and if material recovery is not possible you need to have a better energy recovery out of that. After material & energy recovery, the left overs going for land fill should not contain any hazardous substance in it. In simpler terms, your product should be free from hazardous substances, environmental friendly, and a green product.

So this particular project helps these industries to meet new environmental directives in Europe, which is called ROHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substance). This particular directive can be identified with a specific European Directive Number 2002/95/EC.

Q. Could you give us more insights on the ROHS Directive and how this project benefits the industries?
A. This particular directive talks about the restriction of 6 hazardous substances, which includes Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent chromium, Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and Polybrominated diethyl ethers. All these 6 substances have to be restricted and at the moment, the directive is applicable only in Europe.

Even India has introduced India-specific ROHS Regulation known as Indian ROHS. Already the legislation is in force. So all the electronic component manufacturers in India with certain categories will have an obligation to meet this hazardous substance level by May, 2014 i.e. they have to control the hazardous substance even if electronic manufacturing industries are either exporting to Europe or operating domestically. Our idea is to help them meet this new environmental initiative. So this project ensures that they meet this hazardous substance requirement not only on a product level but also raw materials, intermittent products and process chemicals.

So, the new standards are the IECQ HSPM 80000 or IECQ HSPM QCO 80000. This particular standard is an ideal approach for the industry to adopt a system level compliance. ROHS works on the product level and this particular initiative will help them to meet this new standard and this industry will have a complete know-how about this standard out of this project. We have selected 10 SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) in and around Bengaluru and Hosur and these industries participated in this project. People from these industries are completely trained by our experts and get a qualification of an Internal Auditor. We train them thoroughly and with this they build the in-house capacity. We also consulted them and helped them identify what is the gap they have with their existing system.

Q. What are the criteria for these SMEs to participate in this project?
A. Basically the 2 important criteria are, firstly, the organisation should deal with electrical or electronic equipment or they can be one of the suppliers to these equipment industries. Secondly, the SMEs must have an ISO 9000, a basic quality management system. Based on that out of the 15 companies that participated in the beginning, we have selected 10 companies.

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