What is certification supposed to do?

Why should I look for a company that carries some sort of certification? What does that mean?

12/23/2010


Dear Control Engineering: I was looking at the Automation Integrator Guide, and the term “CSIA Certified” comes up again and again. What does that mean?

You’ve probably heard the old maxim: Plan your work and work your plan. This basic concept is at the heart of certification programs. Whether you’re certified by ISO, CSIA, FDA, or other regulatory body, the common element is that you perform your work functions consistently and according to a plan.

The certification body will outline the nature of the functions that are relevant to the certification, and then you fill in the details of how those particular jobs are to be done in a series of procedures. Individual workers that perform those jobs then receive appropriate training.

For example, let’s say you’re a company that makes ½-inch hex nuts on a screw machine. The procedure for making the nuts will specify things like what material is appropriate, applicable dimensional tolerances, and how often the operator is supposed to check the threads with a gage. The company order processing department will need to say how orders are to be entered into the system, how to make changes, shipping procedures, and so forth. The point of all this is to make sure you do those jobs the same way every time. The certification body audits your company to observe what goes on and talk to people doing the work to make sure they understand and follow the correct procedures. If everybody works the plan, you get certified. Auditors return at various time intervals to make sure you are still following your procedures.

System integrators have procedures that are relevant to the kind of work they do. They cover functions like dealing with customer specifications, how to document changes, purchasing, and the like.

Certification doesn’t mean that a manufacturer always makes a quality product or that a system integrator will always find the best solution to a problem. What it is supposed to do is make sure that your internal structures will not interfere with that possibility, and that you perform consistently.

As a customer, certification means that your supplier has created systems that ensure consistency and clarity. It also says that the people you are working with are trained in their jobs and know what they’re doing. If you work in very specialized industries, such as a nuclear power plant, it says that the supplier understands the pecularities of your requirements. The integrators themselves do a better job of explaining this in the video interview with the System Integrator of the Year winners. That will fill in some additional details.

Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Motor specification guidelines; Understanding multivariable control; Improving a safety instrumented system; 2017 Engineers' Choice Award Winners
Selecting the best controller from several viewpoints; System integrator advice for the IIoT; TSN and real-time Ethernet; Questions to ask when selecting a VFD; Action items for an aging PLC/DCS
Robot advances in connectivity, collaboration, and programming; Advanced process control; Industrial wireless developments; Multiplatform system integration
Motion control advances and solutions can help with machine control, automated control on assembly lines, integration of robotics and automation, and machine safety.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Future of oil and gas projects; Reservoir models; The importance of SCADA to oil and gas
Big Data and bigger solutions; Tablet technologies; SCADA developments
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Jose S. Vasquez, Jr.
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.

(copy 5)

click me