ALCAD Testing & Certification lab: certificate of quality, flexibility and speed to design and launch new products on the market
ALCAD Electronics is one of the few manufacturers in Spain that has its own Testing & Certification laboratory. This means that we have the capacity to carry out the necessary tests on the products internally, thus validating the necessary certifications according to the regulations of each market. This is an important department that gives us great flexibility when designing and launching new products.
ALCAD's Testing & Certification laboratory was set up in 2002 with the aim of supporting the R&D area and helping to certify quality, as well as making the development process of any new product more flexible and faster. Since then, hundreds of references have passed through the laboratory's test benches, allowing them to be launched on the market with maximum guarantees.
As Iñaki Urkia and Pedro Urroz, heads of the laboratory, explain, "all this is possible because the tests are very exhaustive: we carry them out according to harmonised standards and thanks to ALCAD's ISO:9001 quality certificate. And because certifications such as the CE marking are quite demanding, it also allows us to sell in other countries where the standards, although different, are a little less exhaustive."
The company opted for this model at the time, making a significant financial and human effort, and time has proven right those who saw this laboratory as an important tool in the development of ALCAD's product catalogue, which currently has more than 2,000 references.
The advantages for a manufacturer like ALCAD are innumerable. "For example, we can take measurements at earlier stages of the development of a specific new product, anticipating possible problems so that they can be solved quickly," say Iñaki and Pedro. "And in the final stages, we can achieve certification more quickly so that we can bring it to market sooner."
But also, "it also allows us to solve problems that would otherwise greatly delay the introduction of a product in a particular market. We recently sold a number of products in Hong Kong, but they required us to pass a number of tests that are not mandatory in Spain. What we did was to contact them, make the necessary modifications, and after the new tests, send the order directly to them," they explain.
A Testing & Certification laboratory with all the tools
ALCAD's Testing & Certification laboratory has all the tools to carry out the certifications the company needs. "Mainly, we measure what the equipment radiates and what it withstands from external radiation. In other words, immunity and radiation," they explain. "We have very specific equipment, such as a TEM cell, climatic chambers for temperature tests, a gun capable of discharging 15,000 volts... but also analysers, generators, perfectly calibrated accessories... the list is very long and varied," they admit.
The list of tests to be carried out per product is very varied and depends on each product: "For example, we measure the disturbance voltage, i.e. how much it contaminates the electrical network. Or the behaviour of the equipment in the event of electrostatic discharges or shock waves. And what is most surprising, which are the disturbances via the mains and which often even affect the software."
In the Testing & Certification laboratory, a close eye must be kept on any regulatory changes to ensure that any ALCAD product sold on the market has a valid certification. "In recent times, the most important developments have to do with the RED directive, concerning radio wave equipment, as well as safety regulations, which has forced us to change the whole certification process for a lot of equipment."
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