Marking of approvals on cable is generally a straightforward issue in terms of correct interpretation. The mark of the approvals body is always accompanied by a mark of origin which is usually a name or brand, but sometimes a unique reference number, to positively identify the owning manufacturer.
It is also the case that the use of registered marks and Logos on cable manufacturers’ promotional material such as catalogues, or websites is strictly controlled by the rules of the issuing authority.
Examples of such marks are the BASEC, LPCB and BSI marks, and all of these organisations monitor use of the marks in the market.
One area of potential confusion for suppliers and installers of electric cables has been the essential differences between a mark signifying compliance with the requirements of a Quality Management System standard and a mark or logo indicating the status of a Product Approval.
It is therefore important to explain the essential differences between the use of such marks e.g. BASEC.
The Quality Management System certification signifies compliance with an applicable standard e.g. BS EN ISO 9001.This international standard specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organisation:
a) needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and
b) aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of systems, including processes for continuous improvement of the system and conformity assurance.
So the Quality Management System establishes resources and procedures for organisation, management, document control, quality policy, planning, management review, customer focus, quality control, corrective action, calibration, etc.
It does not define details of product design, or manufacture and testing. These factors are defined in the Product Standard e.g.
BS 7846:2009 – “Electric Cable - Thermosetting insulated, armoured, fire resistant cables of rated voltage 600/1000V, having low emission of smoke and corrosive gases when affected by fire – Specification.
BS 7211:1998- Electric Cables - Thermosetting insulated, non armoured cables for voltages up to and including 450/750V, for electric power, lighting, and having low emissions of smoke and corrosive gases when affected by fire
These Product Standards fully define the requirements for the design, manufacture, performance and testing of groups of cables, usually by type, operating voltage and application.
It is by these standards that Approvals bodies e.g. BASEC offer and grant Product Approvals, accompanied by appropriate documentation.
The Approvals are issued and managed under Product Certification Schemes, which fully define requirements for achieving Approval. These include manufacturing and testing capability of the manufacturer, full type testing, routine surveillance testing programmes, rules for non compliance, sanctions and fees payable.
Acquisition and maintenance of Product Approvals e.g. from BASEC is a complicated and expensive process, nevertheless undertaken by manufacturers to underpin the quality status of their products.
The acquisition of a Quality Management System certificate is a prerequisite to an application for Product Approval.
Thus full Product Approval implies very much more than QMS certification. This is highlighted in the product certification scheme regulations for a BASEC Licence which states that:
“The Licensee may not use any mark in association with any product, where any Certificate(s) held relate(s) only to management systems and a Product Certificate is not held for that product.”
So, the essential message is:
These can be verified on the website of the issuing authority.
Finally, check the cable marking.