The development of the IECEx System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for use in Explosive Atmospheres by the International Electrotechnical Commission, or IEC, marks a progressive new chapter for the Ex community in establishing international standards of safety.
The scope of IECEx certification covers the manufacturing and design of equipment and systems, repair and maintenance alongside the competence of people and service providers.
President and Group Chief Executive of SIRIM Berhad Dato Dr Ahmad Sabirin Arshad said during the launch, “Ex – or explosive atmosphere – industries are defined as those where the working environment have the presence of explosive materials, such as flammable liquids, vapours, gasses and combustible dusts. They cover a vast spectrum of industries, many of which are significant contributors to Malaysia’s economic growth such as oil and gas, chemicals, aviation and printing.
“Given the risks of explosions occurring in such environments, there is a need for Ex industries to meet the most stringent quality of safety and competency. I believe that conformity assessment has a massive role to play in the future growth of these industries in Malaysia and globally,” he added.
The online launch event was also attended by Paul Meanwell – Chairman of IECEx and Ir. Salmey Halim - Chairman of The National IECEx Committee who gave a keynote address. Also in attendance were SIRIM QAS International Chief Executive Officer Nur Fadhilah Muhamad, representatives from industries and government agencies in Malaysia, including PETRONAS, Malaysian Oil & Gas Services Council and the Institute of Engineers Malaysia.
Being Malaysia’s leading testing, inspection, and certification provider, SIRIM QAS has the requisite expertise and facilities to carry out verification and certification of Ex equipment and systems, service facilities and personnel. As of September 2021, it has certified 20 IECEx Service Facility Scheme certifications and 450 IECEx Certification of Personnel Competence Scheme certifications.
A global certification framework in highly regulated sectors such as Ex breaks down technical barriers to trade. For the Ex community, this means reduced costs and time-to-market associated with having to undergo multiple conformity assessment criteria of different countries.
At the same time, Common Rules of Procedures and operational documents are applied by all Ex certification bodies, ensuring acceptance in key markets. Certification demonstrates continuous compliance to international standards, enhancing confidence of stakeholders in products and services.
Chairman of IECEx, Paul Meanwell in welcoming SIRIM to IECEx said that it is an important milestone for SIRIM as it joins a network of 61 IECEx accredited Certification Bodies from all around the globe.
“Malaysia, a long-standing active Member Country of IECEx has been issued with almost 900 CoPC certificates in total,” he added.
Aside from the scheme launch, SIRIM QAS also unveiled its partnerships with two Ex Testing Laboratories – Technology Institution of Industrial Safety (TIIS), Japan and Karandikar Laboratories Pvt. Ltd., India.
The TIIS partnership was the result of a 2019 Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with SIRIM QAS International which touched on collaborations for education and training, technical cooperation and exchange of information for IECEx certifications. The MoU with Karandikar Laboratories was signed last year for technical cooperation in IECEx related testing and certification services.