How does homologation work?
Homologation is the process by which a product or vehicle is certified as compliant with the technical and safety standards required for its use in a particular region or country. This process is essential to ensure that products, especially those related to transportation and safety, meet the necessary standards to protect consumers and the environment. In the European Union (EU), there is a unified system of homologation for many products and industries. For instance, the European Union has established the CE marking for various products to indicate conformity with European standards. The process involves assessing and certifying compliance with EU regulations.
However, certain industries, such as automotive, have additional regulations and bodies monitoring homologation.
How does homologation work?
The general process of homologation usually involves the following steps:
Product Assessment: Manufacturers or product developers must ensure that their product complies with the relevant technical and safety standards. This may involve testing, documentation, and design modifications.
Application: The manufacturer or distributor submits an application for homologation to the relevant regulatory authority or certification body.
Testing and Inspection: Depending on the product or industry, there may be a need for extensive testing and inspection by accredited laboratories or inspectors to verify compliance.
Certification: If the product successfully meets all the requirements, it is granted a homologation certificate or mark, which indicates that it is compliant with the applicable standards.
Ongoing Compliance: Some industries require ongoing monitoring and periodic re-certification to ensure continued compliance. This may include an audit of the factory.
Market Access: With the homologation certificate, the product can be legally marketed and sold in the target region or country.
It's important to note that homologation requirements can vary greatly between industries and regions. Non-compliance can result in legal consequences, product recalls, and damage to a company's reputation. Therefore, understanding and navigating the homologation process is essential for any organisation involved in the production and distribution of regulated goods or services.
Manufacturers and businesses must stay informed about the specific regulations that apply to their products to ensure compliance!
Homologation in the automotive industry
Homologation in the automotive industry is the process of certifying that a vehicle or vehicle component complies with the regulatory and safety standards set by the relevant authorities. This process ensures that vehicles are safe, environmentally friendly, and meet specific technical requirements. The specific procedures and requirements for homologation can vary internationally, in Europe, and within individual countries.
International homologation in the automotive industry
The “E-mark" indicates that a product conforms to specific UNECE regulations. The "E" stands for Europe and signifies that the product complies with UNECE regulations for safety and environmental performance. E-Marking is commonly found on automotive components, such as lighting, mirrors, and brakes, to demonstrate their compliance with UNECE standards.
A Certificate of Conformity (CoC) is issued by a regulatory authority or certification body to confirm that a specific vehicle component or product meets safety, environmental, and technical standards and regulations. Its primary purpose is to verify compliance with regional, national, or international standards, such as those by UNECE, and it serves as proof of compliance for customers or regulatory authorities. In some cases, a CoC from one region may be recognised in others, particularly when it aligns with widely accepted international standards.
A Certificate of Production (CoP) is issued by a regulatory authority or certification body to automotive manufacturers or suppliers to verify compliance with production standards and quality controls. This certificate is often required to sell vehicles or components in specific markets, serving as a crucial prerequisite for market entry. Regulatory authorities or customers may request this certificate to ensure that products meet local safety and quality requirements.
European Union (EU) homologation in the automotive industry
The European Union (EU) homologation process is based on Regulation (EU) 2018/858. It has replaced the previous framework of Directive 2007/46/EC on 1 September 2020 for the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their components. This new regulation aims to enhance vehicle safety, environmental performance, and market surveillance within the EU. It also introduces changes to the approval process and certification requirements for vehicles and their components.
Under Regulation (EU) 2018/858, the process begins with the type approval of vehicles or components. Manufacturers seeking to place their products on the EU market must demonstrate compliance with specific technical and safety standards applicable to their product category.
Regulation (EU) 2018/858 places a stronger emphasis on market surveillance to ensure that vehicles and components continue to meet the required standards after they have been placed on the market. Member states are responsible for monitoring and taking corrective actions when non-compliant products are identified.
Regulation 2018/858 aligns EU requirements with UNECE regulations more closely. The Union, in order to simplify its type-approval framework and align it with the international UNECE framework, repealed its specific type-approval directives in Regulation (EC) 661/2009 and replaced them with the mandatory application of the corresponding UN Regulations.
On 6 July 2022 (EU) 2019/2144 replaced Regulation (EC) 661/2009 on type-approval requirements for motor vehicles and their trailers, and systems, components and separate technical units intended for such vehicles, as regards their general safety and the protection of vehicle occupants and vulnerable road users.
National homologation in the automotive industry
Some countries may have their own unique standards and regulations. Manufacturers must ensure that their vehicles meet these standards when selling in those countries. Vehicle components and materials in the category of those relating to traffic safety, environmental protection, energy efficiency and protection against theft of road vehicles which are not covered by a European Union Directive or Regulation or by a UNECE Regulation, may be placed on the individual market only if they are type-approved or certified by a national approval authority.
National certification and approval authorities in the automotive sector
To get precise information regarding type approval requirements for components and materials in that category, you should contact the national approval authority:
Approval authorities in the EU countries
- Motor vehicles
- L-category vehicles (Two- and three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles)
- T-category vehicles (Tractors)
- Non-road mobile machinery emissions
EFTA - 4 members
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is an intergovernmental organisation established to promote free trade and economic cooperation among its member states.
- Iceland - Icelandic Transport Authority (Samgöngustofa)
- Liechtenstein - Amt für Strassenverkehr (Office for Road Traffic)
- Norway - Statens vegvesen (Norwegian Public Roads Administration)
- Switzerland - Federal Roads Office (FEDRO)
These organisations may have responsibilities related to vehicle type approvals, component certifications, road safety standards, emissions testing, and other automotive-related regulatory matters. The specific roles and responsibilities of these authorities can vary from country to country within the European Union.
Mutual recognition agreements
Some countries have mutual recognition agreements in place, which means that if a vehicle is certified and homologated in one country, it can be sold in others without undergoing the full homologation process again. This is common within the European Economic Area.