Following blog post was created by our colleague Bernd Riedl, responsible for innovaphone Cloud and Rental. Bernd guided the certification process of the innovaphone communication platform, resulting in the approval according to the international standard EN 60945 for maritime communications systems.
In the year 2017, I was confronted with the term “DNV approval” for the very first time. At this point, I knew the world of our communications systems as an array of different high-tech devices in robust stainless-steel housing, manufactured and tested in a modern and elaborate production environment. I was aware of their operating areas in data centers and control cabinets located in clean and air-conditioned rooms with restricted access.
I also knew that some of our partners liked to use our technology in the maritime sector, thanks to the durability and high reliability. These areas of use included fishing ships and cruise ships, cargo ships, yachts, ferries, oil rigs and even submarines.
It was in this context, that one of our long-standing partners and friend mentioned the idea that we should seriously consider the DNV approval according to EN 60945 as well as the more narrowly defined DNV-CG-0339 (formerly DNVGL) for some of our devices.
Were we in for quite a surprise once we realized how much work this would entail.
Approvals in the IT sector consist of a number of standardized tests. These are performed in an accredited lab. The goal is to make the devices suitable for the market once the specified rules have been met. In addition to the known, largely country-specific approvals, there are also specified standards for product requirements within the vertical markets, such as the maritime and shipping industry.
The conditions on board and on oil rigs are fundamentally different from those on shore: High humidity and salt levels, constant vibration, higher risk of explosions, fluctuation in temperatures and more. This is where the DNV approval comes into play. DNV is a certification body which verifies the adherence to the defined guidelines. The standard EN 60945 is an international standard which specifies the minimum standards concerning maritime communication systems. Specific testing procedures are stipulated for this area of use.
Everything began with an initial analysis. Together with the DNV testing engineer, the required measurements for the selected products were defined. This step alone foreshadowed a complex approval procedure. What followed was the lengthiest approval with 2 ½ years that we had ever undergone. Yet, these times were exciting and full of new challenges.
The typical tests included electrical safety, interference radiation and resistance to interference as well as tests we had never carried out before. These included tests to measure the minimum distance to the compass, steaming with humid and dry heat, operation during strong vibration, reduced interference radiation in the area of maritime mobile service and determining the flammability.
At this point, I would like to mention the ongoing auditing of our headquarters and all our production sites which convinced the DNV of the consistently high quality of our products.
In the end, our devices passed all the tests and the positive test report was sent to the responsible testing engineer. However, very critical due to the profession, the engineer considered that the spiral cable of the phone handset, might tend to vibrate and therefore asked us to repeat this test with a modified setup, even though the first test had already been passed. This second round of testing also had a positive result and we were very proud when our solutions finally received the DNV certificate.