What is homologation and exactly how important is it?
When you go online and look up the term “homologation”, you will probably find not much more than just a few definitions and some legal documents. A different, more frequently used word is Model Approval. But what is the precise meaning of this term?
A certain product is homologated when it has obtained a certification from an official authority. The authority that is ultimately authorised to issue the certificate is in most countries a government department that is responsible for metrology. The exact same authority can also be granted to an independent organisation within that country. The procedures and requirements for all of this are usually laid down by law. Some aspects that are not included by law, can be reviewed by the applicable court that will decide whether such an approval can be granted.
Such a model approval is not something you can apply for real quick ; the entire process can take a few months to a year, in some cases even more. A whole series of documents should be defined including all aspects and specifications of your product down to the smallest detail. Subsequently, a series of tests are performed by authorized test institutes.
In our current market, products often need to be homologated by some government agency to ensure that the devices measure correctly or make correct observations, even in extreme conditions and in all environmental conditions (temperature, rain, wind strength, radiation, etc.).
Such a model approval is only mandatory when your product is intended for use by the government, for example when fines are involved. Incidentally, this approval applies not only to a single product, but to the complete system.
Let us take a look at our newest ANPR camera for instance, the CAM5. Of course, we have to have it homologated. During the model approval they will examine and test things like the calibration regulations, the EMC (Electro Magnetic Compatibility), whether the camera is resistant to interference from the environment, whether it is temperature and moisture resistant, and so on. Of course, the camera is useless without a back-office system. Thus this back-office also has to be approved, just like the camera. This is where a whole series of investigations and tests apply before we can obtain the certification.
What after the entire homologation process?
Once you have gone through all the steps, once all the tests were positive and all necessary documents have been delivered, you will obtain your model approval certificate. And just when you thought you’ve finally reached the end of the entire process, think again. Per installation of the product, in this case the installation of the CAM5 with back office system, a certificate of conformity must also be obtained. Fortunately, compared to all the work involved in the homologation process, this turns out to be a piece of cake. During the audit of an authorized test facility it is checked whether everything has been installed correctly according to the regulations, whether the camera is at the correct height, has the correct specifications, and so on.
Last but not least, model approvals and certificates may
be requested per country and have a very high price.
So make sure
to think eveything through before you start!