The Importance of accredited lab testing vs manufacturer own type tests and what this means to the market and users for safety.

BASEC medium voltage Approval Scheme and the Importance of surveillance testing to protect the cable Industry

Medium Voltage (MV) cables are used in critical applications where major failures and injuries may occur. Regulatory bodies and governments' specific safety requirements and compliance are vital in eliminating safety-critical system failure.

Product quality is usually measured through the material tests of products. Manufacturers must conduct tests following methods specified within international or industry standards to demonstrate compliance with their materials.

Understanding material properties enables manufacturers to use materials suitable for specific end-user applications. Maintaining the quality and reliability of the finished products is also essential.

BASEC certification includes mandatory annual material testing of cable compounds. This way, a BASEC certified manufacturer can demonstrate that the same compound formula has been used. If the manufacturer changes the materials, BASEC can pick this up in surveillance testing. For the continuity of quality, routine surveillance is needed regularly to check whether the materials used are identical or not. As technology develops and continuous innovations in material knowledge take shape, the manufacturer may need to maintain alternative formulas and suppliers for their cable design. Additionally, global material shortage reinforces this requirement. BASEC can list those suppliers and formulas under BASEC certificates to support manufacturers and provide peace of mind to end-users. With continuous surveillance testing and audits twice a year combined with an unannounced visit to the manufacturer at random and take samples for Testing.

BASEC MV surveillance scheme vs non BASEC scheme

With an increased demand for energy, medium voltage networks need to provide constant power for industries and end-users. To ensure reliable network operation, continuously maintaining quality MV and HV cable products is essential.

The market typically has been primarily a singular test report, in other words, an initial Type Test or Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) at the manufacturer. It is not uncommon to encounter 5 year and older Type Test reports demonstrating their compliance onsite. Technological developments and economic reasons each year pressure manufacturers to seek alternative designs and suppliers. The old Type Test report only demonstrates the compliance of MV cable for that single batch which is not a good indicator for today's energy network and end-user. Although the FAT test is performed in each batch on request by the client/purchasers, it is not done in a controlled environment. The accuracy of the test results can be questionable. The cables must be validated by an independent third party and accredited body like BASEC.

For high quality and continuous operation, BASEC provides MV cable approval to comply with local and international standards and meet end-user specifications. This protects the end-user from failure and extra maintenance costs. BASEC approved cable tests are carried out regularly - mechanical, electrical, construction and material Testing take place annually and are used in projects to operate safely for extended periods.

By certifying cables with BASEC, cables are subject to rigorous recurring tests and audits. Thanks to these annual surveillances and testing cables direct from the market, end-users and contractors ensure their systems' reliability by specifying BASEC approved cables in their projects.

By doing the above surveillance, BASEC can certify a range of cables as specified in the standards, saving costs when getting the approval instead of testing each cable individually. Providing the cables pass the initial type tests and are under surveillance schemes such as BASEC approval.

The Importance of accredited lab testing vs manufacturer own type tests and what this means to the market and users for safety

By accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 through an independent, impartial accreditation body, laboratories demonstrate their technical competency, laboratory quality, performance, reliability, and efficiency to ensure the accuracy of the test results. There is always the risk that unaccredited test laboratories can produce different test results. This can be a result of equipment use, environmental factors, staff competency, and uncalibrated and unmaintained types of equipment. To avoid these different results and to ensure the test's accuracy, ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation must be followed by labs as a regulating reference.

As mentioned above, in-house generated manufacturer test reports are more prone to uncertain human and equipment errors. BASEC's ongoing surveillance scheme continuously checks the cables' conformity to ensure the quality has not dropped from the first set of initial Type Testing. This gives the manufacturer product approval for a cable; before they can mark it with the BASEC Quality Mark. When placed on the market, this then gives purchasers confidence in the ongoing quality and conformity of the product.

BASEC has an independent cable laboratory accredited by UKAS against ISO/IEC 17065 for Product Certification, against ISO/IEC 17025 for Testing, and ISO/IEC 17021-1 for Quality Management Systems Certification and Environmental Management Systems Certification.

BASEC labs are recognized under the European Accreditation Multilateral Agreement (EA MLF), the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), as well as being UKAS Accredited.

Testing your cables at BASEC accredited labs provides you with validated test results globally. Cables tested and approved by BASEC accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 are placed on the market and can be specified in projects confidently.

Please get in touch with us for any enquires on MV and HV cables approvals