Whenever selling IT equipment to the Brazilian government or organisations related to public administration, manufacturers or legal representatives you will need to prove that their products are certified with Inmetro. We will cover in this article what equipment requires the certification and the process to obtain it.
Inmetro published standards for the voluntary certification for numerous types of IT equipment in 2012, a few years after a decree made it compulsory for the certification of IT goods and services acquired by the Federal government. If the product is not going to be sold to the Federal government, or to institutions or entities that are directly or indirectly linked to the Union, the certification remains optional for now.
IT products that are eligible for Inmetro certification
Not all IT products may be certified by Inmetro and the current regulation applies only to a number of categories of products intended for banking, machines used in data processing and storage, and general office equipment. It is important to note that in cases where the equipment also has telecommunication capabilities, they will have to go through a separate homologation procedure with the Brazilian Telecommunication agency, Anatel.
The following products have specific certification procedures set by Inmetro:
- Bank ATMs
- Banking self-service terminals
- Thin client
- Data storage equipment
- All-in-one computers
- Notebooks, laptops and netbooks
- Computer monitors
- Copy machines
- Paper sheet handling equipment
- Paper screening machines
- Electric bookbinder
- Electric staples
- Switched-mode power supplies for IT equipment
To be approved, these types of equipment will have to be compliant with the IEC safety standard 60950-1 for Information Technology Equipment, IEC standards for Electromagnetic compatibility, and the European CISPR22 and CISPR24 standards. In addition to these standards, desktop computers, notebooks, laptops and netbooks are also required to undergo energy efficiency evaluations.
Obtaining the certification for the IT equipment with Inmetro
Certifications with Inmetro are requested either by the manufacturer of the equipment or their legal representative in Brazil through an organization known as OCP, which is short for Organismo de Certificação de Produto. OCPs are third party organisations accredited by Inmetro to handle the IT equipment certification processes in Brazil.
The first step for the certification is document submission to the OCP. These documents will serve as a base for the OCP to determine which tests are necessary for the certification. Among the basic documents required at this stage are:
- General information of the manufacturer and/or legal representative requesting the certification. Documents related to the manufacturing process of the products may also be requested
- Models that compose the product family and its configuration
- Detailed product specifications
- Internal and external photos of the equipment
- User manual translated into Portuguese, except for bank ATMs, banking self-service terminals, servers and data storage equipment, in which case the user manual can be submitted in English
- List and specifications of critical and certified components
- Electrical schemes, PCB layout, and exploded view of the drawings
In addition to these documents, the manufacturer or legal representative will have to determine what is the certification model of preference, Model 5 or Model 7. For Model 7, which is a certification based on batch, it will also be necessary to submit the import license and batch number in case the products are imported.
Model 5 Inmetro certification
Model 5 certification is based on the testing of samples obtained from the manufacturer and auditing of the manufacturing quality management system. Three samples are required for the model 5 certification and the certification is granted for a period of 3 years.
Even though the certification is granted for 36 months, Model 5 certification requires annual re-evaluations based upon collection of samples obtained directly from the manufacturer or out in the retail market for new conformity evaluations. The follow up evaluations are called maintenance evaluations and are scheduled by the OCP. The maintenance evaluation also includes the assessment of the production process and new quality management system auditing.
After a period of the 3 years, the IT equipment needs to be recertified with Inmetro. The recertification testing procedures are similar to the annual maintenance evaluations, and the process is also scheduled and conducted by the OCP.
Model 7 Inmetro certification
Model 7 certification is based on testing performed on two samples in a determined batch of products. In this case, the batch must be composed of products by the same manufacturer, of the same model, and with sequential serial numbers. In this case, the quality management system is not evaluated, and only the products undergo laboratory testings.
For either certification models, tests are usually performed in laboratories accredited by Inmetro or signatories of the ILAC agreement, however, reports issued by laboratories accredited by the Worldwide System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components - IECEE CB SCHEME may also be accepted.
With the test results in hand, the OCP will verify if additional tests are required as the tests are always performed in the most unfavourable conditions for the product. In case they deem necessary, a new round of tests will need to be performed. The OCP will then define, based on the results, if the equipment is suitable to receive a Conformity Certification and will issue the document, which will contain an individual number for each model or family.
After receiving the Conformity Certification, the manufacturer should include the Inmetro seal on the certified product. The Inmetro seal can be screen printed, engraved, or in a sticker format, and should have the OCP approval, both in regard to its format, visual appearance and placement in the product. The Inmetro seal should also be included on the product’s box.
As you read previously, products may require additional tests depending on the results of the first round of analysis. An OCP with a strong technical team could advise you in advance if your product could potentially be subjected to additional testing, saving you time for the product to reach your consumers. The OCP may also be working closely with your engineering department to suggest changes to suit the product for the Brazilian regulations.