Homologation of Industrial IoT Equipment in Brazil

Industrial internet of things has recently gained attention in Brazil after BNDES indicated the vertical as one of the priority areas for the National IoT Plan, which will receive a series of governmental incentives for further expansion.

Status of IIoT in Brazil

Brazil has a quite diverse industrial sector both in terms of sizes of company and industrial fields, which is responsible for more than 21% of the Brazilian GDP. Deployment and growth of the industrial sector in Brazil have for decades been incentivised by fiscal incentives related to job creation. As a consequence of having fiscal incentives linked to job creation, adoption of new technologies to improve efficiency like IIoT, is still at an incipient level across Brazilian industries.

One of the main drivers of the industry 4.0 adoption in Brazil has been the automotive industry, especially the German automakers. Mercedes-Benz, for example, pioneered the use of IIoT in Brazil by investing BRL 500 million over the period of 2015 to 2018 to modernise the plant in São Bernardo do Campo, and is aspiring to have all their facilities using Industry 4.0 processes by 2020. Their goal is to not only bring IIoT concepts to single plants but to interconnect operations across plants in different locations in Brazil and ultimately with Daimler Group worldwide.

Another example of adoption of monitoring tools based on the industry 4.0 principle was adopted by Grupo Simões, one of the franchisees of Coca Cola and distributor of Heineken in the Northern states of Brazil. They have recently announced they selected Schneider Electric Software and Triad Systems to implement IIoT processes to monitor their production in real time.

Integrators, which are important elements to enable the development of the IIoT ecosystem, are also beginning to bring solutions to the market to make the implementation of IIoT solutions viable and incentivise the application of Industry 4.0 across different industries. Voith is heading one of the initiatives to bring specialised systems to be marketed in Brazil, and has announced a cloud IIoT platform created to cater for the paper manufacturers.

A market with so few established players brings great opportunities to new IIoT suppliers across the entire chain looking to establish and bring their products to Brazil. The country has a well developed industrial park in need of quick improvement in terms of quality and yield and affordable ways to modernise processes, something that IIoT solutions may be able to offer.

Regulatory requirements for IIoT equipment in Brazil

Bringing connectivity to the Brazilian factories means that there are regulatory demands to be met, especially those set by the local telecommunication agency, known by the acronym Anatel. The agency supervises and regulates the use of several frequencies and some of them are utilised by IIoT equipment.

All IIoT equipment that performs any type of wireless data communications are required to be tested and certified, in a process called homologation. Without a homologation, telecommunication equipment, which includes IIoT devices cannot be legally imported or sold in Brazil. A few examples of IIoT devices that require homologation are:

  • Lora Gateways (LPWAN)
  • Lora Endpoints (LPWAN)
  • WiFi access points
  • Sigfox base stations or Gateways (LPWAN)
  • Sigfox Nodes with RF modules (LPWAN)
  • Other RF modules for IoT applications
  • LowPan Routers
  • Routers
  • WirelessHART adapters

Homologation processes are usually started by the manufacturer, importer or representative of the manufacturer, who must contact an OCD to carry out the process. OCDs are accredited by Anatel to conduct the homologation process and play an essential role in the approval process of the equipment. They will coordinate the testing procedure and issue important documents mandatory for the homologation process. Master Certificações has over a decade of experience with Anatel product homologations of telecommunication products, and is one of the most highly regarded OCDs in the market, who will be able to conduct the homologation of any IIoT product.

The majority of IIoT equipment is classified by Anatel as category II products, meaning that they are tested for their RF functionality, safety and compatibility before getting the approval by the agency. Among the criteria evaluated by Anatel set by the restricted radiation regulations are:

  • Devices operating between 2400-2483.5 MHz, are required to use spread spectrum technology or orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM)
  • Measured field intensities, emissions limits, frequency hopping system, maximum output power and should follow the regulation for the specific frequency

In addition to the criteria above, IIoT devices are also expected to comply with other regulations, following international standards:

  • Electromagnetic compatibility based on IEC and ITU-T standards
  • CISPR 11, CISPR 22 and CISPR 24
  • Resistibility of telecommunication equipment based on ITU-T standards
  • Radiated emission testing based on ITU-T standards
  • IPv6, which is currently is being evaluated for 3G, LTE and 6LoWPAN technologies

Only an OCD can determine which tests are necessary for your equipment to ensure your device is approved for the Brazilian market.

Depending on the use of the IIoT equipment it might also require certification from Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Normalização e Qualidade Industrial, also known as Inmetro which is the National Institute of Metrology, Standardisation and Industrial Quality. Common cases for IIoT equipment that require Inmetro approval include:

  • Equipment used in hazardous environments
  • Equipment that interacts with the power grid like switches and circuit breakers
  • Equipment that interacts with gas like pressure gauges, regulators and valves
  • Electromedical equipment that uses radiofrequency for communication with other devices

Use of IIoT Technologies in Brazil

There are a variety of IIoT technologies that are already found in the Brazilian connected factory environments. All the technologies listed below are used on a large scale or are currently being tested in Brazil:

LoRa Networks in Brazil

In early May 2018, American Tower announced that they were building a LoRa network in Brazil to offer IIoT connectivity. Even though the adoption of the technology is very fast globally, it only received proper Anatel directives by the end of 2017.

Brazil follows nearly the same ISM as the USA, however, the country is historically known for creating their own standards, something that manufacturers and importers to Brazil should be attentive to. This happened for example when Brazil defined the standards for the digital terrestrial TV (ISDB-T), which became a modified version of the Japanese standard.

As for LoRA equipment, the agency defined the frequency plan for Brazil to be the same as the USA, which is 902-928 MHz. However, the frequency range between 907,5 MHz and 915,0 MHz is reserved to mobile telephony by Anatel, meaning it must be skipped.

SigFox Networks in Brazil

The first commercial SigFox network is already operational in Brazil and has been deployed by WND. Over USD 50 million are being invested in the rollout of this network between 2017 and 2019, covering 90% of the country. The operator can offer more competitive rates for deployment in comparison to GPRS provided by other telcos, from USD 0.50 to USD 7 per year per device.

Getting approval for Industrial IIoT products in Brazil

A homologation is based upon a Certificate of Conformity, which is a document that proves that the product complies with local regulation. The OCD will start the process by requesting documents, information and photos of the IIoT products in order to determine the testing procedures for the equipment.

Once the testing procedures are set and approved by the client, the OCD will provide you with a list of laboratories that can perform the necessary tests on the product samples. The OCD often provides you with the necessary assistance with the importing of the samples to Brazil.

After the tests are finalised, the OCD will analyse the results and verify if the product complies with local regulations, in which case the product is granted with a Certificate of Conformity. This Certificate is submitted to Anatel for the registration on their databases. At this point, the following information needs to be supplied to Anatel:

  • Information regarding the product supplier/manufacturer
  • Proof of the legal status of the product supplier
  • Translated version of the product manual translated to Portuguese
  • Photographs of the product including the suggested placement of the Anatel identification seal

As mentioned previously, appointing a trusted OCD to conduct the homologation process is important, as the OCD will be your advisor, not only regarding which tests are necessary for the product approval, but also regarding any modifications needed to suit your product to the Brazilian regulation. Master Certificações has over a decade of experience with Anatel product homologations, and is one of the most highly regarded OCDs in the market, who will be able to conduct the homologation of any IIoT product.

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