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2021-02-05 Testing + Certification

Functional safety – Testing and Certification at the VDE Institute

Nowadays, product safety depends on the proper functionality of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic systems (E/E/PE) more than ever, since malfunctions can lead to dangerous situations and therefore endanger both people and investments. As such, it must be ensured that E/E/PE systems work flawlessly, reliably and safely–even in the case of a malfunction. We accompany you from statutory requirement right through to safe implementation. Take advantage of our expertise to safely design your product and prevent hazards.

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Christoph Eggert

Functional safety – A very important cross-sectional topic

Systematic and random errors in hardware and software can lead to dangerous situations, e.g. electric shocks, fires or explosions. To comply with the relevant EU guidelines (Machine Directive, Low-Voltage Directive etc.), technical documentation must contain a suitable risk assessment that defines the risk of the malfunctions outlined above in relation to the degree of damage and probability of occurrence. The whole life cycle of a product, sub-system or component must be considered, forming the foundations for the development of functionally safe products in compliance with standards for functional safety. Depending on the established risk potential, the standards for functional safety define certain risk-minimizing measures that must be applied and verified during product development.

Testing and evaluation of the risk assessment as well as resulting measures should be performed by a recognized and independent institution, like the VDE Institute, especially when there is a high potential for risk.

VDE certification mark on functional safety
VDE

The VDE Institute at your side as an experienced partner

Our experts can ideally be involved during your development phase in order to guarantee the feasibility of the development process, product safety and compliance with the state of technology throughout the whole development process. If the process or the product fulfils all requirements of functional safety at the end of the development phase, this can be confirmed with a certificate.

A tested and certified product with VDE Institute test marks means safety and quality for your customers and an easier market entry for you. A certificate also gives you the right to use the relevant certification mark for your product.

We would be happy to support your preparation work with introductory workshops and training sessions. 

Find out more about the workshops here

Standardization on functional safety

Many different aspects of functional safety for electric, electronic or programmable electronic systems are described in IEC 61508, a trans-sectoral set of standards. The standard’s scope spans design, planning, development, execution, commissioning, maintenance, modification to decommissioning and uninstallation.

Furthermore, additional normative stipulations have been derived from the IEC 61508 norm range for special product sectors.

Metanorm IEC 61508
VDE

The VDE Institute is closely linked to standardization activities through the DKE (Deutsche Kommission für Elektrotechnik) – a mutual institution of the VDE and DIN – and even actively participates in committees to continue pushing standardization forwards while always being informed of the latest developments.

Product groups

Our experts review and certify products for functional safety, including from the following product groups:

The path to implementation
VDE

What separates functional safety from information security?

safety and security
VDE

Functional product safety ensures that the product does not pose any danger to people, animals or the environment. This type of safety is to some extent tailored “from the device to the outside”.

In contrast, information security protects the products from external influences, such as malware or unauthorized system access. In both cases, the system’s function and safety may be impaired or made dysfunctional.

As such, the connection between both topic areas has been established: if, for instance, the examined system is a safety-related control system or a field device in safety equipment, then anything that affects its functionality simultaneously impairs its (functional) safety.

We would be happy to help you together with our specialist colleagues of information security / cyber security A holistic approach in developing functional safety and cyber security. 

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