Assessing a supplier’s Certificate of Conformity (CoC) can often be difficult and time consuming since no two suppliers seem to ever write a CoC the same way. A CoC is granted to a product that meets a minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements. Generally, this type approval is required before a product is allowed to be sold in a particular country, so the requirements for a given product will vary around the world. Both formatting and the types of information provided are often dictated by customer demands and standard industry practice instead of following an established regulation outline. Source Intelligence (SI) utilizes the ISO/IEC 17050-1 standard for determining if the supplier had provided sufficient information in their CoC and also to use as a reference for future documentation requests. Please note that a supplier’s technical document may be referred to as the Certificate of Conformance, Compliance (CoC), or Documentation of Conformity (DoC) by the supplier as well as possible other titles. Declarations of Conformity (DoC) may also be submitted, though documents with these titles are more commonly see for finished products.
The following are a list of the nine main points required in the CoC along with any specific pieces of information needed in each point:
1. Unique identification (number or code) of the certificate of conformity.
2. The name and contact address of the issuer of the certificate of conformity.
3. The identification of the object of the certificate of conformity.
c. Date of production or model number of a product (or serial number for small batch production items)
d. Description of a process, management system, person or body (if it describes an idea rather a physical item)
e. And/or other relevant supplementary information).
4. The statement of conformity.
5. A complete and clear list of standards or other specified requirements, as well as the selected options, if any.
6. The description and manufacturing drawings and schemes of components, sub-assemblies, circuits, etc. Also, results of design calculations made, examinations carried out, etc.
7. The date and place of issue of the certificate of conformity (if different from the name and contact address of the issuer).
8. Any limitation on the validity of the certificate of conformity.
9. The signature (or equivalent sign of validation), name and function of the authorized person(s) acting on behalf of the issuer.
For the statement of conformity, it is important that a supplier is clear in addressing which chemicals or materials were used in the manufacture of the product. One example of a conformity statement may be: “As delivered, the object of the declaration described above is in conformity with the requirements of the following documents”. The following disclaimers are not sufficient:
· “Complies to … Best of knowledge” Is not useful since a lack of product knowledge is not a sufficient defense against prosecution if a non-compliance is found.
· “…not intentionally added” Is not useful since restricted materials should never be intentionally added even below the tolerated limit.
· “Standardized materials” These raw (like natural mixtures) can be used but they must also have some additional testing or guarantee that they are RoHS compliant.
If the supplier lists either “Complies to … Best of knowledge” or “…not intentionally added” to their document, it should be considered suspect.