Van Leeuwen
Everything you need to know about additional tests and certificates

Everything you need to know about additional tests and certificates

Hein Boer,
Van Leeuwen Pipe and Tube, Zwijndrecht, the Netherlands

The products sold by Van Leeuwen are inherently connected to certification. How does this process work? What do you need to know as a customer? Which certificates and additional tests are used? Which certification companies are involved? In this blog, QA/QC manager Hein Boer answers these questions and more.

The Van Leeuwen Tube and Pipe Group is ISO 9001-2015 UKAS certified. As QA/QC Manager (Quality Assurance and Quality Control) it is my job to make sure that, as an organization, we uphold our internal processes and improve constantly.

Van Leeuwen supplies products (tubes, fittings or flanges) which are manufactured according to so-called manufacturing standards. These standards are put in place so that the parties involved (manufacturer-supplier-customer) can agree upon the specific product requirements. To prove that the product was manufactured according to the manufacturing standard, the manufacturer creates a material certificate.

The manufacturer can draw up the certificate in various forms, depending on the product’s scope of application. Regardless of the form, however, a certificate has to adhere to the guidelines set out by the EN10204 standard. You can find out which certificates our manufacturers use on our website.

Various standards

We purchase our products according to technical standards. Having their origins in history, these standards were created regionally throughout the world. To name a few, the United States has the API (American Petroleum Institute) and ASTM (American Society of Testing Materials), while Europe has the Euronorm (EN), which in turn originates from several national standards like the German DIN (Deutsche Industrie Norm), BS (British Standard and AFNOR (Association Française de Normalisation).

Besides technical standards, local regulations also come into play depending on the product’s scope of application. For instance, the European PED (Pressure Equipment Directive), the British PER (Pressure Equipment Regulations) or the American standard ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) can demand additional certification.

At Van Leeuwen, we spend a lot of time and energy in setting up the product specifications for our stock items. We use those specifications to purchase our materials. The technical standards I just mentioned are our most important starting point.

Additional requirements

Besides complying with the regular technical standards, some customers request additional testing to be done on their products. We can carry out these tests. When stock items are concerned, a piece of piping, fitting or flange will be destructively tested by an accredited laboratory. The test can be attended by an independent inspection authority and will be conducted according to the customer’s wishes.

If the customer demands a quality which deviates far from the regular material requirements, Van Leeuwen will advise which quality material could meet those demands.

Upgrading materials and certificates

Unfortunately, the term 3.2 upgrade is often used incorrectly in the business jargon. This upgrade is not possible for a dealer’s materials that are already in stock! A 3.2 certificate can only be set up by the manufacturer at the time of manufacturing and only under supervision of an independent authority such as Lloyds, Bureau Veritas, Det Norske Veritas or Germanische Lloyds. These organizations are also called NoBos: Notified Bodies. Stock items which were purchased with a 3.1 certificate can be upgraded to a so-called 3.1 certificate plus additional testing. This 3.1+ upgrade means that the mechanical tests, as described in the standard, are repeated. These tests may include a tensile test, impact test or hardness test. The test results are provided to the customer as an addition to the 3.1 certificate. You can find an overview of commonly used mechanical tests on our website.

We also have materials in stock with a 3.2 certificate. We order them directly at the manufacturer and have them tested by an independent authority. As a testing department, we are not allowed to carry out additional tests under our own supervision. Such tests must always be carried out by independent authorities.

Industrial or maritime application?

Materials used in industrial applications are tested according to the standards mentioned above. However, if the materials are to be used in a maritime context such as shipbuilding, a set of “Rules” must be followed.

1) The manufacturer needs the approval of an independent authority to create the product and quality in question. An Approved Manufacturer List (AML) is available on these authorities’ websites.

2) The “Rules” determine which tests the product must be able to pass. The intended application of the material is essential in choosing which tests are to be carried out, meaning Van Leeuwen cannot judge beforehand what the outcome will be. Furthermore, the independent authority will determine the test criteria based on the application of the product in the ship in question. The ship will be insured based on the complete test report (Databook).

Besides material inspections, internal and external inspections are guided and carried out under the supervision of Van Leeuwen or independent agencies chosen by the customer.

With this blog I have shared with you a summary of the many possibilities when it comes to tests and inspections at Van Leeuwen. Should you have any questions after reading this blog,  please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us through your designated contact at Van Leeuwen or by using the contact form on our website.



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