What is the difference between a Declaration of Conformity and a Certificate?
A Declaration of Conformity is the document that the manufacturer must enclose with (or attach to) any equipment or protective system that is being sold in compliance with the requirements of the ATEX Directive 94/9/EC.
The manufacturer has sole responsibility for creating this document and must do so in accordance with the detailed list of contents given at Annex X in the directive. The declaration complements the CE Marking which is applied to the product on the manufacturer's responsibility.
A Certificate is normally the output of a process known as "Certification".
There are many types of certification schemes, but they all involve the use of a third party certification body which is independent from the manufacturer and purchaser of the product (or service) that is the subject of certification.
An ATEX product which has been subject to "certification" will normally have two documents:
The "EC-Type Examination Certificate" is issued by an ATEX Notified Body (NB) following test and examination of a prototype, in accordance with Annex III of the directive. The name of the NB is incorporated in the certificate number marked on the product.
A production document, usually a "Quality Assurance Notification" (QAN) is issued following a review of production capability, in accordance with Annexes IV and/or VII of the directive, and is subject to periodic review based on regular surveillance. Alternatively, "Verification" may be followed for this production phase, where the Notified Body examines each item of manufactured equipment. The NB number (1180 for Baseefa) is included in the marking, adjacent to the CE marking.
Where the certification has been carried out on a voluntary basis (for example for Category 3 equipment where certification is not mandated by the directive), the document is simply known as a "Type Examination Certificate". Notified Bodies offer this added service to assist manufacturers where a customer wants more assurance than is given by the minimum legal requirements of the directive.
The existence of a certificate eases the manufacturer's task in writing his Declaration of Conformity, but where the directive allows the use of "Internal Control of Production" module (Annex VIII), the manufacturer is entitled to base his declaration entirely on the technical file he has developed himself.