News from August 2017

In the area of hardlines, we are now once again substantially expanding our test portfolio for product safety: In the future, a wide range of indoor and outdoor furniture (for example, furniture for the living room and nursery, kitchen or bathroom as well as beds, sofas and mattresses up to and including office and school furniture) can be tested and certified as finished products.

In connection with this expansion, we are investing in ultra-modern technology. The selection of unique test scenarios ranges from strength tests for office chairs up to and including simulating the effects of weather on outdoor furniture.

Even more highly specialized test machines will be available for this in the future. Our teams of competent experts and experienced employees are happy to support you with all your projects.

Legislation is in a state of constant flux. In order for you to keep up-to-date, we are providing you with an overview of current changes and new developments.

Standards relating to furniture, which have been recently issued or amended:

  • DIN EN 16890:2017-08 – children’s furniture – mattresses for children’s beds and cribs – safety requirements and test methods
  • DIN EN 716-1:2017-08 – Furniture – children’s beds and children’s travel cots for living areas – part 1: Safety requirements
  • DIN EN 716-2:2017-08 – Furniture – children’s beds and children’s travel cots for living areas – part 2: Test methods
  • DIN EN 16955:2017-08 – furniture components – conical pressure pipes for self-supporting gas springs to adjust the height of seating furniture – test methods and requirements for firmness and durability
  • DIN EN 1022:2017-06 – furniture – seating furniture – determining stability
  • DIN EN 581-1:2017-07 – outdoor furniture – seating furniture and tables for camping, domestic and residential use – part 1: General safety requirements
  • DIN EN 581-2:2017-01 – outdoor furniture – seating furniture and tables for camping, domestic and residential use – part 2: Mechanical safety requirements and test methods for seating furniture
  • DIN EN 581-3:2017-04 – outdoor furniture – seating furniture and tables for camping, domestic and residential use – part 3: Mechanical safety requirements for tables
  • DIN EN ISO 9227:2017-07 – Corrosion tests in artificial atmospheres – salt spray tests

Furthermore, as of July 13, 2017, sec. 24 VerpackG [German Packaging Act] (provisions concerning the central body: founding and legal form; foundation charter) and sec. 35 VerpackG (transitional provisions) have taken effect and now apply in addition to the provisions of the German Packaging Regulation. The latter will be replaced by the German Packaging Act (Act governing the Sale, Return and High-quality Recycling of Packaging (Packaging Act – VerpackG) on January 1, 2019.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your rexpective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 6124 or by email.

Technical documentation at the end of the product development cycle is often time-consuming and complex, which prompts many manufacturers and distributors to neglect this topic. This can result in claims vis-à-vis the manufacturer in the event of damages caused by defects. After all, in addition to the German Product Safety Act, EC directives and product standards stipulate which symbols and information such as warning notes, information regarding storage and disposal are to be specified in the instructions and on the packaging. It clearly stipulates how the product itself is to be labeled and which notes the packaging and user manual must contain.

Our technical editing team offers customers a complete worry-free package in the direct vicinity of the production site. In Hong Kong, the product to be documented goes right from the plant to the desk of our editors, who are native speakers of German and English – without any delays due to prolonged delivery times or customs handling. Our Chinese employees also support communication with the plants and even ensure that things go smoothly.

Our service portfolio includes among other things:

  • User manuals and assembly instructions
  • Product packaging and graphics
  • Product photography and videos
  • Translations
  • Testing of existing packaging and instructions
  • Consulting

We prepare all instructions in accordance with DIN EN 82079-1, the international standard for preparing user manuals as well as in accordance with applicable standards and guidelines. This is verified by our certificate “User-friendly instruction manual”. Generally, our technical translators (certified in accordance with DIN EN 15038) translate into their mother tongue and specialize in a wide range of technical fields, which ensures that our customers always get the very best quality.

This added value will also be reflected in consumer satisfaction. After all, user manuals, which are comprehensible and have a logical structure, not only help to ensure that a product is used efficiently, they also significantly reduce unwanted customer complaints and customer service orders. This significantly increases the value of the brand as well as the overall quality of the product.

If you have any questions regarding this topic, please feel free to get in touch with your responsible contact person in sales or send us an e-mail.

International campaigns, increasingly stringent legislation and political alliances put pressure on many, particularly the textile industry, to take corresponding steps: The use of toxic chemicals is to be prohibited. This not only means being able to provide information or being ready to respond with respect to the current detox campaign, but in particular taking a credible, sensible approach to dealing with the topic of chemicals management in one’s own company. Oftentimes, possibilities for vendors and brands to exercise any influence in complex, globally networked procurement structures appear to be limited.

Our Two-part Seminar Package on October 17 and 18, 2017 in Hamburg also provides you with methodical expertise in addition to the required basics – and makes you FIT FOR DETOX!

The Newcomer Seminar on October 17, 2017 deals with the fundamental questions of managing chemicals within a company. How can one refrain from using harmful chemicals in the production process? What suitable steps can be taken to this end? Are there any hurdles that must be overcome along the way? What is the best way to reach the plants and their management? How can on-site production conditions be improved and what has to be done in one’s own company?

The Advanced-level Seminar on October 18, 2017 takes at look chemicals management along the supply chain and provides answers to the questions regarding the specific implementation of detox. How should chemicals be stored? How does one read a safety data sheet? How can one fulfill MRSL requirements? Why is a chemicals manager required for a dyeing factory? What information does an inventory list have to contain? How is it possible to substitute hazardous chemicals? What protective clothing is appropriate? When and how is wastewater and sludge tested? How can the "right to know" principle be fulfilled?

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from July 2017

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has a firm place on the candidate list for substances of very high concern (SVHC). The chemical is classified as bioaccumulating, toxic and carcinogenic. Among other things, PFOA is used in fire fighting foams as well as dirt or water-repellent textiles. To minimize the health risk and possible environmental damage, a limit of 2 ppb (parts per billion) for the concentration of PFOA in other substances, mixtures and products was proposed.

However, this doesn’t go far enough for the EU Commission. As a result, the annex to the REACh regulation has been amended accordingly by the Regulation (EU) 2017/1000 of June 13, 2017 – with far-reaching consequences for the consumer goods industry. According to the regulation, PFOA may neither be manufactured nor distributed as of June 4, 2020. The same goes for perfluorooctanoic acid as part of another substance, as a mixture or as an article in a concentration of PFOA and its salts, which is equal to or higher than 25 ppb or a concentration equal to or greater than 1,000 ppb for a PFOA precursor compound. Companies wanting to stay on the safe side can have their products tested for PFOA by the independent testing institute Hansecontrol.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 7310 or by email.

When it comes to the safety of children, consumers and control authorities are extremely wary. The monitoring of the market by the authorities is focusing on this group of products is reflected not lastly by the EU’s RAPEX rapid alert system. The largest number of warnings (26 %), as was the case in 2016, was also attributed to toys; countless products had to be taken off the market due to safety defects. The media also regularly reports on potential risks.

Against this backdrop, it is imperative for manufacturers and distributors of toys to be aware of current legal stipulations and market requirements and to provide for them accordingly. In our seminar Product Safety of Toys on September 7, 2017 in Hamburg, we will give you an overview of the safety requirements imposed on toys, your duties as well as sensible measures you can take to protect yourself against liability risks.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from June 2017

Right in time for the outdoor season, Hermes Hansecontrol is expanding the test services it offers in the area of hardlines. The Hamburg institute now tests the full range of indoor and outdoor furniture, household appliances as well as premium-segment articles. In addition to sofas, sun loungers and camping gear, goods subject to strict regulations such as child safety gates or mattresses are also tested.

By offering a broad range of accredited product tests, Hermes Hansecontrol is meeting the rising demands in this area. Consumers expect reliable and safe products that pose no harm to health, which is also reflected by the increasingly strict legal regulations prevalent in consumer goods markets. It is therefore important for the responsible company to safeguard their products to prevent damage to their image not to mention competitive disadvantages. Corresponding chemical and physical quality tests by independent test institutes are a good investment in this context. Successful certification also provides a decision-making aid for vendors and is an important purchase criterion for many consumers. As an experienced partner of the consumer goods industry, Hermes Hansecontrol offers its customers extensive knowledge of current market requirements and legal regulations. In addition to the GS mark for certified safety, other test marks such as its very own, recognized “Fit for Use” or “Tested for harmful substances” test marks can also be awarded.

In connection with the expansion of its portfolio of test services, Hansecontrol has invested in ultra-modern technology. In the future, specialists will have more precise devices at their disposal in order to accurately render the different test scenarios such as simulating long-time loading or the effects of weather. Qualified personnel is no less important, which is why the number of test specialists has been increased by nearly 30 percent.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respecrtive sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 6124 or by email.

Children’s bodies are particularly sensitive to harmful substances. However, not all products that our little ones come into contact with are free of chemicals posing a health hazard. Phenol is one such example: The colorless, crystalline substance is used by industry particularly for the manufacture of plastics. It can, for example, occur in PVC or resin bonded wood or be used as a preservative in liquid toy materials such as soap bubble liquids and water-based inks. Phenol is highly toxic, causes damage to organs and is suspected of being germ cell mutagenated.

In order to protect children at the best, the European Commission has amended the Toy Directive 2009/48/EC and set new limits for the use of phenol in toys. According to Annex II Appendix C of the Directive, the following limits will apply in the future:

  • 5 mg/l (migration limit) in polymeric materials in accordance with the methods as per EN 71-10:2005 and EN 71-11:2005
  • 10 mg/kg (content limit) as a preservative based on the methods as per EN 71-10:2005 and EN 71-11:2005

The limits must be applied as of November 4, 2018.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 6124 or by email.

In addition to “normal” pedal-driven bikes, an increasing number of electrically assisted bikes are on roads as well as bikes with trailers, cargo bikes, three-wheel bikes, etc. But what exactly qualifies as a bike when it comes to road traffic regulations? And e.g. what kind of lighting should it have? In document 771/16, the Federal Council enacted the “52nd ordinance amending road traffic regulations”, which answers questions relating to bikes and pedelecs and in some cases, sets down new regulations for them.

The core points include a modified description of bikes in sec. 63 as well as the completely revised sec. 67 on bike lighting equipment. It also states that pedelcs, that is electric bikes with assisted pedaling up to 25 km/h and motor output of no more than 250 W, are equivalent to conventional bikes in a legal sense. If the energy source and lighting system are attuned to one another such that the voltage is compatible, no usage restrictions of any kind apply to the lighting. As a result, dynamo, battery, rechargeable battery and special e-bike lighting are all considered equal. Bike and e-bike tail lights may be equipped with a brake light function and, in the case of multi-lane bikes or pedelecs, flashers indicating the driving direction may be fitted. Furthermore, sec. 67a provides for the lighting equipment on bike trailers.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 6124 or by email.

News from May 2017

On June 13, 2017, the transitional period for the radio & telecommunications terminal equipment directive 1999/5/EC (R&TTE) will expire – it is therefore imperative that the provisions of the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU (RED) are observed and implemented.

In the future, products that use the radio spectrum can only be made available on the market if they comply with the rules of the RED directive. This includes, as in the past, active wireless products such as Bluetooth and WIFI devices or products that transmit at 433 MHz within the frequency band and relay data. Receiver functions – such as radio and television receivers – also fall under RED.

The specialists from Hermes Hansecontrol are happy to assist you with the required product tests. Furthermore, our seminar “Conformity of electrical devices with directives” on June 27, 2017 in Hamburg offers you a good overview of the current legal situation as well as suitable measures for the applicable companies.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0)40 300 337 361 24 or by e-mail.

Chalk, modeling clay, or stuffed animals – toys must not harm the health of children. In particular, this is provided for by the EU Toy Directive. But where exactly is the limit separating what is tolerable and what is harmful to health? In the case of the heavy metal lead, which can result in neurological developmental disorders in children, the EU has been calling for stricter limits for some time. On March 27, 2017, the “Council of the European Union” has now ruled to reduce the migration limits for lead in toys.

According to new scientific findings, toys should not account for more than five per cent of the daily intake of lead. This results in new limits: The migrating concentration of lead in dry, brittle, powdery or pliable toy materials must not amount to any more than 2 milligrams per kilogram in the future; for lead in liquid or adhesive toy materials, the limit amounts to 0.5 mg/kg and to 23 mg/kg for lead in scraped off toy materials. To secure themselves legally, manufacturers and distributors of children’s toys can have their products tested with respect to the new provisions. By October 28, 2018, the directive must be implemented in national law.

An overview of the amended limits:

Element(mg/kg)
in dry, brittle, powdery, or pliable toy materials
(mg/kg)
in liquid or adhesive toy materials
(mg/lg)
in scraped off toy materials
Lead   

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0)40 300 337 361 24 or by email.

As convenient as cords and drawstrings are on clothing, they can quickly cause children to become trapped. In respect to numerous, in some cases even fatal accidents, the legislative body has implemented strict guidelines. As a result, the standard DIN EN 14682 provides for the use of cords and bands in clothing for children up to 14 years of age. As of March 2015, the revised version of the standard is in place.

Manufacturers and distributors of children’s apparel should not underestimate this topic. The European product safety directives stipulate that product managers on every production level can be held legally responsible if their products fail to meet safety requirements and cause accidents as a result. Dealing with existing standards in a safe manner and considering the specifications when designing products may be very crucial for companies in a competitive respect. Articles of clothing and accessories, which do not fall under the applicable domain of the standard, must be inspected with respect to their risk potential and handled accordingly.

In our seminar, "Safety of children’s clothing in accordance with DIN EN 14682:2015-03" on July 4, 2017 in Hamburg, you will obtain detailed information about the application of the standard and specific approaches for implementing it. Take advantage of the possibility of acquiring expert knowledge “first hand” and effectively prevent liability risks. As a member of the European standards committee, the independent testing institute Hansecontrol actively took part in developing and revising DIN EN 14682.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from April 2017

According to lawmakers, companies that place electronic devices on the market in the EU must guarantee their electromagnetic compatability (EMC). This means that they must not generate unwanted electric or electromagnetic effects that interfere with other devices or vice-versa. The applicable protective requirements or limits are provided for in the relevant standards.

In March 2017, a new draft for the next revision of the DIN EN 61000-3-2 was published. It addresses harmonic currents of devices intended for connection to a public low voltage power supply grid. For the first time, it also provides for specific tests for LED lights with an effective power between 5 and 25 W. Such harmonic current tests for LED lights in this power class have not been required to date and therefore confront manufacturers and importers with new challenges.

The revision of the standard is expected to be published by the end of this year. Hermes Hansecontrol is capable of performing the required harmonic current measurements and helping the affected companies meet the new requirements.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or with our order management hardlines department at the phone number +49(0)40 300 33 73 - 6124 or by email .

Washing machines, hairdryers or cordless screw drivers – the product safety of electronic devices on the EU single market was at the very top of the agenda. Today, various directives provide for the duties of manufacturers, distributors and vendors. They aim to prevent interference, risks to the health and safety of users as well as to reduce energy consumption and minimize environmental impacts.

Economic operators are being held responsible to an increasing degree and, as a result, must deal with new legal requirements on an ongoing basis. It is therefore also imperative to observe new editions or amendments of existing EU directives with implementation requirements for 2016 and 2017.

In our seminar “Conformity of Electrical Devices with Directives” on June 27, 2017 in Hamburg, we will inform you about relevant directives and regulations as well as fundamental requirements and terminology in connection with the European Single Market. In a single day, you have the chance to obtain a complete overview of your duties and learn how to reduce any liability risks.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from March 2017

The European Union requires manufacturers and importers to only introduce safe products to the market. The responsible supervisory authorities regularly sample products circulating on the market and check whether consumer goods such as toys or textiles comply with legal requirements. At the same time, a sealed sample is kept at the vendor’s location. If the product results in a complaint, the vendor has to right to have the official control sample or second sample tested to potentially dismiss the objections of the authorities.

The testing of the control sample is subject to strict regulations. Thus, mandatory deadlines must be observed and the specimen may only be opened by an authorized expert. Independent testing institutes like Hermes Hansecontrol offer their support for this purpose. The Hamburg specialist for product safety is authorized to test official control samples and, if necessary, prepares corresponding test assessments or statements regarding a complaint by the official body. This relieves the client of having to deal with the authorities and provides added legal security with respect to statutory requirements.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 7310 or by email.

In August 2016, the EU Commission published its amendment of (EU) no. 10/2011 of the plastic regulation, which it had announced well in advance. It contains some new regulatory content for the migration testing of materials and items made of plastic, which are intended for coming into contact with food. This is an issue of immediate concern to Hermes Hansecontrol and its customers.

For example, the guidelines for food simulants have been amended. To determine, for example, whether certain substances can migrate from packaging to food, these simulants are used in accordance with specifically defined criteria. Vegetable oil has been used to date for the category “Foods containing fat” – referred to as food simulant D2. According to Annex Section 3.2 of the new regulation, the two substitute simulants isooctane and 95-percent ethanol can be used instead of oil for migration testing. Hermes Hansecontrol already implemented this amendment in September 2016.

Tighter rules will apply to the testing of repeated use articles in the future: As of September 2017, for example, having a total migration under the legally prescribed threshold will no longer be sufficient. This is accompanied by the requirement that the total migration in the second test is less than in the first one and less in the third test than in the second one. Hermes Hansecontrol will presumably integrate the new mandatory processes beginning in July of this year.

As of September 14, 2018, new thresholds must be observed for the specific migration of metals from plastics. Among other things, the zinc migration threshold for materials in contact with food will be changed to 5 mg/kg of food; in Annex II, aluminum is supplemented with a specific migration threshold of 1 mg/kg of food. In our test laboratories, we want to consider these new regulations one year in advance beginning in September 2017.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 7310 or by email.

Mandatory transparency: By law, manufacturers, importers and vendors of textiles and footwear must now provide information as to whether their products comply with legal requirements – for example, with respect to harmful substances. The goal is to better protect consumers and to guarantee their safety.

However, unlike defects in workmanship or color defects, neither the vendor nor the consumer can determine at first glance whether “the chemistry is off or not”. In very few cases is it possible to determine which harmful substances may be in a blouse or sport’s shoe based solely on the odor. Only chemical testing of the product provides clarity.

On June 22, 2017, our seminar “When the Chemistry Is off - Footwear and Textiles” in Hamburg addresses this topic. We inform you about the relevant requirements for textiles and footwear on the European Single Market and offer you possible solutions for putting this into practice on an operational level. Our requirements profiles, for example, impart this knowledge in compact form to help you avoid costly mistakes

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from February 2017

The European REACh chemicals regulation requires manufacturers and importers to register chemicals and prohibits or restricts the use of “substances of very high concern”. This includes, among other things, persistent chemicals which accumulate in the body with the consumption of food or which are toxic even in small amounts. The same goes for the widely used flame retardant decabromdiphenyl ether (DecaBDE). As an additive, DecaBDE is used in particular in the plastics and textile industry; it is also present in glues, sealants, coatings and printing inks.

Numerous environmental and consumer associations have criticized the use of DecaBDE and Norway has already restricted it. The REACh Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 has now been supplemented accordingly in February 2017. After a two-year transitional period, new requirements will therefore apply as of March 2019: DecaBDE may neither be manufactured nor placed on the market as a substance. Furthermore, DecaBDE may neither be used nor placed on the market as part of another substance, mixture or as an article or part of an article in concentrations of more than 0.1 percent by weight.

Electric and electronic devices, which fall under the Directive 2011/65/EU, are excluded from the new restrictions. It already provides for the placement on the market of devices containing polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in concentrations exceeding 0.1 percent by weight. Other exceptions and transitional periods apply to the production of aircraft, vehicles and machines.

If you have any questions on this topic, please get in touch with your respective sales representative or our order management department at the phone number +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 7310 or by email.

Jeans have firmly established themselves on the runways of Paris’ Haute Couture as much as they have in the working class boroughs of Europe or on the markets of Africa. A garment that continues to be reinvented and, for many, is an essential part of everyday life. Today, jeans production accounts for its own sector in the fashion industry – and manufacturing this garment also requires specialized expertise.

Our special textile training course on denim/jeans on April 27, 2017 in Hamburg explains what makes jeans so unique, their long-standing popularity as well as current technical possibilities. You will learn about all necessary production steps from the acquisition of raw materials to manufacturing threads and surfaces up to and including dyeing and finishing. Aspects relating to quality and ecology are considered in connection with the individual stages of production. This will provide you with a basis for making the right decisions in product development and purchasing.

Here you will find all the important information about content and conditions for participation (only in German). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at +49 (0) 40 300 33 73 - 13 30 or by sending an email.

News from January 2017

No news in January 2017.


Prüfinstitut Hansecontrol GmbH

Schleidenstrasse 1
22083 Hamburg
Germany
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