Wednesday, July 24, 2024

SUPPORING A POWERHOUSE INDUSTRY

SIRIM Paves the Way for Safety and Reliability in the E&E Sector

The electrical and electronics (E&E) industry is a cornerstone of Malaysia’s industrial growth. As a hub for E&E manufacturing, Malaysia is well-poised to meet the demands of digitally-savvy and environmentally-conscious consumers. SIRIM Berhad (SIRIM) and its subsidiaries are set to play a major role in enhancing acceptance of E&E products in these new markets.

The E&E industry has been a catalyst for Malaysia’s economic development for decades. Its growth can be attributed to a robust ecosystem and the presence of local companies and multinationals that serve an extensive global supply chain. The industry also contributes to the growth of other vital sectors, such as automotive and healthcare.

According to MIDA, exports of E&E products increased by 3.5 percent in 2020 to RM386.1 billion, making the sector the largest export earner among all manufactured goods. The sector also recorded the highest total approved investments in 2020, worth RM15.6 billion spread across 148 E&E projects, with foreign investments accounting for 86.5 percent of the total.

However, the industry is undergoing dramatic changes. The onset of Industry 4.0 and increasing demand for sustainable products places pressure on industry players to innovate and move up the supply chain. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has considerably impacted the E&E industry, further showcased the exigency of this transition towards digitalisation and high value-added activities.

SIRIM, Malaysia’s leading industrial research and technology organisation, together with its subsidiaries have been instrumental in ensuring safety and reliability within the E&E value chain to help the industry navigate an ever-evolving and competitive business landscape.

The Electrical and Electronics Section of SIRIM QAS International conducts testing on a broad spectrum of electrical products including LCDs (top) and power factories (bottom) at its accredited laboratories to ensure that the products comply with safety, performance or energy efficiency requirements

Tried and Tested

As many E&E products are used in everyday life, manufacturers need to ensure that their products comply with safety and performance requirements. This service is offered by the wholly-owned SIRIM subsidiary, SIRIM QAS International, which is Malaysia’s leading Conformity Assessment Body.

The E&E testing section offers approval on consignment basis after a thorough inspection and testing process, upon which SIRIM labels will be issued to be affixed on each product unit. This is applicable to regulated and imported electrical products which require the approval from the Energy Commission (ST) prior to being sold in the market.

Regulated electrical products include 34 categories of electrical equipment comprising household appliances, adaptors, wires and more. For imported electrical products, testing ensures that they are suitable for local weather conditions and can operate within an acceptable voltage.

Testing is based on a broad spectrum of Malaysian Standards (MS) and International Standards such as the ISO and IEC. As E&E are highly regulated products, credible test reports ensure conformity with national regulations and that manufacturers are able to export their products to other countries.

SIRIM QAS International’s laboratories are accredited by the Department of Standards Malaysia with ISO 17025 and recognised under the IECEE CB Scheme. Therefore, CB test reports and certificates issued by the organisation are accepted and recognised by participating National Certification Bodies and CB Testing Laboratories.

LED lamps are required to meet the minimum efficacy value prescribed under the Minimum Energy Performance
Standards (MEPS).

Co-Pilot in the Energy-Efficiency Journey

SIRIM’s symbiotic relationship with ST goes beyond assessing the safety of E&E, but also providing assurance of the products’ energy consumption.

With issues such as climate change and sustainability putting energy efficiency in the spotlight, governments and industries are promoting the energy-efficiency agenda to ensure energy security for generations to come. In Malaysia, ST is leading the charge with strong support from SIRIM.

SIRIM QAS International is the appointed testing house by ST for the STAR Labelling Programme which requires electrical appliances to meet the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) before they can be sold in Malaysia. The programme was designed to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions in the country.

Currently, MEPS is mandatory for eight electrical appliances. However, the increasing importance of energy efficiency as a prerequisite in cross-border trade and industry specifications will likely lead to regulators making MEPS mandatory for more electrical appliances in the future. And SIRIM is ready to support this development when the time comes.

SIRIM QAS International’s state-of-the-art and accredited laboratories are equipped to perform testing on a wide range of electrical products based on relevant energy efficiency standards. In addition, the agency also acts as technical advisors for the testing process and criteria for MEPS.

Built for the Future

E&E manufacturers may showcase compliance to local and international standards with SIRIM QAS International’s Product Certification Scheme that enables an applicant to demonstrate the SIRIM Certification Mark on their product.

Pursuant to the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998, communications and multimedia products sold in Malaysia need to be certified and labelled with the Certification Mark.

SIRIM works closely with regulatory bodies such as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to ensure the safety and interoperability of communications and multimedia devices, and with industry players to ensure compliance with relevant national standards.

SIRIM QAS International is appointed by MCMC as the Certifying Agency (CA) to certify electronic and hybrid products. It is also a Cross Border Regulatory Agency (CBRA) appointed by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (KDRM) for the issuance of import permits for communication and multimedia devices.

As Malaysia’s aspirations for a digital economy accelerates, the interoperability of devices within the wider technology ecosystem will grow in importance. As such, so will SIRIM’s role in ensuring adherence and awareness to relevant standards and requirements.

For instance, SIRIM QAS International as the CA is tasked to certify all IPv6 capable, directly connected equipment as mandated by MCMC, and in doing so, playing its part in driving the adoption of IPv6 services in Malaysia.

MEPS is compulsory for eight household appliances including air conditioners, refrigerators, domestic fans, televisions, washing machines, lamps, microwave ovens and electric rice cookers.

Promoting Industry Excellence

SIRIM QAS International also assists players in the E&E industry improve business performance through its Quality Management System certifications.

ISO 9001 is the most widely recognised standard internationally, helping companies meet customer requirements and ensure the consistent quality of E&E products. Implementation of this standard imbues a culture of continuous improvement throughout the organisation which contributes to productivity and cost-savings.

E&E businesses that are looking to enhance their environmental credibility can also opt for the ISO 14001. This standard specifies requirements for the implementation of an effective environmental management system. It assures stakeholders that day-to-day business operations are sustainable and do not contravene any environmental laws.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) is gaining traction in Malaysia. In 2020, news circulated that the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had banned products from a Malaysian manufacturer due to allegations of forced labour, signalling the importance of social compliance in global trade moving forward.

Here, SIRIM QAS International offers ISO 45001 certification services to help organisations showcase commitment to the safety and well-being of their personnel. As the E&E industry in Malaysia is generally labour-intensive, employees can be assured that systems are in place to prevent the risk of injuries and accidents at work that could impact the assembly line.

As the Certifying Agency for communications and multimedia products appointed by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), SIRIM QAS International ensures that all electrical appliances and electronic devices comply with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) regulations.

Enhancing Competencies

Management system certifications are vital for companies that seek a competitive edge in the market, especially in the fast-growing and fast-paced E&E industry. As standards continue to evolve, industry players need to enhance their ability to meet the relevant requirements.

SIRIM plays a proactive role in enhancing competitiveness and sustainability of the industry with its experienced team of industry trainers and consultants. SIRIM STS is the marketing arm of SIRIM entrusted to promote and manage the quality and technology training programmes.

As the leading provider for training and consultancy services, SIRIM STS has trained more than 300,000 participants through public and in-house trainings, seminars, workshops, conferences and students’ industrial practical trainings.

Most notably, its standards-based management system training services have assisted organisations achieve various management system certifications and accreditations. This comprises of the aforementioned ISO 9001, ISO 45001 and ISO 14001.

The agency also offers training services for the ISO/IEC 17025 Laboratory Management System. This standard specifies requirements for competent, impartial and consistent operation of laboratories to produce reliable testing, calibration and sampling results.

E&E companies that own in-house laboratories can enhance readiness for the accreditation journey via the five training modules under this programme. In addition, SIRIM STS also offers a course for Lead Auditors based on the accreditation criteria of the Laboratory Management System.

To date, the agency has assisted more than 29 laboratories achieve ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation.

SIRIM STS is a training and consultancy services provider that has assisted numerous companies achieve management system certifications and accreditations. Aside from training, SIRIM STS is also responsible for the development of SIRIM Industry Standards and serves as Malaysia’s National World Trade Organisation Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO-TBT) Enquiry Point appointed by the government.
 

Trusted Calibration Services

SIRIM Standards Technology (SIRIM SST) is a subsidiary of SIRIM that offers a wide range of calibration and measurement services. Its services are fully traceable to national and international standard. Formed in 1994, it has issued over 1.2 million calibration certificates to both local and international companies.

Backed by a team of technical experts with over 25 years of experience in Radio Frequency (RF) technology, SIRIM SST serves as a one-stop solutions centre for RF calibration services. Industries like E&E, aerospace, education and defence are reliant on accurate RF measurements to ensure product quality in line with applicable regulations and customer requirements.

SIRIM SST’s accredited laboratory is equipped with 15 automated calibration stations, capable of generating frequencies up to 40GHz and measure signals up to 50GHz to calibrate a wide range of RD test equipment. Aside from in-lab and on-site calibrations, SIRIM SST also provides repair services for RF measuring devices.

Following the latest developments in technology such as 5G and demand for higher frequency testing, SIRIM SST plans to upgrade the calibration stations, PXI system and to increase the capability of RF Power to 100 watts. This will enable it to better serve the evolving needs of the E&E industry in Malaysia.

Beyond Malaysia, SIRIM SST looks to expand its expertise to serve companies within the Southeast Asian region.

A subsidiary of SIRIM Berhad, SIRIM Standards Technology (SIRIM SST) provides Radio Frequency (RF) calibration services at its dedicated and environmentally controlled RF Standards Laboratory. The facility can calibrate different types of RF instruments such as wireless connectivity test systems, spectrum and network analysers, parametric test systems, PXI modules, power meters, power sensors and more.

A Collective Effort

Malaysia’s e-commerce market is fast-growing. According to Global Data’s E-Commerce Analytics, the country’s e-commerce market is expected to reach RM51.6 billion by 2024. With more consumers opting to purchase E&E products online or from overseas, the safety and interoperability of these products have become a major concern.

SIRIM plays a proactive role in enhancing awareness of the importance of SIRIM-ST label on E&E products. Its flagship initiative is the SIRIM-ST Safety Awareness Campaign which aims to curb the rampant sale of non-certified E&E products in the market.

This campaign is led by SIRIM QAS International in collaboration with ST, Malaysian Electrical Appliances Distributors Association (MEADA), and Federation of Malaysian Electrical Appliances Dealers’ Association (FOMEDA).

This is important as the use of uncertified and faulty electrical appliances is one of the factors that leads to accidents in domestic premises. Findings by the ST also revealed that the estimated number of electrical accidents averages at 52 cases per year, for the past five year’s cycle. In 2020, a total of 45 cases were reported which include 28 fatal and 17 non-fatal accidents. The use of uncertified and faulty electrical appliances is among the factors that led to accidents in domestic premises.

The E&E sector is hopeful for a rebound in 2021, driven by external demand as the global economy enters a post-pandemic reality. Together with the forces of government and industry, Malaysia is set to cement its place as a hub for E&E. SIRIM will continue augment the growth of this powerhouse sector by ensuring safety, performance and efficiency as part of a global supply chain.

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