Evolution of technical supervision
Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) has significantly improved the approval and certification procedure for marine equipment, materials and products. In force from 1 December 2019, the amendments ensure optimization of the RS-customer interaction and let reduce shipowner’s capital expenditures to classification services for a ship under construction.
“As the new manufacturing technologies and robotisation of processes advance the impact of human element is gradually being mitigated, requesting a game changing approach to finished product approval”, Head of the RS Technical Supervision in Industries Division Alexey Filippov explained.
The transition of companies to the new approval scheme will be arranged in a natural way with no requirement from RS to go through another approval procedure or to obtain new documents. They can be obtained in compliance with the new regulations upon expiry of previously issued ones. “Type approval certificate of RS is valid throughout a five-year period so the transition will be completed within five years”, says the Register.
To speed up the transition, a company can apply to RS, undergo a procedure of quality management system approval (if required) and obtain a reissued certificate.
Groups of supervision
Shaping up the approval scheme in line with the latest production methods RS sorted all the types of marine equipment, materials and products subject to survey into five groups ranking as per safety impact rate and introduced several approval modes depending on the particular group and production volumes.
Key changes include empowering the manufacturer’s quality assurance unit to approve the products under certain groups and issue a declaration of conformity or draw up a certificate. To employ this scheme a manufacturer has to type approve the product prototype and to pass general assessment and also, in certain cases, production process audit.
With RS survey of serial products available at a manufacturer’s site it does not rule out a survey at a shipyard or onboard a ship. It is obvious though, that off-site surveys are definitely more expensive since special test facilities are required. Moreover, if the product is declared non-complying with RS standards, remediation at a shipyard will be more costly as compared with that at a manufacturer’s site.
According to RS, the new scheme will let reduce the number of material and product compliance approvals at shipyards. First of all, that is because Group 1 components of products manufactured according to industrial standards are not subject to approval any more, Group 2 products only require type approval for a serial production. Suppliers of products included in Group 3 which does not foresee approval of serial production will shift to quality management system audit of the 2nd level (QMS 2) and, consequently, supply serial products without an RS certificate. Sophisticated and essential products (Groups 4 and 5) have always been approved at manufacturers’ sites so things haven’t changed all that much for them.
RS specialists expect the number of items requiring RS direct survey at the manufacturing site to be virtually reduced by 72 % (from 682 to 192 items), the full scope of surveys by 32 % (from 889 to 602).
Everything's under control
Nothing has changed in terms of materials and products requirements. Therefore, no structural modernization or additional tests are needed. However, requirements imposed on quality management system are more detailed now. There are two types of quality management system: QMS 1 and QMS 2.
QMS 1 foresees general audit of the company, verifies availability of required technical fit out and personnel responsible for quality control. QMS 2 ensures a more detailed consideration of production processes including incoming and step-by-step inspection as well as quality control. The operations are to be checked for compliance with RS requirements on manufacture and testing of serial products. Besides, additional requirement under QMS 2 is the company’s quality management system compliance with ISO 9001.
The first ten
RS says it has issued seven QMS 1 certificates and three QMS 2 certificates from December 2019. Over a hundred of applications for type approval is under consideration. The cost of service depends on the company region, number of product types, number of people involved in production. QMS is valid for five years provided that the company audit is conducted annually. Throughout the validity period, QMS certificate can be expanded with newly approved products.
Production process of Transas was among the first to be approved under the new scheme. “Now, all the products manufactured by the company can be supplied without individual certificates, which reduces both the cost of equipment and the time of delivery”, Sergey Komarov, Procurement and Logistics Director, Transas, shares his experience.
In general, the company is positive about the amended scheme of technical supervision. “The previous concept provided for issue of individual certificates that means the survey of each product. With our range of products, such an approach was difficult to implement since shipboard electronics is produced in large batches and individual survey is physically impossible. As a rule, it used to result in the rise of prices, delay of supplies and even delay of ship delivery”, explained the Transas representative.
According to Sergey Komarov, the new scheme will let move away from out-dated and difficult to apply individual certification and, consequently, as the worldwide practice suggests, stick to type approval certification. “Of course, that imposes some additional requirements on manufacturers’ quality management systems. Nevertheless, we see it as an advancement that will considerably simplify the life of all the stakeholders involved in supply of ship equipment”, he admitted.