Vision? Value!

Vision? Value!

The world needs visions. Above all, however, it needs specific actions that will allow the value of those visions to unfold. This is why the TÜV NORD GROUP has been working for some time to promote the safe and sustainable use of new technologies and developments for its customers and society as a whole. Seven examples show what this means in practice.

Speedy Assistance

Benefiting underground hazard assessments: DMT’s geomonitoring offers disaster relief in flood areas

This service from DMT has provided some crucial support. July 2021: in the German Rhein-Erft district, which has been severely affected by flooding, reliable facts are in demand. Several houses which have been poised on the edge of a scarp have collapsed. Are more at risk of following suit? It’s in such perilous situations that the DMT SAFEGUARD monitoring platform is a reliable helper: it measures even the smallest movements or vibrations and uses the collected data to evaluate risks in the subsoil. “We were quickly on site. Providing real help at very short notice is something to be proud of,” says Dr. Karsten Zimmermann. The geomonitoring expert is part of a very experienced team at DMT, which brings together experts from various disciplines who can respond flexibly to a wide variety of needs.

Last summer’s fl ood disaster hit large parts of Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate very hard. This made it all the more important to stick to routines and act professionally. When DMT is asked for risk assessments in mining, building and civil engineering or environmental monitoring, its clients are usually interested in plannable safety concepts. But fast and safe solutions are also required in the event of sudden natural disasters such as floods or landslides triggered by heavy rain. DMT experts joined a hastily convened crisis team in the Rhein-Erft district, which first met digitally and then on site. Whenever it met, the team was always confronted with the same urgent question: when would it be safe for residents, tradespeople and helpers to return to certain buildings?

The answer to this question was supplied by SAFEGUARD, a monitoring system based on innovative sensors. Ground movements, vibrations, object deformations and seismicity are constantly monitored and analysed. Data can be evaluated and shared very quickly and used by the experts to prepare their risk assessment. This benefits, for example, first responders such as THW, Germany’s disaster response organisation, and the fire brigade, alongside the geological service and official bodies, construction experts and, in certain cases, the general public.

DMT has been continuously refining SAFEGUARD for more than a decade. This proven monitoring procedure collates data centrally and securely, uses Web View to make them visible and can trigger alarms. In the Rhein-Erft district, SAFEGUARD succeeded in giving people not only a sense of security, but also relief and new hope.

DMT, Civil & Mining Engineering Business Segment

The Mobility of Tomorrow

Benefiting environmentally friendly mobility: certification of fuel cell technology by TÜV NORD China

One of hydrogen’s key properties is that it can combine with almost any other element. In this case, hydrogen is also connecting TÜV NORD China with Chinese enterprise REFIRE, a leading global provider of hydrogen fuel cell technology. “We often work with leading companies in many fields,” says Rilian Zhu, Operations Director at TÜV NORD China Mobility. “Our customers appreciate our breadth of expertise and the successes we’ve accumulated from past projects.” And REFIRE is no exception: Mr. Zhu and his team have used their expert knowledge in the field of hydrogen propulsion systems to support REFIRE in the testing and certification of the PRISMA VI fuel cell system. Fuel cells in PRISMA VI split hydrogen atoms to generate emissions-free energy which is suitable for use, for instance, in the propulsion systems of lorries and buses.

For PRISMA VI fuel cell systems to be licensed for sale on the European market, however, they need a European EMC certificate. It’s for this reason that TÜV NORD China has been supporting the company in the preliminary stages of its certification process with rigorous audits and evaluations. ECE Regulation No. 10 governs the electromagnetic compatibility of vehicles and their components. This means that electronic equipment or systems must be able to function perfectly in their environments without generating impermissible disruptive electromagnetic fields in the process. Certification by a recognised and experienced testing service provider such as TÜV NORD China is allowing REFIRE to access European markets while also making history in a small but significant way: Prisma VI is the first fuel cell system from China to have been awarded this certification. 

TÜV NORD China Mobility, Operations Director

TÜV NORD China und REFIRE are set to continue their collaboration. Mr. Zhu is optimistic: “In the context of international collaboration, REFIRE will be able to move its vision of introducing of hydrogen-powered mobility onto the European market one step closer to reality.” Further projects are already in the starting blocks: TÜV NORD China plans to cooperate with other leading companies from various industries and aims to support its customers, for example, in the development of fuel-cell cars and ammonia fuel cells.

Things are currently looking good for the future of hydrogen technology. Thanks to their promise of pollution-free energy generation, ever closer attention is being paid to fuel cells. “Deriving energy from hydrogen is still very expensive, but we’re confident that this type of fuel will unleash a revolution. This is being confirmed by developments in the sector, such as REFIRE’s PRISMA VI,” Mr. Zhu says.

Sustainable Quality

Benefiting sustainable food and products: organic certification from Italy

In the age of climate change, high quality food which has been sustainably produced is in demand. To ensure that these twin requirements can be met is the task of the Controllo e Certificazione (CCPB) organic certification body, headquartered in Bologna, Italy. The company’s support for the TÜV NORD GROUP’s food business segment is making a big difference, particularly when it comes to the interaction with other certification companies and food laboratories. Lorenzo Pileri, CCPB’s Managing Director, is sure of one thing: “The best way to guarantee sustainability is through organic production. The organic dimension brings together important pillars such as environmental protection, biodiversity and ethical and social considerations.” This is a view shared by the European Union, which has placed a sustainable food system at the heart of its Green Deal. According to regulations first introduced in 1992, products may only be declared “organic” in the EU if an independent monitoring body has approved them as such, and CCPB is one such organisation. Although CCPB is primarily focused on the organic issue, it has developed further expertise over the years and now offers over 80 certification services. These include GLOBALGAP, BRC and IFS to improve food safety, certifications for traceability systems in the agri-food sector such as ISO 22005 and environmental product declarations (EPDs). With the GOTS certification for sustainable textiles and organic production certification in the cosmetics industry, CCPB is also active in industries outside the food sector.

CCPB staff conduct audits to assess whether customers are complying with all the necessary regulations. Once the audits have been successfully completed and the documents verified, CCPB issues the organic production certificate. “The process leading up to organic certification has a lot of different elements,” says Mr. Pileri. “Comprehensive verification and transparent tests are the only way to prove the high quality of the products and the sustainability of their cultivation” – and this applies all over the world. The EU has concluded agreements under which certified organic products, such as those from the CCPB, can be declared organic and sold worldwide. “CCPB is recognised as an organic certification body in over 50 countries,” Mr. Pileri explains.

The EU’s line is clear: products in all industries need to become more sustainable. Organic farming can help here, but it is not only in agriculture that organic production is a proven method of achieving this objective. “There are now other certifications which, when combined with organic certificates, are of real use in different industries and areas. This is why CCPB offers a whole range of related certifications with a global perspective,” explains Mr. Pileri. All CCPB certifications have one common aim: to improve sustainability.

Managing Director, CCPB

One Step Ahead

Benefiting data encryption: protecting computers from cyberattacks using post-quantum cryptography

For many computer experts, 2019 marked the start of a new era for IT: this was the year in which the Internet giant Google announced that it had put one of the world’s first quantum computers into operation. Quantum computers do not function like normal computers with bits and bytes, but follow the complex laws of quantum mechanics. This gives them access to hitherto inconceivable computing power.

TÜViT is keeping a close eye on the progress of quantum computing technology. For the supercomputers of the future, data encryption methods which are currently considered absolutely secure will no longer be an obstacle. Although quantum computers will not come onto the market for a further 10 to 30 years and even then only as exotic rarities, today’s cryptography needs to be brought up to the standard of tomorrow as quickly as possible to ensure that it will remain secure in tomorrow’s world. After all, many data and products have very long life cycles, and IT systems need to be protected from cyberattacks even in the age of quantum computers. “The good news is that what we call post-quantum cryptography already offers protection against attacks by both quantum and conventional computers. It can also be used to effectively protect conventional binary computers,” explains Lucie Kogelheide, Information Technology Security Consultant at TÜViT. The “post” tag is important here. This is because, unlike quantum cryptography, this method also protects conventional computers. “So you don’t need a quantum computer to use post-quantum cryptography,” says Ms. Kogelheide pithily. As an IT security expert, she examines hardware in the laboratory with regard to the security of its encryption methods and advises customers on how to effectively protect their computer systems with suitable cryptography. 

TÜViT, IT Security Hardware Evaluation

The consulting and testing work which TÜViT is conducting in tandem with the development of the technology is indispensable, especially when it comes to converting conventional encryption to post-quantum cryptography. Unlike today, these procedures will not offer just one standard for all systems and applications. This means that users will need to select the right algorithm for their application. Added to this is the issue of protection against attacks by conventional computers, which will of course still need to be maintained. “What this means is that the demands on cryptography will continue to grow, as will the need to select the right algorithm and get the right advice in this area,” Ms. Kogelheide says, summing up the task ahead. 

Certified Flights

Benefiting flying safety: unmanned aerial vehicle certification from Spain

The employees of ALTER TECHNOLOGY (ATN) have every reason to celebrate. The Entidad Nacional de Acreditación (ENAC) has awarded them a specific accreditation, as confirmed by the Agencia Estatal de Seguridad Aérea (AESA): This marks the first time that a European company has been authorised according to EU regulation 2019/945 as a Notified Body for the conformity assessment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Behind the scenes of any accreditation is always a long process and hard work. As Julián Gallego, Testing and Certification Manager at ATN, recalls: “We started the accreditation process in 2020. We’d been dealing with this area long before then, in that we’d been working on our internal processes and procedures.”

Not everything that can fly is actually allowed to do so. Since UAVs fly at an altitude of no more than 120 metres, much lower than aircraft, there is more risk involved for people on the ground below. It’s for this reason that, since 2021, UAVs have been required to have a CE mark and a UAS class identification label, the guidelines for which are set out in Directive EU 2019/945. The UAV classes from C0 to C6 determine the minimum distance which these unmanned aerial vehicles must keep from uninvolved third parties and residential, commercial or industrial areas when in flight. UAVs in classes C0 to C4 belong to the “open” category, meaning that pilots don’t need a license or permit to fly them. In other words, there are already rules in place. And yet, it isn’t always clear which UAVs belong to which categories. ATN is now authorised to classify UAVs in the open categories of classes C0 to C4. With the aid of various laboratory and flight tests, ATN’s role is to ensure that UAVs fulfil the statutory requirements in their various classes.

But precisely which criteria must a UAV satisfy before it is permitted to take to the skies? “There’s no way you can fly a UAV unless you have complete mastery of its operating system,” says Mr. Gallego pithily. “This is the main reason for the development of specific safety testing procedures.” In the laboratory, specialists test the individual parts for secure and safe functionality. Once at the airfield, the staff test whether the UAV can be safely controlled by a sufficiently skilled remote pilot in terms of stability, manoeuvrability and performance of the command and control connection and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The ATN team is thus playing its part in ensuring that there will be far fewer accidents involving UAVs in the future. 

ALTER TECHNOLOGY, Testing and Certification Manager

Safe Driving

Benefiting drivers: safe and secure software updates for vehicle electronics

Modern cars are increasingly turning into computers on wheels. The use of complex software structures will be required for the realisation of future vehicle functions for automated and connected driving, but even everyday tasks such as controlling lighting or air conditioning would no longer be conceivable without calculation algorithms. In the future, system updates – for example to correct errors or expand functions – will simply be downloaded to the car via a mobile connection or wireless LAN, as is currently the case with PCs and smartphones. In the first instance, manufacturers are for the most part using these “over-the-air” updates primarily for comfort and infotainment systems: for example, to add a new road map to the satnav. “In the future, over-the-air software updates will also be carried out for homologation and safety-relevant vehicle functions and have to be evaluated with regard to possible safety risks and effects which have a bearing on approval,” explains Heiko Ehrich, Head of Department Automotive Electronics at TÜV NORD Mobilität.

As in all areas of road traffic, safety must be given the highest priority. With the introduction of UN-R156 in 2021, an approval regulation was created to ensure the future safety and traceability of software updates in vehicles. To comply with the regulation, the manufacturer must prove that it has implemented a Software Update Management System (SUMS) to evaluate the effects of the software adjustments on vehicle functionality and ensure that they are implemented in its vehicles. 

TÜV NORD Mobilität, Head of Department Automotive Electronics 

Only when the SUMS has been certified by the approval authority is the manufacturer cleared to be granted UN-R156 system approval for the vehicle type. TÜV NORD Mobilität is supporting the manufacturers as a technical service provider in this two-stage procedure. “First of all, we audit the manufacturer’s SUMS and assess the processes it has in place to evaluate, develop and install software updates. In the second stage, we test the vehicle technology used to install the software updates in the control systems,” Mr. Ehrich says. Drivers of future vehicles will benefit from this new technology, as software updates enable keepting safety and security of vehicles up to date."

Digital Supplement

Benefiting training: modernising teaching at TÜV NORD Bildung nursing training schools

Carmen Ndokon Dingong makes no secret of how proud she is. The head of the Bergkamen nursing school is delighted with the way training at TÜV NORD Bildung has been modernised. “We’ve become more digital, effective and flexible,” says the manager and trainer. A new blend of face-to-face and digital teaching is having its effect in Bergkamen and other places, improving nursing training and attracting a great deal of interest. “In 2021, we had more applications than ever before,” reveals Ms. Ndokon Dingong.

During the coronavirus pandemic, a new awareness of nursing as a profession of fundamental value has emerged. This increase in appreciation is motivating nursing staff and boosting interest in good nursing training. The new teaching concepts from TÜV NORD Bildung are paving the way to a form of learning that is appropriate for the modern age. It’s a perfect time to try out new things. Since 1 January 2020, one generalised training course has brought together the professions of geriatric, general and paediatric nursing in Germany under one roof. The day-to-day programme of learning is correspondingly diverse. Trainee nurses learn, for example, about the nuances involved in the physical care of babies, adults and the elderly. Interactive dolls are used to raise awareness of the differences. Alongside everyday tasks, such as skin and hair care, they can also be used to practise particular skills. These include simulating elevated blood pressure or a situation in which a patient collapses. The reactions of the students to such emergencies and various clinical pictures are filmed and then discussed. In this way, the knowledge is securely transmitted.

Nursing training thrives on proximity, interaction and practical experience. To reconcile the need to promote good training practice with the observance of social distancing as an important coronavirus measure, TÜV NORD Bildung makes use of technical support. Here’s a shining example: at the nursing school in Bergkamen, all the trainees receive a free tablet PC with a camera and microphone. This allows physical distances to be bridged and knowledge gaps to be closed. “Our students can participate flexibly in online lessons and use the tablet to do independent research. This makes them more independent and increases personal responsibility,” says Ms. Ndokon Dingong. She continues to see face-to-face teaching as the basis for thorough and meticulous training. But these digital aids are making an important contribution to qualified and effective nursing training.

Head of Bergkamen nursing school TÜV NORD Bildung