25 Years
of History

25 Years of History
in International Certification for Industrial Low Voltage Equipment

Summary: Background and steps for setting up of LOVAG are presented. An important support was given by the manufacturer‘s trade organisation in some European countries. Today LOVAG is supported by seven recognized European certification bodies and it offers a competent certification scheme for low voltage industrial and similar equipment based on harmonized test instructions and test reports for IEC- and EN- standards. The uniform LOVAG Certificates are recognized in the European market and to an increasing degree in the international market.

In 1989 there were in existence in Europe two mutual recognition agreements (MRA´s), the CENELEC Certification Agreement (CCA) and the Short-circuit Testing Liaison (STL) which created the STL Agreement. The CCA was an agreement with a scope covering the domestic electrical equipment sectors and the STLA covered the high voltage (above 1000V) electrical equipment sectors. It was realised that there was no agreement for the low voltage industrial electrical equipment sectors which form a major part of the electro technical equipment manufacturing in Europe.

A number of European certification bodies discussed if here was a need for an agreement in this sector and in late 1989 a meeting between ASTA Certification Services and ASEFA was held in Paris. From this meeting an Agreement Group of low voltage industrial equipment was begun.

Approaches were made to the manufacturers´ Trade Associations in Europe such as ORGALIME and UNICE. Interest was expressed by the German manufacturers´ trade association ZVEI and the Italian trade association ANIE and from these two new certification bodies were formed to represent the testing interests in those countries, ALPHA in Germany and ACAE in Italy. The Chairman of LOVAG in these early years was Mr. Jean-Paul Francillon.

Contact was made with CENELEC in 1990 and they supported the setting up and signing of the Agreement. In 1991 the Agreement was finalised and a formal signing ceremony was held in CENELEC offices where the Agreement was signed by the four members, Associazione per la Certificazione delle Apparecchiature Elettriche (ACAE) from Italy, Gesellschaft zur Prüfung und Zertifizierung von Niederspannungsgeräten e.V (ALPHA) from Germany, ASEFA from France and ASTA Certification Services (ASTA) from the United Kingdom. In 1992 KEMA Quality formerly (KEMA Certification Services; KCS) from the Netherlands signed the Agreement and in the same year LOVAG was registered by the newly formed European Organisations for Testing and Certification (EOTC).

In 1993 two further certification bodies, CEBEC from Belgium and SEMKO AB from Sweden signed the LOVAG Agreement closely followed by the Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano Giacinto Motta S.p.A. (CESI) from Italy in 1994.. Finally in 1998 SGS FIMKO (former FIMKO Limited) from Finland signed the Agreement making the total membership of LOVAG nine in its tenth year.

Because of different interests ASTA and KEMA have left LOVAG in 2003, followed by SGS Fimko and CESI. But other European Certification Bodies joint LOVAG. These are APPLUS*LGAI from Spain in 2004 and VEIKI-VNL from Hungary in 2006. At the beginning of 2011 the German certification body ALPHA e.V. has been taken on by the VDE Testing and Certification Institute, who becomes a member of LOVAG under the name ALPHA at VDE.

The year 2011 sees the LOVAG Agreement Group with seven member certification bodies from seven different European countries. It produces common LOVAG Test Instructions and LOVAG Test Report Forms for standards for low voltage industrial and similar equipment (including commercial and public buildings equipment) falling within the scope of LOVAG.

Testing for LOVAG certification is performed in about 30 LOVAG registered Laboratories, being supervised by one of the LOVAG members and being accredited by the national accreditation bodies or qualified by the responsible LOVAG member according to ISO/IEC 17025.

To this day the LOVAG Certification Bodies have issued more than 2500 Certificates, which have a common format and which are increasingly recognised in the market and accepted in the European Economic Area and elsewhere in the world.

In 2007 the LOVAG Management Committee started to extend the LOVAG Scheme to offer the licences for a voluntary LOVAG Mark, which is specially adapted to the needs of industrial low voltage area. LOVAG Mark Certification rules were set up covering the requirements for testing, granting the licenses, for factory inspections and surveillance measures. Today a number of circuit breakers from different manufactures are bearing the voluntary LOVAG Mark.

On the basis of the LOVAG certification scheme of today with its high competence for low voltage equipment, and the gained high integrity and quality supported by well known certification bodies in Europe the future objectives of LOVAG are a worldwide activity of the LOVAG and a world wide acceptance of LOVAG Certificates and of the LOVAG Mark.

LOVAG would welcome new members to support these objectives.

LOVAG Management Committee,
March 2011