The history of TÜV Rheinland began in Germany 150 years ago when steam boilers first used to generate electricity exploded, causing many lost lives and enormous property damage. As the onset of industrialization introduced technologies that posed new potential dangers, the company’s original mission was to eliminate or minimize risks arising from the use of new technical equipment. We still fulfill this mission, especially when new technologies are used to which, frequently, no standards or technical rules yet apply.
In principle, technology is not dangerous in itself. A car in a garage does not pose a safety hazard; it can only become dangerous once a human takes over the driver’s seat. The more people are trained and taught how to handle technology, the less likely using technology will pose risks.
On the other hand, the global internet and low-cost use of microchips have disrupted technology that was previously deemed safe. If electronically controlled machinery shares incorrect information or are either coincidentally or deliberately manipulated, an otherwise safe technology can become dangerous.
TÜV Rheinland has specialists for state-of-the-art automotive electronics, as well as experts on challenges faced by other industries and institutions. Microelectronics and chips will be used everywhere in places like future smart cities and solar technologies, so we test the reliability of communication electronics. You could say we check the language and grammar of machinery and products to ensure they communicate with each other correctly.
Since the beginning of the 1980s, TÜV Rheinland has assisted Japanese manufacturers with the safety aspects of exported products, which have local authorization procedures. These manufacturers recognize TÜV Rheinland as an accredited international inspection authority and we are able to provide “one-stop testing” services to accommodate export markets worldwide, saving Japanese customers a great deal of time and money.
With its leading international position as an exporter of a wide range of technologies, Japan was and continues to be a highly regarded and reliable international partner in the networks of politics, business and science. This week, experts from all over the world are meeting in Tokyo for the conference of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), an important institution that has dealt very intensively in the past with the harmonization and standardization of the different technical norms around the world and is today preparing for future technological changes.
On the theme of an ‘IEC Master Plan 2011’ and the ‘Japan Recovery Plan,’ international experts will discuss the future foundations for designing international standards and technical regulations. In the future, TÜV Rheinland will be involved even more intensively in the work of IEC bodies. Newly developed TÜV Rheinland services will cater specifically to the new technologies for smart cities, smart grids, e-mobility and energy efficiency. As a matter of principle, our focus in dealing with new technological challenges will continue to be on consumer safety and ensuring that products are not safety hazards.