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Stacy Georges, product manager at the US company Hollister Whitney, asked Liftinstituut to certify three new rope grippers. Partly because of COVID-19 and resulting travel restrictions, the certification took place remotely. The test coordinator in the Chinese laboratory performed the various tests, while Stacy and Liftinstituut certification specialist Hessel Kramer monitored everything remotely. What were their experiences with this method of certification?

What are the major differences between live and remote certification?
Hessel: “Normally we would visit the company or test laboratory, so we can see everything, touch all the components and really get to know the quality procedures. This time it’s a little bit different. The Chinese laboratory put up four different stationary camera set-ups, so we could see the lift from certain angles. Besides that, the test coordinator was walking through the test area and showing us all the components with his smartphone. If we for example wanted to see the wear and tear on the gripper, he showed it to us.”

Stacy: “One key thing that Liftinstituut did bring up was a good test plan. With that plan they prepared us exactly what they wanted to see, and what type of documents they wanted before we did the remote testing. Therefore, our supplier and the lab over there were able to compile all this. I think the upfront preparedness really helped streamline the process.”

Hessel: “Before the actual test dates we also arranged a test video call with the test laboratory to verify that the infrastructure with the camera’s would be correct. It took a little time more to prepare but it added to a smooth process.”

What were the challenges of remote certification?
Stacy: “With the laboratory in China, Liftinstituut in Amsterdam, Netherlands and our office in Quincy, Illinois, USA we had some time differences to deal with. The tests took about three to four days in total. At times me and my design engineer would be up from 10 pm to 4 am while watching these tests. But except from that, I thought remote certification worked very well. I mean, we had great testing results.”

Are there any time benefits from remote certification?
Hessel: “Most important benefit of remote certification is that the tests can go ahead even in times of closed borders due to COVID-19. The tests always take a certain time, even remotely. You cannot shorten them. The time savings can be found in the fact that we do not have to travel.”

Stacy: “Another big plus of remote certification of our safety components is that we are able to record everything. If Hessel would have a question for us, I could record it. I would download it to the cloud. He could look at the next one the following day if he had questions or concerns, and review that. So it is nice to have an actual recording of the test.”

Why did Hollister-Whitney choose for Liftinstituut?
Stacy: “We have already worked with Liftinstituut for a number of years. We have always had a very good working relationship with them and therefore we thought this is just the way to go. Right now we are working with Hessel on a new project.”

If you have the option to have a live certification or a remote one, what would you prefer?
Stacy: “I always enjoy meeting people in person. But this remote testing went so well for us and the financial benefit is saving everybody money with no travel involved. So I would prefer remote testing. The technology today allows us to do so. I think remote certification is the way to go.”