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ABS - Home What We Offer Type Approval Frequently Asked Questions

WHO MAY APPLY FOR ABS TYPE APPROVAL?

ABS requires the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to apply, or when manufacturing at another location, either the OEM or the facility with the approval of the OEM, may apply.  ABS strictly follows the entities of the designer, or OEM, and secondary manufacturer plus product category and model identification.

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DESIGN REVIEW LETTER AND A PDA?

A design review letter is the approval of a material, component, product or system for a specific installation on-board a vessel, MODU or facility. It is a one-time approval.

A PDA is a general assessment of materials, components, products or systems for a specific use in compliance with the Rules, Guides and recognized standards. A Product Design Assessment (PDA) is an assessment it is not an approval*. 

* Approval is given when an Engineer or Surveyor accepts the assessed item for a specific user and installation.

 

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN APPROVED PRODUCT AND TYPE APPROVED PRODUCT?

When ABS Rules ask for an "Approved Product" it refers to a product that requires either a technical evaluation or a survey. Normally the technical evaluation is reported in a Design Review Letter (DRL) and is limited to a specific application.

If a client wants a generic approval, then a Product Design Assessment (PDA) is issued.

When ABS Rules ask for "Unit Certification"; then a surveyor would use either the DRL or the PDA and conduct a manufacturing survey at the plant, and in turn issue a vendor's report.

At this time ABS Rules do not require "Product Type Approval" for any products. You will find that some societies do require Product Type Approval, and it is becoming a more frequently seen requirement in SOLAS and the EU Marine Equipment Directive (MED).

 

WHAT IS UNIT CERTIFICATION?

Unit certification requirement is identified where required by the Rules; a complete assembly unit or subassembly unit is to be tested at the manufacturer's shop in the presence of the Surveyor to verify the tests required by the Rules were satisfactorily completed.

 

HOW DOES A PRODUCT QUALIFY TO BE CALLED "ABS TYPE APPROVED PRODUCT?"

The product must have both a valid and current design approval, PDA and a valid Manufacturing Assessment Certificate, MA.

 

WHY DOES MY DESIGN CERTIFICATE HAVE A DIFFERENT VALIDITY DATE FROM MY CONFIRMATION OF TYPE APPROVAL?

ABS Type Approval Program requires both a certificate for design and a certificate for manufacturing that together define the product as being "Type Approved."

The Confirmation of Type Approval will have the date printed in the upper left-hand corner of the on-demand certificate.  This indicates that on the day printed both the PDA and the MA Certificates were valid.

 

DO I NEED TO CARRY OUT AN ADDITIONAL MANUFACTURING ASSESSMENT IF I RECEIVE A NEW PDA?

In the ABS Program, one Manufacturing Assessment Certificate (MA) is valid for new models of products already covered by the MA. In this manner the manufacturer has the flexibility to add or remove models from its portfolio without affecting the status of the remaining products.

If a new product type is issued a PDA then an initial MA must be carried out for that product.  A renewal manufacturing assessment for existing product type is normally carried out at the same time.  An example would be a pump manufacturer that adds a PDA for valves.

 

IS ISO 9001 REQUIRED FOR ABS TYPE APPROVAL?

Yes. The company is to be ISO certified, or have an equivalent management system that is certified by an accredited third party; this will be approved by ABS on a case by case basis. If the manufacturer asks for a Program of self-inspection, or PQA, then compliance with the most recent ISO9001 Standard is mandatory.

 

WHAT IS THE ABS POLICY AND PROCEDURE CONCERNING SECONDARY MANUFACTURERS AND RELABELLING?

The original PDA is assigned to the OEM of the entity that will have control of the product and its specifications, whether the products are manufactured at that location or not.

If the OEM that owns the PDA decides to subcontract the PDA then the secondary entity must be a manufacturer. The Manufacturer or the OEM must apply for a duplicated product design assessment (PDA-DUP) for the secondary location.  There is no limit on how many secondary facilities may be issued a PDA-DUP and are required to carry out a Manufacturing Assessment.

As set up ABS’s Policies and Procedures do not allow for re-labelling or re-branding of PDAS. Re-branding is the creation of a new name, term, symbol, design or combination thereof for an established brand with the intention of developing a differentiated (new) position in the mind of stakeholders and competitors.

 

DO MY SUBCONTRACTORS REQUIRE AN ABS AUDIT?

Not if final manufacturing steps, inspection, packaging and shipping is done at the manufacturer's facility; it is not necessary for a controlled supplier to have an ABS Manufacturing Assessment conducted at its facility. Quality Management System (ISO 9001) makes the manufacturer responsible for auditing and controlling its suppliers.

Yes, an audit is required if it is a part or sub-assembly requiring unit certification, such as a crankshaft for a propulsion diesel engine.

 

DOES ABS HAVE ANY MATERIALS WE CAN USE FOR MARKETING?

ABS has logos available upon request through the ABS Programs Department for customers.  Please email absta-programs@eagle.org with your request. 

When a product has received a Product Design Assessment (PDA) it is eligible to use the Design Assessed logo.

When a manufacturer has a PDA and has completed a satisfactory Manufacturing Assessment (MA) the product is then eligible for a Confirmation of Type Approval and the Type Approved Product Logo may be used.

 

DOES PRODUCT TYPE APPROVAL REPLACE CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT?

In the scope of product assessment, the product either requires Unit Certification or it does not.

It must be recognized that Type Approval may be required by certain standards in order to complete Conformity Assessment.

 

I AM ISO 9001 CERTIFIED, WHY MUST I ALSO BE AUDITED BY ABS?

The management system standards state requirements for what the organization must do to manage processes influencing quality (ISO 9001) and the way in which an organization manages its processes affects the quality of its final product.

For ABS to accept ISO 9001 certification it must be in conjunction with some form of product specific audit that is based on our Rules, as well as any additional Standards the product is approved to.

 

WHAT IS A LIMITED APPROVAL?

When a Product Design Assessment Certificate expires or is superseded by a Rule or specification change, the option of maintaining the listing in the category of Product Design Assessment, Limited (PDA Ltd.) is available. There are two categories for PDA Ltd:

Category 1: A Product that has expired is pending renewal and requires technical revalidation prior to being used. The term of validity will be one year from the date of expiration of the PDA.

Category 2: A Product that will be listed as in compliance with a previous rule and remains valid only for vessels contracted on or before the effective date of the rule. The effective date will be included in the service restrictions of the product. The term of validity will be five years subject to continued compliance with the applicable rule.

 

WILL MY DOCUMENTS BE HELD IN CONFIDENCE?

Yes, American Bureau of Shipping will refuse to distribute unpublished information acquired by it as a representative of its clients except where a client has given his/her consent to the release of information or where disclosure is required by judicial order, governmental order or regulation, subpoena or direction of a governmental agency with subpoena power.

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