3.2 certificates are in essence, material testing certificates, and they are an essential requirement for any industry that deals with metals, especially in critical applications such as offshore and subsea environments.
EN 10204 is the standard that outlines the requirements for material testing certificates for steel and aluminium plate, tube, round bar, pipe and other section types. In this article, we will discuss the difference between 3.1 and 3.2 material testing certificates and how they are used in the offshore and subsea industry.
EN 10204 defines four types of material testing certificates: 2.1, 2.2, 3.1, and 3.2. The difference between them lies in the level of inspection, testing, and documentation that is performed and provided by the supplier. 2.1 and 2.2 certificates are based on the supplier's own inspection and are therefore not commonly used in critical applications. We will focus on the 3.1 and 3.2 certificates in this post.
It is the most common type of certificate used in the industry, and it provides assurance that the material supplied meets the specified BS, ISO or equivalent requirements. A 3.1 certificate is issued by the manufacturer or their authorized representative, and it includes the results of the tests conducted on the material, such as chemical composition, mechanical properties, and non-destructive testing such as Charpy.
A 3.2 material testing certificate provides additional assurance that the material supplied meets the specified requirements by including testing and inspection performed by an independent third-party inspection agency.
Some mills which produce the raw materials may have had their manufacturing and quality processess independently reviewed by a third party authority such as Lloyds Register, DNV, ABS, Bureau Veritas or similar. This can in some instances allow the material to leave the mill with a 3.2 certificate.
In the offshore and subsea industry, it is common practice to require 3.1 certificates as a minimum requirement for all materials. This is because the industry operates in a highly regulated environment, and any failure or non-compliance can have severe consequences, including loss of life and damage to the environment. However, there may be occasions when a client requires a higher level of assurance, such as for critical applications or where the material's performance is essential to the project's success. In these cases, the supplier may be required to provide a 3.2 material testing certificate.
In summary, material testing certificates are an essential requirement for any industry that deals with metals, especially in critical applications such as offshore and subsea environments. EN 10204 defines four types of material testing certificates, with 3.1 and 3.2 being the most commonly used in the industry. In the offshore and subsea industry, 3.1 certificates are required as a minimum, but 3.2 certificates may be required for critical applications or where the material's performance is essential to the project's success. It is the responsibility of the supplier to ensure that the correct certificate is provided for each order, and they should be prepared to provide a 3.2 certificate when required by the client.
In order to obtain a true 3.2 material testing certificate, the material must be inspected and tested by an independent third-party inspection agency, known as a Notified Body. This inspection must take place at the mill during the material manufacturing.
In reality, this does not happen very frequently. Therefore, the notified body will approve the mills manufacturing and quality processes allowing the mill to be come 'DNV Approved' for example.
When only a 3.1 material certificate is available, but 3.2 testing is required, the material must be re-inspected and tested by an independent third-party inspection agency, known as a Notified Body. These inspection agencies are typically well-known organizations such as Lloyds Register, DNV, or ABS.
The Notified Body will witness re-testing of sample pieces cut from the original material stock, including tensile, hardness, and impact testing, as well as chemical analysis.
These tests are usually performed by a UKAS approved testing house with the notified body in attendance to witness the test results.
Once testing is completed, the UKAS testing house will produce a certificate confirming that the test results match the original 3.1 material certificate. This test report will then get stamped by the notified body to confirm their approval and attendance.
3.2 testing will not produce a new material certificate with 3.2 material certificate quoted. It will however provide independent verification that the material specification and testing results on the 3.1 material certificate are valid and true.