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TÜV Rheinland
Horizontal Return Tubular boiler monitoring from TÜV-Süd

TÜVs (German pronunciation: [ˈtʏf]) (short for Technischer Überwachungs-Verein, Technical Inspection Association in English) are German organizations that work to validate the safety of products of all kinds to protect humans and the environment against hazards. As independent consultants, they examine plants, motor vehicles, energy installations, devices and products (e.g consumer goods) which require monitoring. The many subsidiaries of the TÜVs can also act as project developers for energy and traffic concepts, as problem solvers in environmental protection, and as certification bodies. Many of the TÜV organizations also provide certification for various international standards, such as ISO9001:2008 (quality management system) and ISO/TS16949 (automotive quality management system).

The TÜVs as a group became part of the German landscape about 130 years ago, as part of the public and workplace safety initiatives of the time. In 1870 there were 43 TÜVs in total. They were geographically based, as they are today, hence the names, SÜD, NORD, Rheinland, etc. The TÜVs were originally formed to inspect steam boiler installations across the country. Interestingly, a major part of their business is still based on the inspection and certification of boiler and pressure equipment (see the Pressure Equipment Directive for more). As the years passed and technology progressed, the 43 TÜVs merged and now there are 4 TÜVs remaining in Germany (TÜV SÜD, NORD, Rheinland, and the much smaller Saarland) plus one in Austria. The largest is the SÜD group with 11,000 employees and 800 locations worldwide. The only commercial certification body in the world larger than the TÜVs combined is Société Générale de Surveillance, based in Switzerland.

No German-registered road vehicle may be operated on public roads without a certificate from the TÜVs or DEKRA, one of their competitors. However for the last two years independent inspectors have also been entitled to grant this certification. In most cases the certificate has to be renewed every two years. A pass in the mandatory roadworthiness and smog test is indicated by tamper-proof decals on the license plate. The TÜV [1] and DEKRA [2] are also responsible for administering the theoretical and practical driver's license tests. These two associations also issue driver's licenses once the application has been submitted at the city/county government level by the local Strassenverkehrsbehörde aka Führerscheinstelle (road traffic authority or driving licence post) and both tests have been passed. Most vehicle modifications also need to be approved, from installing tires of a different size to materials used in nuts and bolts. The German safety guidelines are among the strictest in the world, and getting a road permit for custom-built vehicles is said to border on the impossible.

The TÜVs as a group also constitute one of the world's largest overall product certification organizations.


TÜV Rheinland Group

TÜV Rheinland Group is a provider of technical services worldwide. Founded in 1872 and headquartered in Cologne, Germany, the Group employs more than 12,500 people in over 360 locations in 62 countries and generated annual revenues of over €1.1 billion in 2008.


Proposed merger

A merger with TÜV SÜD (based in Munich) was proposed in 2008, [3][4], but was shelved as it was believed it would have been vetoed by the German competition watchdog, the Bundeskartellamt, who considered that the merger was anti-competitive (regional monopolies in industrial inspection in Germany ended at the end of 2007) although it would also have achieved synergies in the international market. The merger may be attempted once again, after both companies have had a chance to divest some holdings.

TÜV Hessen

As a subsidiary of TÜV SÜD the TÜV Hessen is partly owned(45%) by the German federal state of Hessia. With a turnover of approximately €100 million and about 1.000 employees, it is much smaller than TÜV Rheinland Group and TÜV SÜD but as a competence center for Expediting[5] and electro-magnetic verification highly specialized.

TÜV Product Service

TUV Product Service is a division of TUV SUD based in Munich. There are many major locations for service delivery for the Product Service group and one of them is TÜV Product Service UK, based in Fareham, Hampshire, and BABT, based in Walton on Thames, Surrey are part of the Industry Division of the TÜV SÜD Group based in Munich, Germany, which employs over 13,000 people in 800 locations, and is one of the leading technical service companies in the world.

TÜV Product Service provides testing, certification, qualification, training and consultancy services to a range of industries covering the Aerospace, Defence, Medical & Health, Radio & Telecoms, Rail, Trade, Electronics & Consumer sectors.

BABT is one of the best known Telecommunications certification bodies, having been established over 25 years ago, following the privatisation of British Telecom, to assess telecom devices and monitor the accuracy of telephone bills on behalf of OFTEL (now renamed OFCOM).

The services offered in the UK include mechanical, environmental simulation, electromagnetic compatibility and safety testing, which can be performed at its two UK facilities, or in situ at clients’ premises. They hold many appointments and accreditations to assess and certify products’ compliance with regulations and thereby facilitate their access to numerous markets throughout the world. They can also issue a wide range of internationally-recognised certification marks that will demonstrate products’ and services’ quality and reliability to customers.

See also

  • ATEX
  • Sira - European and UK equivalent ATEX and IECEx notified body
  • Baseefa - British equivalent
  • IEC 61508 - Functional Safety


External links

Various TUV Websites


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