Certification 101 with Service Sphere

When most people look to purchase a new coffee machine, they think about the pressure, the boiler capacity, output volume, design, and price, but what about safety? Selecting a machine with the right certification is critical if you want to keep your staff safe and products in peak condition.  

Here’s a look at some of the certification programs you need to be familiar with:

NSF certification

NSF International is dedicated to protecting and improving public health and safety-based risk management solutions.

The NSF mark is a telltale sign to consumers and retailers that a machine, such as a La Cimbali espresso machine, has been rigorously tested by a third party to comply with all standard health requirements and criteria. The independent certification organisation tests and certifies products and systems that protect food, water, consumer products, and the environment.

Having the NSF mark is a great point of difference. It tells you a commitment has been made to uphold quality and public safety. The NSF operates headquarters in 170 countries and has been operating since 1944.

Regulatory Compliance Mark Certification 

The Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) indicates that a supplier has taken the necessary steps to have a product comply with electrical safety standards, and/or electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) legislative requirements. EMC is mandatory in all states, but only in some states in Australia is the RCM mark mandatory for electrical compliance. The RCM replaces the A-Tick and C-Tick compliance marks used under previous regulatory arrangements.

If a customer is downgrading an element in a machine to fit with venue requirements, such as changing from a 32-amp to a 25-amp, equipment still needs to be resubmitted for RCM approval.

Service Sphere is an importer of machines that have RCM certification. However, our service department and technicians see a lot of machines that come in without RCM certification. Some people think they might be getting a good cheap deal on a secondhand product, but look closely to see if the machine has the RCM symbol. If it doesn’t, and something went wrong with the machine or an incident such as a fire occurred as a result of an electrical machine fault, the machine owner may not be liable for compensation from an insurer or its warranty void.

Test and Tag Certified 

A serious hazard at any workplace is the use of electrical devices. Not only can a faulty electrical circuit start a fire, but when exposed to wet or dusty environments, it could result in an electrical shock or other life-threatening injuries when not addressed properly.

Safety of your staff or customers can’t be compromised. It’s part of your duty of care as an employer to provide a safe working environment, and to your visitors under the Occupational Safety & Health Act 1984. That’s why every piece of portable electrical equipment in the Service Sphere workshop must be tested and tagged to Australian Standards 3760 and 3012. Technicians will undertake a visual and electrical test of electrical devices for potential exposure to moisture, corrosion, mechanical damage such as an exposed wire, plug or cord, or heat, flexibility of the supply cord, and socket, leakages, or polarity. When a machine passes a test and tag, it means there is no damage to the electrical circuit of a device.

A test and tag is particularly important when downgrading a device or making any modifications to an original machine, such as installing shot timers or changing an element. Coffee machines must comply with 230 volts to 240 volts (the amount of electricity the machine draws). If you go above or below a machine’s maximum average voltage, you void the certification.

Our technicians regularly do installations. If we have to reattach a plug or fit a cord into a hole, for instance, our technicians can do that on site. However, if a technician takes a plug apart, then it doesn’t comply with test and tag.

If a customer converts a machine from three-phase power supply to single phase, for instance, or downgrades the wattage from a 20-amp to 15-amp machine, they will need to undergo a test and tag again to ensure its specific current protection rating is within the machine’s safety specifications”.

Machine refurbishment is often an overlooked area in terms of safety. A machine could look pretty on the outside, but it’s what’s happening on the inside that’s important.

Espresso Italiano Certification 

If you have an Italian espresso machine or are looking to import one from Italy, this certification is for you.

The Italian Espresso National Institute established this certification to safeguard and protect the original espresso through a product. Each member company that complies with the certification requirement has the right to use the Espresso Italiano Certificato (Certified Italian Espresso) mark.

It’s a prestigious certification that that ensures the highest quality of coffee machinery. Brands such as La Cimbali, Astoria, Brita, Faema, Mazzer, Eureka, Rancilio, Compak, and Wega comply with the Espresso Italiano Certification. However, it’s not compulsory, and only applies to products manufactured in Italy.

A coffee machine bearing this certification mark guarantees consumers who drink espresso from the machine that it has endured a strict technical specification from the IIAC, requiring the use of a certified coffee blend, certified equipment (machine and grinder-dispenser), and licensed personnel. The experts of the Italian Espresso National Institute and the auditors of the certifying body supervise these conditions.

Certification can be expensive up front, but it’s a case of short-term pain for long-term gain. Some certifications just can’t be compromised, and if safety is what you value, then the next time you’re looking to purchase a new machine or undertake a refurbishment of a machine, ensure it meets the necessary criteria and certification processes to ensure it’s not only a machine that looks great, but operates effectively, and safely.

Service Sphere Training Academy Certification

Service Sphere launched its training academy in 2014. This Academy is about keeping the craft behind machine servicing at the forefront of our industry. It offers technical training courses for individuals looking at becoming an espresso machine technician, or wanting to gain a greater level of knowledge for the functionality of coffee machines.

It’s about understanding how different machines function, learning how to diagnose faults, and how to address them correctly and improving knowledge so more people understand the work we technicians do and why.

At completion of training, attendees sit an exam and receive a certificate – a piece of paper to recognise that any maintenance work on your machine is in safe hands. In a world where coffee machines are a café’s bread and butter, that’s important to know.

This article was written by Maurizio Marcocci, Director of Service Sphere.

For more information, visit www.servicesphere.com.au

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