TÜV SÜD is helping this manufacturer of swimming pool heat pumps obtain timely, nationally-recognized product safety certification for their products sold in the U.S. and Canada markets.
For more than 25 years, privately-held Aqua Comfort Technologies has been a leader in developing innovative, energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly heat pump technology for residential and commercial swimming pools. Aqua Comfort heat pumps are engineered and manufactured exclusively at the company’s Wallingford, CT facility, and installed by company authorized dealers and distributors throughout the U.S. and Canada. More than 100,000 Aqua Comfort heat pumps are currently in operation, enhancing the recreational experience of pool owners while saving them money.
Aqua Comfort’s line of residential and commercial heat pumps had previously been certified in both the U.S. and Canada for compliance with applicable product safety requirements. However, in 2013, the company’s original testing laboratory lost its accreditation as a U.S. Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). At the same time, Aqua Comfort was implementing a number of technical changes to certain models of its XL series of heat pumps, triggering the need to retest and recertify those products.
Aqua Comfort’s first choice for a new testing laboratory proved problematic from the start. The company was familiar with the rigors and challenges of the product testing and certification process, since its products had been tested and certified in the past. However, Aqua Comfort was not prepared for the laboratory’s apparent indifference to the need to complete the testing and certification process in a timely and efficient manner. Responses by laboratory personnel to email and phone inquiries by the company could take weeks, and were often followed by requests that seemed irrelevant to the company’s heat pump products or the required certification process. After more than three months, Aqua Comfort’s new heat pump models had still not been certified.
TÜV SÜD’s solutions
With Aqua Comfort’s most recent testing laboratory experiences fresh in his mind, William Villante, Aqua Comfort’s vice-president of manufacturing, visited the TÜV SÜD booth at an industry trade show in early 2014. Villante discussed his testing and certification challenges with TÜV SÜD technical experts on hand, and emphasized the need for an approach that would work within Aqua Comfort’s limited schedule. He was impressed not only by their knowledge of his specific technical issues but with their clear understanding of how to handle the testing and certification process in a prompt and timely manner.
Subsequently, Aqua Comfort contracted with TÜV SÜD for safety testing and certification of one of its electric powered heat pump models in accordance with relevant U.S. and Canadian standards. Testing began in mid-March, 2014, and completed in early April, with TÜV SÜD’s NRTL certification awarded shortly thereafter. From start to finish, the entire testing and certification process took just three weeks to complete, allowing Aqua Comfort to introduce its newly certified heat pump to the U.S. and Canadian markets on schedule.
Currently, Aqua Comfort is working with TÜV SÜD on testing and certification of additional electric heat pump models in the XL series, and well as the testing of next generation heat pump technologies. The scope of testing will soon be expanded to address performance standards related to heat pump technologies, making TÜV SÜD a single source for Aqua Comfort’s testing and certification requirements.
According to Aqua Comfort’s Villante, TÜV SÜD has provided his company with the best of what a partnership with a testing and certification laboratory can offer. "In our business, we always work to provide our customers with the highest possible levels of service and satisfaction," said Villante. "Our work to date with TÜV SÜD has convinced me that they share a similar commitment to their clients and customers. Over the past year, they have worked hard to understand our goals and objectives, and have tailored their efforts to match our requirements."
Responsiveness has been another key to the successful partnership between Aqua Comfort and TÜV SÜD. "Time is one of our most precious assets, and delays in getting responses from our former testing laboratory were not only costly but frustrating," according to Villante. "With TÜV SÜD, we can always count of getting someone on the phone promptly to discuss and resolve a specific technical issue. That’s much more efficient than protracted email exchanges that slow down the process."
"Our experience has proven to us that testing laboratories are not the same, despite similar accreditations and credentials," noted Villante. "In our experience, TÜV SÜD has exhibited the highest standards of performance while keeping its promises. We couldn’t ask for more!"
Choose certainty. Add value
As this case study illustrated, treating the customer as you would want to be treated is at the heart of any sustainable business relationship. TÜV SÜD is well-known for its technical expertise, its testing capabilities and its globally-recognized certification marks. But it’s our strong connection with our clients’ needs and requirements that makes TÜV SÜD the leader in testing and certification services, and the preferred partner for organizations worldwide.
TÜV SÜD is a premium quality, safety and sustainability solutions provider that specializes in testing, inspection, auditing, certification, training and knowledge services. Represented in over 800 locations worldwide, we hold accreditations in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia. By delivering thoughtful solutions to our customers, we add tangible value to businesses, consumers and the environment.