The Declaration of Conformity (DOC) that ODVA issues for ODVA CONFORMANT™ products benefits customers and helps to level the playing field for all of its Licensed Vendors. You need to prepare and plan for this important step in your product development from the beginning of your product development project and to understand how to get the most from the process. Keep reading to the bottom of this page because you will find a lot of essential know-how on Determining Product Compliance, Benefits of the Process, The Conformance Test Experience, and Maintaining a DOC.
All Licensed Vendors (Vendors) have agreed to obtain, and maintain, DOCs for their products made and sold using ODVA technologies, provided that ODVA has a means to assess compliance of the product(s) with ODVA specifications and other guidelines. By subjecting all product(s) to this requirement, industry has Vendor-independent assurance that products made and sold using ODVA technologies comply with ODVA’s specifications and can interoperate in systems with products from multiple Vendors. The result levels the playing field for Vendors and benefits customers by providing them with more freedom to choose Vendors and products that are the best fit for the application requirements. From the time a Vendor has a DOC issued for its first product using ODVA technologies, the Vendor becomes part of the large community of ODVA Vendors who are shaping THE FUTURE OF INDUSTRIAL AUTOMATION.
ODVA issues DOCs based on two criteria:
- The Licensed Vendor (Vendor) who intends to make and sell the product is fulfilling its user responsibilities as defined in ODVA’s Terms of Usage Agreement with the Vendor; and
- The Product(s) using ODVA technologies, to be made and sold by the Vendor, comply(ies) with the ODVA specification(s) implemented in the product and with the usage of ODVA’s trademarks in conjunction with the product(s).
Once the DOC has been issued for the product(s), the Vendor earns the valuable rights to: (1) make and sell the product(s); (2) use certain of ODVA’s technology brand(s) in conjunction with the labeling and promotion of the product(s); and (3) mark the product(s) as ODVA CONFORMANT™ using ODVA’s certification mark.
Determining Product Compliance
ODVA determines product compliance based on an analysis of the product(s) correct implementation of ODVA technology(ies) and use of ODVA’s trademarks. A passing result on the pertinent ODVA conformance test(s) that has been performed by an ODVA-authorized Test Service Provider (TSP) is the biggest factor in the determination. ODVA issues Declarations of Conformity for products that are made and sold by one of ODVA's Licensed Vendors and have been determined to comply with one or more of the following ODVA specifications:
- The EtherNet/IP™ Specification
- The DeviceNet™ Specification
- The ControlNet™ Specification
- The CompoNet™ Specification
- The CIP Safety™Specification [as adapted to EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet or Sercos III™ (Sercos III is a trademark of Sercos International, e.V.)]
Products are also required to comply with correct usage of ODVA’s trademarks as allowed in ODVA's Brand Standards+Identity Guidelines.
The process for determination of compliance is governed by ODVA's Policy Regarding Compliant Products and specific use cases as found in product implementations as defined in ODVA publication Technology Management for the Policy Regarding Compliant Products.
Benefits of the Process
Throughout the process, you and your company will benefit from this engagement with ODVA as one of the world’s leading standards development and technology management organizations for information and communication technologies used in industrial automation.
- Efficiency. Because ODVA TSPs evaluate a diverse range of products in a homologated test environment from many different Vendors with range of approaches to product implementation, TSP test engineers are able provide Vendors with reliable and timely feedback of the test results allowing the developer to correct any problems sooner than he/she would be able do working alone or, if no problems are found, release the product(s) more quickly.
- Know-How. ODVA conformance testware and procedures have been developed by ODVA’s technical staff based on its own experience determining compliance for thousands of products and the experience and expertise of its members who develop and oversee the specifications to which ODVA determines compliance. Members and staff together constitute a critical mass of know-how in ODVA technologies, standards and compliance that cannot be duplicated.
- Objectivity. ODVA and its TSPs operate independently from any member or vendor providing you with added assurance that ODVA’s determination of compliance is made without bias and administered equally regardless of the Vendor submitting the product(s) for evaluation.
- Confidentiality. For your, the engagement is kept confidential between ODVA’s professional staff, the Vendor and the TSP where the test services will be performed unless the Vendor authorizes ODVA to involve another party. Information regarding your product(s) becomes public only when the DOC is issued by ODVA and is posted to ODVA’s website, where all DOCs are posted in accordance with ODVA’s Policy Regarding Compliant Products.
- Better Products at Release. Many products don’t achieve compliance on the first attempt. Not only is the compliance process efficient, it also results in better products with less potential to cause problems for the customer.
When you are ready to submit your product for conformance testing at an ODVA TSP, you are ready to initiate the process to obtain a DOC for your product.
The Conformance Test Experience
To make a determination of product compliance, all Vendors are required to submit a representative sample of the product(s), along with certain additional documentation, to one of ODVA’s authorized TSPs for conformance testing and submitting your initial order for Test Services for a particular product is what initiates the process of obtaining a DOC. This overall process, including conformance testing, is overseen by ODVA’s Conformance Authority. Two essential conditions for receipt of a DOC are successful completion of the conformance test at an ODVA-authorized TSP and a passing result on the test as finally determined by ODVA’s Conformance Authority (CA).
The Test Service Order Form allows you to select the following:
- Primary network: EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, ControlNet, CompoNet and Sercos III
- Secondary network if any: DeviceNet, ControlNet, CompoNet
Product type: modular, non-modular
Service options depending on primary and secondary network including, but not limited to, Distinctive CIP Services including CIP Safety, CIP Energy, CIP Sync and CIP Motion
Based on the combination of service selections, you will be presented with the list of TSPs where the conformance test can be performed. Based on local conditions in terms of typical products, Vendors and volume, not all tests are offered at all TSPs. Under ODVA’s Policy Regarding Compliant Products, the Vendor may submit a service request for a Single Product or, in the case of group of two or more products share a common implementation of ODVA technology(ies), a Product Family.
Once your service order is received and accepted by ODVA, a file number will be assigned to your case along an ODVA engineer from its CA (CA Engineer). This CA Engineer will follow your case until the file is closed for a given service order. A file is always closed when the DOC is posted to ODVA’s website and may be closed if the Vendor or ODVA decides to terminate the process in the event that one or the other or both determine that the product(s) cannot achieve a passing result on the conformance test.
To initiate fulfillment of your order, the CA Engineer will contact the primary technical contact who has been identified on the order to request and review additional documentation that will be needed from the Vendor in order to conduct the test and complete the process of evaluating the product(s) for compliance. Also, in the case of an order for a Product Family, the CA Engineer will also make a final determination of the number in the family that must be submitted for testing. Once the test is scheduled and the product(s) arrive at the TSP, the conformance test will be conducted by a TSP Test Engineer (TSP Engineer). Keep in mind that, when submitting your product sample(s) to the TSP for testing, the Vendor is required to provide all hardware and software needed to power and configure the sample(s) for testing and that the Vendor will not be allowed to install any software on the TSP’s computer(s). Once the product(s) are ready for test, the TSP Engineer will evaluate the product(s) using the relevant ODVA composite conformance testware, generate the test report(s) for the product(s) and return the test report to the CA Engineer. With input from the CA Engineer, the ODVA CA reviews the test report along with other documentation provided and makes the final determination regarding compliance of the product(s) with the pertinent specification(s).
To get the most from your conformance test experience, Product Know-How has a few recommendations for developers to consider.
- Include Obtain DOC as a milestone in your project plan. Because the tasks involved in obtaining a DOC come toward the end of the development project, be sure to leave enough time for these important tasks. Depending on demand for testing at the time you submit your order and/or the combination of services needed, lead time for testing services can be up to eight weeks out. The amount of time needed for testing will also vary depending on the service selections and, in the case of an order for a Product Family, how many variants are being tested. To get an estimate of how many days to allocate for a specific test scenario, use the Quote option in the Test Order Form to define your anticipated combination of services needed and email ODVA to request an estimate of the time needed to perform the conformance test based on this selection. Include a contingency in your plan that the product may not pass the first time through the conformance test and that you may have to schedule a follow-up test at a future date.
- Pre-evaluate your product. Much of the software used by TSPs in conformance testing is available from ODVA by subscription. Before you submit your representative sample(s) to the TSP, one of the pieces of documentation that your CA Engineer will request of you is a test report you have generating using the pertinent software and the CA Engineer will be expected errors to be at a minimum. Thus before you submit your order for testing services, put your product through the paces with the pertinent test software and fix as much as possible.
- Record and Use the File Number Assigned by ODVA. ODVA references and archives everything pertaining to your conformance test and the associated DOC under the file number that is assigned to the initial service order for the product(s). You should record this number as part of the product(s) specification record in your company. For the life of the product, include this file number whenever corresponding with ODVA about related orders for test services and/or the DOC that may be issued for the product(s).
- Attend Initial Test. Attendance by a development engineer from the Vendor is generally optional, although the complexity of certain service requests may result in a CA Engineer requiring the attendance of a development engineer at a conformance test. However, to CIPcelerate know-how in the ODVA community of Vendors, ODVA recommends that a first-time developer attend the conformance test for his/her first product. His/her attendance will help to demystify the process and, sometimes, it is possible to correct problems that occur during the test. ODVA welcomes the attendance of experienced developers at tests of their products but it is often not required; the developer with the CA engineer can mutually decide whether attendance is warranted.
For an example of the conformance testing experience for an EtherNet/IP product, read Spotlight on Interoperability and Compliance.
Maintaining a DOC
Although a DOC has no explicit expiration date, there are maintenance scenarios that invoke the need for the Vendor to request that ODVA Amend and Restate a previously issued DOC. In certain cases, as allowed in Appendix A of The Policy Regarding Compliant Products, the ODVA Conformance Authority may allow a Licensed Vendor to submit an order to Amend and Restate a DOC based on review by CA of certain Vendor-supplied documentation rather than an order for test service. If the maintenance scenario does not allow the Vendor to submit only review materials, then the Vendor must initiate a new order for test services. In both cases, you will need the file number that is recorded on the current DOC.
Contacting the Conformance Authority
Have a question about an open file at ODVA for a device undergoing conformance testing? A device under review for amendment and restatement of its Declaration of Conformity? Contact directly the ODVA Conformance Authority (CA) engineer who has been assigned to your file.
For all other inquiries, please contact ODVA's Conformance Authority using the Conformance Inquiry Form for Licensed Vendors.