The Declaration of Conformity (DOC) that ODVA issues to ODVA CONFORMANT™ products benefits customers and helps to create an equal opportunity for all of its Licensed Vendors. Vendors need to plan for this important step from the beginning of the product development project and to understand how to get the most from the process.
All Licensed Vendors have agreed to obtain and maintain DOCs for their products made and sold using ODVA technologies, such as EtherNet/IP and other CIP Networks such as DeviceNet, ControlNet, and CompoNet. By subjecting all products to this requirement, industry has vendor-independent assurance that products using ODVA technologies comply with ODVA’s specifications and can interoperate in systems with products from multiple vendors. The result benefits users by providing them with more freedom to choose vendors and products that are the best fit for the application requirements.
ODVA issues DOCs based on two criteria:
- The Licensed Vendor who intends to make and sell the product is fulfilling its user responsibilities as defined in ODVA’s Terms of Usage Agreement
- The product complies with the ODVA specification implemented in the product and with the usage of ODVA’s trademarks in conjunction with the product
Once the DOC has been issued for the product, the vendor earns the valuable rights to make and sell the product, use certain of ODVA’s technology brands in conjunction with the labeling and promotion of the product, and mark the product as ODVA CONFORMANT™ using ODVA’s certification mark.
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.
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
Submitting your initial order for Test Services for a particular product is what initiates the process of obtaining a DOC. Once your service order is received and accepted by ODVA, a file number and an ODVA engineer from its CA (CA Engineer) will be assigned to your test case. This CA Engineer will follow your case until the file is closed for a given service order.
The CA Engineer will contact the primary technical contact listed on the service order to request additional documentation that will be needed from the vendor in order to conduct the test. To make a determination of product compliance, all vendors are required to submit a representative sample of the product, along with certain additional documentation, to one of ODVA’s authorized TSPs for conformance testing. 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. Please note that the vendor is required to provide all hardware and software needed to power and configure the sample for testing and that the Vendor will not be allowed to install any software on the TSP’s computer.
Once the test is scheduled and the product arrives at the TSP, the conformance test will be conducted by a TSP Test Engineer (TSP Engineer). The TSP Engineer will evaluate the product using the relevant ODVA composite conformance testware, generate the test report for the product, 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.
Because the tasks involved in obtaining a DOC come toward the end of the development project, be sure to build this time into the development schedule. Lead time for testing services can be up to eight weeks. 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.
Much of the software used by TSPs in conformance testing is available from ODVA by subscription. In advance of testing, your CA Engineer will request a test report you have generated using the ODVA’s conformance test software. Before you submit your order for testing services, test your product with this software and fix any errors in advance as much as possible.
TSP engineers successfully work remotely with development engineers to address questions and correct problems that occur during the testing process. While it was common for developers to attend conformance tests prior to the Covid19 pandemic, the vendor-attended option is generally suspended for the duration of the Pandemic.
After the DOC is Issued
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 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.