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New standard aims to improve railway sustainability

IRIS certification helps to improve quality and reliability while developing rail as a more attractive and sustainable mode of transportation.

Quality management certification for railways operators is changing as from 1 April 2024 following new versions of the ISO 22163 railway application quality management system standard and the related IRIS certification process.

IRIS (International Railway Industry Standard) Certification was established by UNIFE (European Rail Supply Industry Association) in 2006 to improve product quality in the rail sector and to provide opportunities for further improvement. Several enhancements have occurred since the first launch.

The IRIS Certification Revision 04 covers the ISO 22163 standard, the IRIS Certification Performance Assessment issued by UNIFE last year, and the IRIS Certification Technology. The main aim of this evolution is to simplify the process of certification and make IRIS certification more efficient, streamlined and accessible.

The new version of ISO 22163 was released in July 2023. This standard previously known as ISO/TS 22163:2017 is now a full-fledged international standard. It provides for a railway quality management system that incorporates the ISO 9001 standards as well as railway-specific requirements.

“As an approved certifying body, DNV is well placed to help companies improve quality and safety in rail.  From equipment manufacturers, system integrators and operators, taking a systematic approach to manage risks and continually improve is critical to build trust in and advance rail as a sustainable means of transportation,” says Navanath Pendurkar, Area Manager for the India Subcontinent in Business Assurance.

One of the most significant changes is the addition of new business categories that were previously ineligible for IRIS certification, such as maintenance, distributors, turnkey, testing and tools, as well as a simplified version of IRIS Certification for small and medium enterprises. Combined, this improves accessibility and relevance of certification which should contribute to quality and safety across the value chain.