In a type test a product is subjected to a complete sequence of tests, which are described in detail in a standard.
The standard for the IEC world is EN/IEC 60439-1. The prefix EN/IEC means that the requirements of both EN standards (issued by CENELEC) and IEC standards are harmonised and presented in a single document. Any type test can be performed by the organisation directly involved or by an independent, objective third party. Naturally only properly accredited third parties have the necessary objectivity to issue test results that can be used for official purposes.
Often a cause of confusion is the fact that type test certificates do not include aspects of the quality system of either the original manufacturer or the assembly manufacturer. Nor do they include any factory inspections or product re-examinations. For example, a panel type test certificate and a panel certification scheme are quite different things. However, when carried out correctly (following the procedures of a certification scheme), a type test does form the basis for the certification scheme.
A type test is a one-off demonstration of a product’s compliance and it is acceptable for the product to be specially prepared for the occasion.