Kiwa provides services in the field of testing, inspection, certification, training and consultancy. As a Partner for progress, they support their clients creating trust in their products, services, processes, (management) systems and employees. Kiwa does so in a wide variety of markets segments, ranging from construction and energy supply to drinking water, healthcare, food, feed & farming. Kiwa employs over 10,000 people in over 35 countries, in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Oceania. Since 2021 we are a member of SHV Family of Companies.

The company was founded in 1948 by the Dutch drinking water companies, who wanted to safeguard the country’s drinking water supply by examining materials and components intended for use in drinking water installations and infrastructures. Back then KIWA (in capitals) was an acronym for Keuringsinstituut voor WaterleidingArtikelen (Institution for the Examination of Waterworks Articles). Nowadays, Kiwa has dropped the acronym as the company today comprises much more than just drinking water expertise. 

The roots of entities around the globe that form present-day Kiwa lie in the safeguarding of people’s health and safety by providing high quality verification services. In many cases, this role originated from a governmental mandate in sectors including gas, energy, drinking water and construction or product safety.

Interview with Jan Pieter Bijkerk, Country Manager at Kiwa Netherlands.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Jan Pieter Bijkerk: We provide Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) services for clients in manufacturing and process industries, (business) services, public and private utilities, governments and international institutions. Our areas of expertise include management systems, corporate social responsibility and lab testing.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

J.P.B: Over the last couple of years we have developed cyber security services for our customers. Appliances and devices, domestic as well as industrial, are increasingly connected to the internet.  This does make us more vulnerable to hackers and other cyber criminals, and privacy-sensitive information can end up in the wrong hands, endangering business continuity with financial hardships and loss of image and goodwill as a consequence. At Kiwa we test the cyber security of industrial and consumer devices with a chain approach, assessing and certifying every aspect of the security chain. To this end we offer both TIC-services and ethical hacking services.

We are also heavily involved in the renewable energy transition. For example, we have a unique position in the field of hydrogen, both when it comes to the application of hydrogen in the built environment and in the automotive industry. Kiwa has high-quality technological consultancy in-house to provide clients with advice on the application of hydrogen. We support customers evaluating their developments on the use of hydrogen in automotive application. For instance, we developed unique expertise on boil-off management systems (BMS) for the use of hydrogen in vehicles. A BMS is a safety part which prevents a vehicle to explode in case of an emergency and when temperatures will rise above certain values.

We are also increasingly digitizing many of our services. For example, we have developed an e-licensing system that replaces the current paper or plastic permits or certificates on personal competences. This platform simplifies the process of renewal of these permits, enabling professionals to easily demonstrate their qualifications using their own smartphone and providing employers and clients with more insight into the competences of their employees. New technologies have also changed the way we perform inspections. For example, instead of inspecting roofs and facades by climbing a building, we now perform remote audits using drones and augmented reality.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

We provide TIC, training, data and (strictly separated) consultancy services for a wide variety of markets.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Most of the markets we serve are in a mature state. Cyber security is of course one of the markets where a lot of developments are going on. Furthermore, Kiwa’s markets are always in motion, due to new legislation and quality standards and the fact that we closely support our customers when they have developed new products or new features to existing products, like the mentioned IoT.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

J.P.B: A significant trend is the ever-growing internet of things. An increasing number of devices we live and work with is nowadays connected to the internet. This provides us with more efficiency and fun, but also poses serious privacy threats. Another trend is the digitization of inspections methods. Besides the use of digitized and connected equipment, there is also a trend towards data driven inspection methods: performing inspections based on data collected by sensors. The effect is that less inspections are needed to guarantee safety of industrial installations.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

J.P.B: Our involvement in the application of hydrogen in the automotive industry has already resulted in several exciting innovations. Like the aforementioned Boil-off Management System for hydrogen powered vehicles. This is a unique safety system which uses a state-of-the-art catalytic burner. The BMS early signals the development of boil-off and then safely blows off the excess hydrogen, after which it is discharged as water through the exhaust. We also support manufacturers by developing extended test programs on high pressure tanks and components for hydrogen vehicles. One of the biggest challenges facing hydrogen car manufacturers is the storage of hydrogen gas. This has to be done under high pressure to keep the size of the hydrogen tanks within limits. Those tanks and their components have to meet strict requirements and are therefore extensively tested under the most extreme conditions. For this, manufacturers can turn to Kiwa’s hydrogen lab in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, one of the few in Europe and even far beyond.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

J.P.B: We expect 2022 will be the year in which data analytics and data driven business models will develop the TIC market. This will change the way we cooperate and interact with customers. Kiwa will grow further and will add new market areas, due to acquisitions. With a focus on vital infrastructures in general and sustainability, the renewable energy transition and cyber security as main business topics, we will support our customers improving the world.