Railway Industry: IRIS (International Railway Industry Standard) – ISO/TS 22163

Motivation and benefits

IRIS (International Railway Industry Standard) is a rail related business management system that has existed since 2006 and is applied worldwide. It focuses on the overall value added chain (design and development, sales, purchasing, production and service), incl. the underlying project management.

In May 2017, this Standard, which had specially been developed for the rail industry by UNIFE (Association of European Railway Industries) and supplements the ISO 9001 requirements by adding rail specific requirements, became ISO/TS 22163. Together with the IRIS® Certification Conformity assessment, this ISO/TS 22163 forms the basis for certification acc. to IRIS Rev. 3. The explicit goal of this Standard is the following: A well-founded management system that also helps to achieve adequate product and service quality, which meets the requirements of the products of the rail industry that have a service life of up to 40 years.

Basically ISO/TS 22163 includes ISO 9001, which has been supplemented and extended by adding many aspects, such as project management, initial sampling (FAI - First Article Inspection), RAMS (Reliability, Accessibility, Maintainability and Safety) or life cycle costs. Among other things, a special focus is put on incorporating the entire supply chain.

Significance for the railway industry

More and more rail operators have realized and are realizing the benefits they can draw from an IRIS certification. Therefore, an IRIS certification is increasingly becoming a basic requirement for being recognized as a supplier in the field of the construction of rail-bound vehicles and their components.

Companies certified acc. to IRIS are also listed in the UNIFE Database ( This database has a clear allocation to industry scopes and thus can serve as an important and helpful information platform to purchasers looking for potential suppliers.


The benefits that can be drawn from an IRIS certification can be seen in different manners and are available to all stakeholders:

Rail operators and system integrators:

A clear focus on project management and a look at the overall value added chain as well as on the topics of reliability, availability, safety, obsolescence management and the life cycle costs are to help to minimize costs just as much as problems with product quality. Confidence in the carrying capacity and sustainability of the contractual relationships, - which are usually on a long-term basis increases.

Component suppliers:

The IRIS certification is based on a level of maturity, and organizations will be given a differentiated feedback relating to the three central issues (overall maturity, customer focus, performance of the critical processes). This is why an IRIS certification is a veritable tool enabling systematic development of the management system and thus of the company as a whole.

Furthermore, renowned system integrators have promised not to conduct any customer-supplier system audits in case companies are certified acc. to IRIS. It is true that first article and acceptance inspections continue to be made. In this respect, however, a focus will be put on the product and its production process. This can also set an impulse for the further development of the company.

Upon successful completion of the IRIS certification, the companies can also apply for an ISO 9001 Certificate. Except for the fees for the Certificate, no additional audit expenditure incur.


An IRIS Rev. 3 Certification Audit is based on three pillars:

  • ISO/TS 22163;
  • IRIS Certification Rules;
  • IRIS Audit Tool

Thanks to this and thanks to the high quality requirements placed on the auditors, transparency as well as benefits that can be drawn by the customers will be as high as possible.

Just as in ISO 9001, the audit will consist of questions that can be answered by classifying the result as being “implemented” or “not implemented”. These questions will be supplemented by asking questions that can be answered by means of 5-grade levels of maturity (“insufficient” to “optimized”). As a result, the companies will get feedback about their maturity in % degree of implementation.

Certifications can take place in companies dealing with:

  • design and development; and/or
  • production; and/or
  • maintenance and service

All the registered IRIS Auditors are subject to a rigid selection procedure and are rail experts that have experience in business systems as well as rail specific knowledge. The auditors are obliged to undergo periodic knowledge checks and further trainings.


After the accreditation process has been run through successfully, Quality Austria has been the only Austrian Certification Body to be accredited for IRIS (International Railway Industry Standard) by UNIFE (Association of European Railway Industries) since December 2014.

Other relevant standards

ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, SCC, ISO 31000, ISO 50001

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