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Fundamentals of the CE marking (Part 1)

Posted: 05 May 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CE marking? manufacturer? importer? EMC? RoHS?

By applying the CE marking and providing the associated EU Declaration of Conformity (DoC), a manufacturer or importer is confirming that a product meets the requirements of all applicable EU Directives. However, common misconceptions about CE marking mean that products often don't comply. Also, due to language issues, other manufacturers who mean well are misunderstanding the requirements of a complex set of directives, applying CE marking to products that should fail tests.

If the CE marking is the manufacturer's declaration that the product meets the requirements of the applicable EC Directives, how can they ensure they are on the right track to compliance?

Who is responsible?
It is the manufacturer or importer of a product that is responsible for the compliance through a process of self-declaration, which manifests itself as the DoC. This is a formal statement that a product complies with applicable Directives and standards. It must be signed by the responsible person within the organisation and that signatory may be subject to prosecution, or even imprisonment, if the equipment is found not to comply.

The DoC must include, amongst other things:
???Name and address of the manufacturer (or their authorised representative)
???Description of the productincluding type, model and any other information that clearly relates the equipment to the declaration
???Reference to the standards applied
???Identification of the signatory

Unlike certifications to show compliance with Directives, a test house will not assume responsibility for the product, but can help with the self-declaration process. Some Directives may require you to consult a Notified Body (Medical, Machinery etc.)

Supply chain assurances
The New Legal Framework for EU Directives redefines the responsibilities of economic operators C manufacturer, authorised representative, importer and distributor. There are also rules which relate to traceability of a product and how it should be identified, depending on whether the manufacturer is within or outside the EU.

By law, whoever is placing a product for sale in the EU market, is responsible for its compliance. Companies buying directly from abroad therefore need to be increasingly vigilant and take steps themselves to ensure compliance, rather than rely on others to take on the burden of proof.

To meet the demand for low-cost goods, companies are increasingly buying electronic products and components directly from manufacturers abroad. However, many non-EU exporters are still unaware of or unsure about compliance requirements. Therefore, an EU company's reliance on the CE marking applied by a non-EU manufacturer could mean that they are purchasing unsafe goods.

Customs officials keep watch for the CE marking on products, and those businesses importing into the EU are required to hold evidence of the test reports and certificates in the form of a technical file that proves compliance. If such information is missing, this may result in their prosecution as they have a legal responsibility for ensuring proof of compliance.

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