What is the purpose of the CE mark and what does it mean?The sole purpose of the CE Mark is that national administrations are lead to the "presumption that the essential requirements of the relevant Directives have been met". It should be noted that it is not to be considered as a marketing tool or an indication as to if this product was produced in the EU. The CE mark informs national administrations that the product can be placed in the European market without any initial challenge by them.
The sole way to police the compliance of CE marked products is complaint driven and can lead to investigation by national enforcement authorities. In case such investigation concludes that one or more of the requirements is/are not met, this could result in banning the product from the European market, and possibly in fining and/or imprisonment of the responsible person.
Are all products subject to CE marking?No. In fact, there are numerous products that are prohibited from CE marking them. The decision on whether the CE mark is applicable depends primarily on the product category and then, in many instances, on certain critical technical specifications of the product in question.
How do I find out if my product is subject to CE marking?First of all, CE marking is obligatory for products that are placed on the European market (EU and EFTA countries, except Switzerland). Then, you would have to check if your product falls within the scope of any of the EU Directives requiring CE compliance. A product may fall within the scope of more than one EU Directives. Finding which EU Directives are applicable can, in some instances, be a time-consuming task especially if one is not familiar with all relevant legislation. In any case, you can always get in touch with us and our CE certification engineers will provide you this service without any charge or commitment from your side.
Who is responsible for affixing the CE mark?Generally, the manufacturer of a product, prior to placing it in the European market, is responsible to investigate whether the product is subject to CE marking and what steps need to be followed towards CE marking it. In case that a product is imported in Europe, this responsibility could be undertaken by the manufacturer’s Authorized Representative in the EU.
Depending on the applicable EC Directive(s), some products can be CE marked by the manufacturer (or the Authorized Representative) alone (Self Certification), whereas other products require the involvement of a Notified Body (NoBo). It shall be noted that in all cases, the product must comply with all relevant EC Directives, including all essential safety requirements, and a Technical Construction File (TCF) is to be compiled with all the necessary information.
What is the cost to get my product CE marked?Primarily, we would like to inform you that we have in place a “no hidden charges” policy. That is to say that upon submission of your enquiry, our CE certification engineers will shortly inform you about the route towards CE marking your product and all associated cost. Having said that, the cost depends on the product itself, the certification scheme and the associated complexity. Aspects that could increase complexity or cost include the number of applicable EU Directives and Standards and any tests that may be required.
When assembling CE compliant parts together, does CE+CE=CE?The manufacturers of parts intended for incorporation into assemblies often “just” apply the standards making it easier for them and, in many instances, less costly to affix the CE mark to their products. In this respect, assembling two or more CE compliant products together does not necessarily mean that the final assembly will always be CE compliant. This is the case since the manufacturers of parts intended for incorporation may have not taken into consideration the rather more demanding requirements that their customers (assemblies’ manufacturers) face when attempting to build a CE compliant assembly.
This is an aspect that has to be considered in most types of assemblies, but a clear example of this situation can be illustrated by the EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) Directive: a fully-EMC-compliant motor drive will often have emissions just under the limits, as these are stated in the appropriate test standard. When two or more such drives are fitted in one cabinet, their combined emissions add up and the resulting emissions often exceed the limits of the applicable standard that dictates the compliance of the end product (assembly). This situation creates a lot of confusion to manufacturers and can lead to considerable waste of time and resources, thus requiring careful and knowledgeable planning for most type of products.
Why CE+CE=CE approach is considered ‘dangerous’?Liability for non-compliance cannot easily be passed on to the supplier of a non-compliant item. Even where this may be possible, contingent losses (e.g. product recall costs, harm to brand’s image, etc.) may well prove impossible to recover from suppliers or their insurers. Where a final assembly is found to be non-compliant due to non-compliance of an incorporated item, enforcement agencies are likely to take action against both the final manufacturer and the supplier of the item.