CE Marking Electrical Equipment: What You Need to Know

A Conformité Européenne (CE) marking is a regulatory standard that verifies certain products are safe for sale and use in the European Economic Area (EEA). It works as a trade passport, in a way, to indicate that the product complies with the applicable European Union (EU) regulations and directives. For example, a CE marking on electrical equipment or electronics shows that it is EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive (2011/65/EU) compliant (unless they are compliant by exemption).

CE markings are unique because, unlike other certification marks, they are not granted by a particular regulatory body (though some products may require a conformity assessment by a notified body). Manufacturers are responsible for the proper use of CE markings on products.

In most cases, the CE marking will be on the product label (as well as the packaging) and include the company name, company address, country of origin, model/serial number, and any other applicable marks. There may be exceptions if a product is too small, a marking will impair the product, or for cables. The label needs to be in the official language of the country it is being sold in, which is a common error made with imported products or those sold over the internet.

European Electrical Standards, CE Markings, & Documentation

In order to affix a CE marking to electrical and electronic equipment, companies must ensure that products are compliant with all applicable European regulations and have proper documentation.

Many products require an accompanying declaration of conformity (DoC). This must include model name, company/importer contact information and address, testing standards, and the directives tested against.

The DoC must be backed up by a technical file, which includes:

  • A bill of materials (BOM), product descriptions, and/or design notes.
  • Any testing performed.
  • Certificates from approved test laboratories (notified bodies) if required.

The technical file is required if an enforcement body requests it. European Union member states cannot restrict the market placement of products affixed with the CE marking without adequate evidence of non-compliance.

Some directives, such as the Low Voltage Directive (LVD), also require that safe use instructions be provided in an approved language for the country of sale.

What About RoHS 2 & 3 Directives?

There are 24 directives that dictate which products require CE marking. These directives carry different requirements, and several directives may apply to a single product. Applicable directives for electronic and electrical equipment include the EU RoHS Directive, LVD, Electromagnetic Compatibility, Radio Equipment, and General Product Safety.

The RoHS 2 and RoHS 3 directives are terms that are sometimes used to speak about past or future updates to the EU RoHS Directive. However, all updates fall under the EU RoHS Directive, so if a product is EU RoHS compliant and has an affixed CE marking, it is also considered compliant with the RoHS recast that is sometimes referred to as RoHS 2, and another planned recast that will be referred to as RoHS 3. A CE marking on electronics, for example, demonstrates compliance with all in-force EU RoHS requirements.

Assent allows companies to collect and manage supply chain data for global regulations. To learn more about the global regulations that apply to electronic equipment and how to manage them, download our eBook, Navigating the Compliance Landscape: Electronics. To learn more about how Assent can support your regulatory program, book a live demo with our experts.

Dr. Raj Takhar
Regulatory & Sustainability Expert, Product Sustainability

Raj helps companies meet their product compliance challenges in an ever-changing regulatory landscape. He specializes in product compliance, chemical reporting, and program implementation in Europe.

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