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Making the Grade
CE marking is an important indicator of European health                                                     By Rebecca Kanable

and safety standards, a marketing advantage and a
company’s trade passport.

           good business move isn’t nec-     can affix the CE marking to a prod-         and stairs can be self-certified, says

A          essarily easy, especially when
           the move is overseas. CE
                                             uct, it must go through a conformity
                                             assessment process. The European
                                                                                         Peter Holmgren, a former electronic
                                                                                         engineer who’s now in charge of the
marking, which is legally required to sell   Commission’s “New Approach                  GSE certifications done by SMP in
equipment in the European Union’s 27         Directives” (for sectors such as            Sweden. Without deep knowledge of
member states, Norway, Liechtenstein         machinery, electrical products and          the directives and how they should
and Iceland, fits that description. “CE”     medical devices) contain the legal          be interpreted, manufacturers have
is an acronym for the French words           requirements to which a product must        a tough job, he says. “The directives
“Conformite Europeenne” and signifies        conform. describes that to       don’t tell you how the requirements
that a product meets European health         determine if a product needs CE mark-       should be fulfilled,” he says. “For that,
and safety requirements. The challenge       ing, a manufacturer must look at each       you need the standards.”
is identifying and meeting the directives    directive that is related to the product.        Han Zuyderwijk, whose company
(laws) that apply to your product.           Some products require conformance to        (Alura Group in The Netherlands) helps
      “There is no easy way for U.S.         more than one directive. For example,       develop CE certification self-help sys-
exporters to understand and go through       the Safety of Machinery directive, the      tems, says it’s important to understand
the process of CE marking,” describes        Electromagnetic Compatibility directive,    the relationship between the directives
the U.S. Department of Commerce.             and the Low Voltage Equipment direc-        and the harmonized European stan-
      But it’s often a requirement.          tive may apply to one product.              dards (EN standards), which are not
      There is no comprehensive list               Some directives allow manufac-        obligatory. However, he says by comply-
of products that require CE marking,         turers to assess their own products         ing with the relevant EN standards,
yet it’s a manufacturer’s responsibil-       and self-certify. That’s the case with      products are presumed to comply with
ity to determine if a product requires       all three directives in the preceding       the applicable directives. “Because the
the marking. Before a manufacturer           example. GSE like pushback tractors         EN standards provide far more detailed

                                                                                               INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

  Fast Facts:
  • CE marking is not an option, it’s legally required to market or sell products in the EU
  • CE means a product adheres to European Directives
  • CE marking sets requirements for health and safety
  • Any product intended for sale in the European market that falls within the scope of a New Approach Directive must
    have CE marking
  • A product may not have the CE marking unless a directive specifies it is required

design specifications than the direc-         are built accord
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