There is no comprehensive list of products that require CE marking, yet it's a manufacturer's responsibility to determine if a product requires the marking. Before a manufacturer can affix the CE marking to a product, it must go through a conformity assessment process. The European Commission's "New Approach Directives" (for sectors such as machinery, electrical products and medical devices) contain the legal requirements to which a product must conform.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS 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. Export.gov 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 14 GROUND SUPPORT WORLDWIDE • May 2009 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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