Sunday, July 6, 2008

Industry Interpretation of CE Marking Requirements

According to the Low Voltage Directive (73/72/EC) most low voltage electrical equipment must meet certain essential safety requirements before it can be sold in EU member states. All such equipment (except items which are purely components) must also be CE marked in accordance with Directive 93/68/EEC. To bear the CE mark, equipment must meet the essential safety requirements of the Directive, and the manufacturer or importer must maintain a file in which he keeps (amongst other information) details of how he can demonstrate that the products meet these requirements.

It is possible to meet the requirements by ensuring and demonstrating that the equipment is designed and constructed in accordance with those requirements. However it is easier if the product is “presumed to comply”. Such a presumption is made if the products are manufactured in accordance with harmonised European standard documents (of types EN or HD), or IEC standards (where no EN/HD exists) or National standards (where not yet published at European level).

At one time the definition of a “harmonised” standard in the context of the LVD was not the same as in the case of other “New Approach” Directives, where “harmonisation” is concluded only once the EN standard is listed in the Official Journal of the EU as offering a presumption of conformity with a particular Directive. In the case of the LVD, the EN standard became “harmonised” on publication at national level. This now appears to have changed so that the LVD works like other directives. There is now a nationally published European (EN) standard for cable glands (BS EN 50262:1999) which covers all cable glands which feature cable retention, cable sealing and metric threads.

The EU issues a Guide to the LVD and in this guide states quite clearly that cable management systems are included in the scope of the Directive as equipment. Coupled with advice received from both BEAMA and the DTI, the GMTC has for a long time adopted the policy that cable glands are both completely within the scope of the Directive and must be CE marked. The hierarchy of methods GMTC members adopt to meet the essential safety requirements of the Directive is therefore:


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