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CE Testing

Most major electronics manufacturers are concerned with the marketing of consumer, commercial, medical, or light industrial products in the European Union (EU). To apply the CE mark, the EU’s directives outline requirements for regulatory compliance for most electrical and electronic products.

CE stands for Conformité Européenne, a French term that can be literally translated into English as European Conformity. The foreword to CE Marking, The New European Legislation for Products, by Kluwer Business Information, states in bold as a first paragraph:

The CE Marking offers great advantages to trade and industry in the United States. The new European legislation has created a uniform market within Europe. Up to now, American manufacturers and exporters have had to deal with various sets of national legislation within Europe. Thanks to the introduction of CE Marking, the trade constraints between Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA) have disappeared. The CE Marking forms, as it were, the "trade passport" for products within the EEA.

The CE testing is primarily EMC and safety related, with the protection of the public and consumers being a primary concern. A further goal is the harmonization of related national regulations, the reduction of regulatory barriers between European countries, and the facilitation of the movement of goods between them.

The protection of the users, and the prevention of injury due to use, misuse, or abuse must be handled with due care. These steps require formalized recordkeeping, information dissemination, and optimized design practice respecting appropriate standards and regulations. Such due diligence involves the cognizance, evaluation, and optimization of health, safety, human, durability, regulatory, and environmental factors using accepted methods, guidelines, and laws.

To satisfy the CE Mark through the CE testing, a manufacturer must cover the EMC Directive (89/336/EEC) that references harmonized EMC standards. In addition a manufacturer must cover the Low Voltage Directive 73/23/EEC

The EMC directive has been written in such a way that it is the end result that is targeted and not the way to achieve this end result. According to the directive, "The EMC Directive sets the essential requirements for all electrical and electronic equipment that may interfere with other equipment or that may be interfered with by other equipment." The idea is that electrical devices transmit electromagnetic radiation into the environment. The intensity and reach of these emissions depend on the power levels, frequencies, and construction of these devices. As frequencies get faster, wavelengths get smaller and enclosures, cables, and circuits start to behave as effective antennas. High power levels, defective components, poor enclosures, and long cables also can cause interference.

Similarly, equipment can receive electromagnetic waves and, depending on the susceptibility of the device and type and intensity of the waves received, the device could malfunction. This is of particular concern to medical, communications, and other critical equipment. The directive states, "The result must be a device that cannot be disturbed by electromagnetic interference and that in itself limits the generation of interference in such a way that the other equipment is not disturbed by it. Moreover, the free movement within the European Union of products complying with the EMC Directive must be safeguarded."

The Low Voltage Directive sets the requirements for electrical safety of electro-mechanical products. It was written in a general way without elaborating technical details in the directive. The directive states, "The objective of the Low Voltage Directive is only to permit electrical material to be put on the market if it does not jeopardize the safety of persons, domestic animals and goods. The freedom of movement of safe electrical material within the Community must be safeguarded." This directive comprises a general introduction, 14 articles, and 4 annexes. Low voltage for the purposes of this directive is defined in Article 1 as any electrical equipment designed for use with a voltage rating between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current, other than the equipment and the phenomena listed in Annex II. A product has been fabricated according to the rules of good craftsmanship if it complies with the appropriate European harmonized standards.

By satisfying the EMC Directive and the Low Voltage Directive the manufacturer can mark the equipment testing with the CE Mark. With the European Union representing one of the largest integrated, regulated markets in the world and with continuing pressure on the manufacturers to get to all markets first with new products, the importance of a regulatory strategy is greater than ever. Such a strategy might encompass early adoption of good EMC and safety engineering practices during the designing and product specification phase. CE testing is clearly a priority for all manufacturers.

Communication Certification Laboratory (CCL) does provide CE Mark testing and compliance testing that covers the EMC Directive and the Safety Directive.

To satisfy the EMC Directive the testing is generally broken out into the following two general categories: unintentional emissions testing and immunity or susceptibility testing.

The unintentional emissions testing is very similar to the FCC Part 15 testing and evaluation. This testing is performed at CCL's open area test site located outside the town of Wanship Utah. Additional information on this testing can be found here.

The immunity or susceptibility testing is performed at CCL's anechoic chamber located in Salt Lake City Utah. Additional information on this testing can be found here.

Once the unintentional emissions and immunity testing is complete, this will cover the EMC Directive for the European CE Mark.

To cover the Low Voltage Safety Directive, this testing is performed by CCL in our safety laboratory located in CCL's Salt Lake City Utah main laboratory. Additional information on this testing can be found here.

Once the safety testing is complete, this will cover the Safety Directive for the European CE Mark.

With both the ECM Directive and Low Voltage Directive covered, you can mark your device with the CE Mark for marketing your equipment within the European Union.

Please contact CCL at info@cclab.com for a quote for European CE Mark compliance.

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