5 misconceptions about certification marks
5 misconceptions about certification marks

5 misconceptions about certification marks

You can find them on every product: certification marks! CE, UL, CSA, and so on. What purpose do they serve and what will you have to deal with when you design a product and want to get it on the market yourself?

All marks of quality are about one thing only: safety. Naturally the world has to be protected against unsound and unsafe products. You wouldn’t want to get a shock from an electrical appliance, a child shouldn’t be able to choke on a detached eye of their stuffed toy, and your toaster shouldn’t be able to cause a fire. It’s only logical the law provides rules to clarify the responsibilities.

 5 misconceptions about certification marks:

  1. I don’t need them for my product!: The European Commission has established that all member states must take care that only products with a CE-marking are brought to market. So it is mandatory! There are some exceptions but even then there are rules. It does come with advantages: a product with a CE-marking is not allowed to be refused to market. The Netherlands has a duty to exercise control and to impose sanctions to prevent unsafe products coming to market.
  2. Once I meet the (NEN) standards of requirement I’m all set, right? The European Commission has established guidelines for several types of equipment. A few examples are: toys, low tension power, elevators, and medical equipment. A full list can be found on org. The guidelines are free to download. The product you want to bring to market can fall under a number of different categories, e.g. low tension power and medical. The first step of the process is to find out under which categories your product may fall. Each guideline has its own essential requirements. To meet these essential requirements we highly recommend making use of the standards set by each member states (you can find these behind each guideline on the aforementioned website). It will make proving that your product meets the requirements all that much easier. The essential requirements always play a decisive role, not the standards!
  3. If I assemble a product from CE approved components surely nothing can go wrong (CE + CE = CE)? This is, by definition, wrong. The component manufacturer will not be aware of its final application and has not been able to test along those guidelines. A computer with a CE-marking will have been tested along the low tension power guideline. If this same computer gets built into a piece of medical equipment it will need to adhere to a different guideline and it will have to meet the different essential requirements.
  4. I’m having my product designed and built elsewhere; so I’m not responsible for CE and the potential consequences… The producer is responsible and the producer is defined as: the one who is responsible for the design and the production of a product with the purpose of bringing it to the European market themselves (under their own name). The guideline states the producer is allowed to use a prefabricated product and/or components and can even outsource design or production tasks. However, the producer will ultimately be responsible for the product and must make sure that the product is conforming to the CE rules. So you cannot delegate responsibility! If you would still like to do this the manufacturer must become the owner of the product and you will have to come to a contractual agreement with them about you being its only distributor.
  5. You always need a DEKRA (Formerly KEMA) or a similar organization to acquire a CE-marking… This is incorrect. You decide whether your product is CE-conform. You will need an external party (in CE terms: a ‘notified body’) to run checks for products within certain guidelines. However, to a large extent you are allowed to run those checks yourself. After all, you are responsible too!

Creating a CE worthy product starts with a safe design that is easy to reproduce. To check whether a product is safe the design process and production process need to be reviewed. To be able to show that the design meets the requirements you will often have to carry out inspections which you cannot do yourself. You will need to involve external parties for these inspections.

To be able to show you will continue to produce products conform the first approved design it is recommended to have a quality system in place. However, this is not mandatory.

An important tip: Don’t be scared by CE and start early. You can prevent unnecessary costs and delays by paying attention to certification marks early and making the right choices for your design.[:en]

5 misconceptions about certification marks

You can find them on every product: certification marks! CE, UL, CSA, and so on. What purpose do they serve and what will you have to deal with when you design a product and want to get it on the market yourself?

All marks of quality are about one thing only: safety. Naturally the world has to be protected against unsound and unsafe products. You wouldn’t want to get a shock from an electrical appliance, a child shouldn’t be able to choke on a detached eye of their stuffed toy, and your toaster shouldn’t be able to cause a fire. It’s only logical the law provides rules to clarify the responsibilities.

 5 misconceptions about certification marks:

  1. I don’t need them for my product!: The European Commission has established that all member states must take care that only products with a CE-marking are brought to market. So it is mandatory! There are some exceptions but even then there are rules. It does come with advantages: a product with a CE-marking is not allowed to be refused to market. The Netherlands has a duty to exercise control and to impose sanctions to prevent unsafe products coming to market.
  2. Once I meet the (NEN) standards of requirement I’m all set, right? The European Commission has established guidelines for several types of equipment. A few examples are: toys, low tension power, elevators, and medical equipment. A full list can be found on org. The guidelines are free to download. The product you want to bring to market can fall under a number of different categories, e.g. low tension power and medical. The first step of the process is to find out under which categories your product may fall. Each guideline has its own essential requirements. To meet these essential requirements we highly recommend making use of the standards set by each member states (you can find these behind each guideline on the aforementioned website). It will make proving that your product meets the requirements all that much easier. The essential requirements always play a decisive role, not the standards!
  3. If I assemble a product from CE approved components surely nothing can go wrong (CE + CE = CE)? This is, by definition, wrong. The component manufacturer will not be aware of its final application and has not been able to test along those guidelines. A computer with a CE-marking will have been tested along the low tension power guideline. If this same computer gets built into a piece of medical equipment it will need to adhere to a different guideline and it will have to meet the different essential requirements.
  4. I’m having my product designed and built elsewhere; so I’m not responsible for CE and the potential consequences… The producer is responsible and the producer is defined as: the one who is responsible for the design and the production of a product with the purpose of bringing it to the European market themselves (under their own name). The guideline states the producer is allowed to use a prefabricated product and/or components and can even outsource design or production tasks. However, the producer will ultimately be responsible for the product and must make sure that the product is conforming to the CE rules. So you cannot delegate responsibility! If you would still like to do this the manufacturer must become the owner of the product and you will have to come to a contractual agreement with them about you being its only distributor.
  5. You always need a DEKRA (formerly KEMA) or a similar organization to acquire a CE-marking… This is incorrect. You decide whether your product is CE-conform. You will need an external party (in CE terms: a ‘notified body’) to run checks for products within certain guidelines. However, to a large extent you are allowed to run those checks yourself. After all, you are responsible too!

Creating a CE worthy product starts with a safe design that is easy to reproduce. To check whether a product is safe the design process and production process need to be reviewed. To be able to show that the design meets the requirements you will often have to carry out inspections which you cannot do yourself. You will need to involve external parties for these inspections.

To be able to show you will continue to produce products conform the first approved design it is recommended to have a quality system in place. However, this is not mandatory.

An important tip: Don’t be scared by CE and start early. You can prevent unnecessary costs and delays by paying attention to certification marks early and making the right choices for your design.

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