What are the CE marking requirements?

Nov 04, 2022

The CE marking has been put in place to ensure products on the market comply with the directives of the EU. There are a number of CE marking requirements to keep in mind. The requirements range from knowing and complying with the directives to affixing the CE marking the right way.

Comply with the CE marking directives

There are different legal requirements that apply to different products. The EU has laid these out in their harmonised European standards. These standards list how you can best go about meeting the directives and regulations set up by the EU.

The directives applicable to machinery

Machinery is one of the product categories that requires CE marking. Different directives apply for receiving the mark. They are as follows:

  • The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC
  • The Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU
  • The EMC Directive 2014/30/EU
  • The Pressure Equipment Directive 2014/68/EU

It is important to check the requirements of each individual directive and make sure your product complies with them.

The harmonised European standards

The harmonised standards are not compulsory. There are other options for you to comply with the requirements of the EU directives.

The standards do, however, outline a good way to go about complying with the directives. Even more, applying the standards leads to a presumption of conformity, which means it’ll be easy for you to prove you’re compliant.

The technical file

Because the CE marking is a self-declaration, you need to prove your compliance to the EU legislation. Your technical file serves as the proof. This file is the result of taking most steps of the CE marking process.

Make sure you can easily access the file. Once you start applying the CE marking to your products, an authoritative figure might request to see the file. This figure will check whether you’ve taken the necessary steps to comply with the EU directives.

Responsibilities for importers and distributors

Importers have to check that products meet the EU safety, health and environmental requirements. Once they have checked the compliance they can place the product on the market.

There are three important steps for importers:

Check if the manufacturer has taken the required steps for the product to be placed in the EU market. Check if contact with the manufacturer is possible at all times. Check if the Declaration of Conformity and technical file are available if requested. Distributors on the other hand need to handle the product carefully and in a way that the compliance with EU legislation is not affected. Distributors should be educated and able to identify when a product does not meet the CE marking requirements.

The distributor should be able to:

Show a confirmation to national authorities from the manufacturer or importer that the requirements have been met. Assist these national authorities if they require any documentation on compliance.

Requirements for affixing your CE marking

In order to properly place the CE marking on your product, you have to abide by several rules. First of all, the two letters should be clearly visible on your goods. Flip over your smartphone and see how it is for instance placed on a mobile device.

Secondly, the mark should be legible. The C and E should be clear enough to read, so ensure the image you use for the mark is not pixelized.

Finally, the CE marking should be indelible. A customer should not be able to wipe the mark off with his or her finger.

Depending on the product, you are required to place the logo on the actual product, an affixed label or on the packaging. For machinery the marking should be placed on the actual product. If this is not possible, because of the nature of the product, you’re allowed to affix it to the packaging and the accompanying document.

Did you make use of a Notified Body for receiving the CE marking? In that case it is mandatory to add the identification number of the body on the actual product as well.

Using the correct logo

You cannot simply place a CE marking that looks similar to the official logo. It is of important you place the proper logo on your goods. Make sure you do not change the ratio of the logo. You can adapt the size of the logo, but it must be at least 5 mm (0.20 inches) high.

The EU has made acquiring this logo an easy step. You can simply download it from the website of the European Commission.

When not to affix a CE marking

In several cases you are not required to add a CE mark to your product. The CE marking should only be placed on products that are obliged to have the marking.

The New Approach Directives of the EU list the goods for which it is compulsory to add the CE marking. Adding the CE marking to a product that does not fall under the directives is illegal.

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