Before a product can be placed on the market in the EU it must satisfy the harmonised standards. These are called up in a series of EU directives with the primary ones affecting electronic products being:
- The Low-Voltage Directive (LVD) which covers product safety.
- The Electro-magnetic Compatibility (EMC) directive covering electro-magnetic emissions and the susceptibility of electronic assemblies.
- The Radio & Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) directive covering transmitting/receiving equipment. For example, if an electronics assembly has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, or GSM/GPRS capabilities then it will come under this directive.
- The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive is in the process of being extended so that its scope will eventually cover every manufacturer. When designing electronic assemblies it will be necessary to select only components which are RoHS-compliant and that RoHS-compliant solders and materials are used during manufacture.
In most cases self-certification is acceptable but a technical file must be maintained for each product. This file indicates which standards are relevant to the product and how these standards have been satisfied.
A Declaration of Conformity must be provided with each product indicating which standards the product satisfies.
Identifying which standards apply to your product and the tests needed to demonstrate compliance can be a daunting task and it is not unusual to involve a test house to assist in this process. Datalink does work with several test houses during product development to ensure the products it designs can be CE marked.
Where electronic products are to be used in areas outside the EU then other standards apply. The US accepts the certification of a number of Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NTRLs) including UL, ETL, CSA, and MET Labs. CSA standards apply in Canada, while Australia uses IEC standards. Clearly, selling products on a global basis may result in a myriad of testing, audits, and certifications. To overcome this, the IECEE CB scheme has been established; allowing test results from a national test laboratory in one country to be accepted by a similar body in another participating country.