CE Marking

What is CE marking?
CE marking identifies a product as conforming to European Directives. When a manufacturer affixes a CE mark to their product they are declaring compliance with ALL RELEVANT European Directives.

When did the CE mark start to be used?
E marking for instruments began on the 1st of January 1996. From then a CE mark must be carried by all electronic equipment sold within the European Economic Area. The regulations do not apply retrospectively.

What does a CE mark look like?
the CE markHave a look on the manufacturer's nameplate that appears on any instrument sold in the European Union and you will see it: a distinctive C and E.

What European Directives are relevant to Instrumentation?
- 89/336/EEC (modified by 92/31/EEC, and 93/68/EEC), The Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive (from Jan 96)
- 72/23/EEC (modified by 93/68/EEC), The Low Voltage Directive (from Jan 97)
- 97/23/EC, The Pressure Equipment Directive, known as PED (from May 2002)
- 94/9/EC, Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres, known as ATEX (from 1/7/2003)

Which countries demand a CE mark?
All 27 member countries of the European Union (EU), and the 4 member countries of EFTA (European Free Trade Association) consider it to be mandatory. It is estimated that around 70% of all products sold in these countries require to be marked. CE Marking obtained from one EU country is valid in all other EU count ires, and in the EFTA countries. It permits free movement of the product within all 30 countries.

Who belongs to the European Union?
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Who belongs to EFTA?
Since February 2005 there has only been four members; Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Who Ensures Compliance?
The law applies to the manufacturer, importer, supplier and the customer.
It is an offence to supply a product, which is not CE marked, regardless of where it is made. Therefore the manufacturer, importer and supplier must ensure products are CE marked.
It is also an offence to use unmarked products. Therefore the purchaser must ensure products are CE marked.
The relevant regulatory body in the country concerned is charged with enforcing the law. In the UK this falls to the trading standards department of local authorities.

What about spare parts?
Components with no intrinsic function e.g. a circuit board do not require a CE mark. However, an instrument that is a spare part for a compressor package would require to be marked (assuming that one or more of the directives mentioned above apply).

Technical Library

The following pages on Control and Instrumentation.com give some specific examples of where CE marking is used to help with explosion prevention:



Further Reading

For those who want to delve further into the world of CE Marking, or just want to broaden their knowledge of conformity marking in general, then the following may be of interest: