The CE mark found on many electrical products is a European Economic Area mandatory conformity mark. It is a mark to identify products that are being sold within the EU that have met legal directives set by the EU in regards to consumer safety, health, and environmental health. The initials CE stand for ‘Conformite Europeenne’, French for European Conformity.

All products manufactured or sold within the EU, which are covered by one or more of the directives must show the CE mark. It is a mandatory requirement for products such as toys, electronics, machinery, and personal protection equipment. Products which do not fall under the CE marking requirements are not allowed to bear the CE mark.

What directives does a product need to conform to?

There are 3 main directives set by the EU which products must conform to in order to qualify for the CE mark. The table below shows which directives are required for the CE mark, as well as the names of the required documents a manufacturer can use to locate more details on the requirements.

Products themselves will not be tested to confirm they met the requirements, unless they are potentially dangerous, or potentially include hazardous materials. If so, they need to be assessed for conformity by a third-party with authority to do so.

Other than a clear CE mark does a manufacturer need to provide anything else?

Manufacturers, or importers, hold sole responsibility that their products meet the requirements in applying the CE mark. To support a product conformity, each product shipped must be accompanied by a Declaration of Conformity document. This document will provide details of how the particular product conforms, together with:

  •    Name and address of the manufacturer
  •    Product description
  •    Product brand and serial number
  •    Signature of an authorized representative of the manufacturer and their position within the company

The CE mark is the only mark that indicates conformity, however, a product may carry other marks – as long as they do not hold the same significance as the CE mark in order to avoid confusion. Additional marks on products must not impair the visibility and legibility of the CE mark.

RoHS certification and CE, what is the connection?

As seen above in the table, RoHS is one of the legal directives a product must conform to in order to bear the CE mark. The basis of RoHS is to protect the health and safety of individuals and environmental health from the dangers associated with banned substances. Any new electronic components and electrical equipment entered into the EU market are banned from containing hazardous materials, a list of which can be found in our previous article.

As of the 3rd January 2013, the new RoHS legislation, known as RoHS2, included the original requirements with some new additions. The new additions affect the technical documentation associated with manufactured products and a requirement to provide a declaration of conformance in accordance with CE marking requirements.