What is a CE marking on machinery and how is it achieved?

Nowadays, lots of products have to achieve a CE marking before they can be bought and sold within the European Economic Area. This mark is the symbol that proves a product meets a series of health, safety and environmental protection standards.

Here, we’ll explain exactly what a CE marking on appliances and machinery actually means, what are the requirements and what steps manufacturers must take to achieve it.

 

What is a CE marking?

The CE mark, or European Conformity mark, represents a declaration by manufacturers, importers and distributors that a given product complies with a series of technical and legal requirements set out by European product directives.

Not all products can carry a CE marking, such as those used in manual processes (tools, ladders, etc.), but you’ll certainly notice them on things like lifts, pressure equipment, low‑voltage equipment, as well as products where there’s a risk of explosion.

All products considered industrial machinery are regulated by Directive 2006/42/CE of the CE marking, which guarantees a basic level of health and safety for consumers and workers alike.

CE marking

 

CE markings on machinery requirements

There are a number of requirements when obtaining CE markings given, depending on the type of machinery and materials involved, the safety directives and design and manufacturing processes involved can be very different.

Generally speaking, the essential requirements cover the following topics:

  • Physical safety: including the product’s effects on health in various ways (choice of materials, safety checks, safety mechanisms, emissions, etc.).
  • Design of safety principles: taking into account planned use of the machinery, as well as any potential incorrect usage and its consequences.
  • Information for end users: everything related to branding, warnings, operating and maintenance instructions, etc.

Furthermore, there are some other specific requirements set out in harmonised standards, which take into account the precise methods required to meet certain objectives that are more in line with a particular product, such as the UNE-EN 1090 standard, which relates to CE markings on metal structures.

 

How to obtain a CE marking?

There are 6 steps that lead to obtaining CE markings on appliances and machinery for manufacturers. Keep in mind that failure to have a CE marking may result in products being detained at customs, as well as other legal consequences should they be involved in an accident.

 

  1. Firstly, the appropriate European directives need to be identified for the product involved. Each directive sets out certain essential requirements that each product must meet, depending on whether it’s electrical equipment, machinery, lifts, etc.
  2. Secondly, the product needs to meet certain other specific requirements, including those of the European harmonised standards, like the example mentioned above with CE markings for metal structures.
  3. Thirdly, products need to be examined by the competent authority to ensure they meet certain specific technical requirements. This step isn’t always mandatory for all products.
  4. The next stage involves analysing the product, because if it can’t be analysed by a competent authority, it will be your responsibility to carry out the relevant technical tests to assess any potential operational risks.
  5. Once all these steps have been completed, all the data obtained must be collated in a technical dossier that verifies the product’s compliance with all the relevant standards.
  6. Finally, all that’s left is to add the CE marking to your product and sign the declaration of conformity. It must be visible, legible and indelible. Furthermore, if a competent authority was involved in the process, their identification number must be clearly added to the product.
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