The U.S. Department of Commerce provides CE marking information as well. Bob Straetz, Office of the European Union, can be reached at 202-482-4496.
Keeping up with changes
“Manufacturers must realize that CE marking is not a one-time exercise but a commitment to continuous product improvement,” Zuyderwijk says. “They should keep themselves informed of amendments and new developments.”
In this regard, he reports one recent change for GSE manufacturers, “The European Commission decided to withdraw the presumption of conformity for Clause 5.6 of the standard EN 12312-9:2005 ‘Aircraft ground support equipment – specific requirements container/pallet loaders.’” The standard is likely to be amended soon, he says because a container loader in full compliance with the clause caused an accident that revealed the weakness of the provision.
At the end of this year, Holmgren says a new machinery directive (2006/42/EC) will result in changes for safety requirements and paperwork.
“All manufacturers with CE-marked machines, not only Annex 4 machines with an EC-type certificate, must make sure that the new requirements are fulfilled, and the certificates must be renewed,” he says.
The EU Web site, www.newapproach.org, which lists the CE marking directives and their standards, is a good place to keep updated on changes.
Making your CE marking
Zuyderwijk reminds that in the past, standards changes, product requirements and test procedures in Europe were set by individual EU member states. Companies that wanted to sell products on the European market sometimes had to deal with more than 10 different technical requirements or procedures just for one product. All the different products requirements brought many costs for the producers. With the help of the New Approach Directives, manufacturers no longer need to adapt their products to the specific requirements of different member states. (Although Holmgren points out users manuals must be translated to the local language.)
In addition, Zuyderwijk says by implementing the requirements, CE marking a product will be safer for the consumer, and damage and liability claims may also be reduced.
The CE marking process may seem difficult, especially if you haven’t gone through the process before. However, help is available to get you through it and once you have the CE marking on your product, you’ll have a mark of meeting European health and safety standards, which often becomes a mark of consumer confidence and a marketing advantage.
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