Earlier this year, the European Commission released the latest references for the harmonized standards used to demonstrate conformity with the EU EMC Directive 2004/108/EC and the new R&TTE Directive 1999/5/EC requirements started on January 1, 2015. (R&TTE is replaced in June 2016 by the Radio Equipment Directive (RED) 2014/53/EC).
Placed on many categories of products, CE Marking is mandatory for machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, medical devices, hazardous location equipment, and other products. So if you are looking to sell an electronics product in the EU, you will need to apply a CE mark.
Here’s a Top 12 list of interesting facts about CE marking:
- The CE mark, or formerly EC mark, is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1985
- CE stands for Conformité Européenne (French), which means European conformity
- CE marking is a self-declaration where a manufacturer proves compliance with EU health, safety and environmental protection legislation and confirms a product’s compliance with relevant requirements
- With a CE mark, your product can be sold in the EU and in Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway
- There are six steps to CE marking: 1. Identify the relevant directives and standards, 2. Verify the product’s specific requirements, 3. Identify whether an independent conformity assessment (Notified Body) is necessary, 4. Test product, 5. Create technical documentation, and 6. Add CE mark to the product
- CE marking is not evidence of compliance – your technical documentation/technical file is
- The manufacturer or authorized representative must keep technical documentation for a number of years (the number is dependent on the product type) after the last product has been placed on the market
- Each EU country is responsible to enforce CE marking, by banning products and levying fines for non-compliance
- Unsafe products are shared in the EU via RAPEX – a rapid alert system on measures taken to prevent or restrict the marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers
- There is a very similar logo where the CE stands for Chinese Export or China Export – this has nothing to do with European conformity
- The size of the CE mark must be at least 5 mm high. If the appearance or size of a product do not allow for the CE marking to be affixed on the product itself, the marking has to be affixed to its packaging or accompanying documents
- Pre-testing early in the product development process can reduce cost and time to market
MET Labs has tested thousands of products to support CE Marking Declarations of Conformity (DoC) for product safety, electromagnetic compatibility, and energy efficiency. Contact us today to tap the experience and skill of the MET engineering team.
With Wi-Fi device shipments now in excess of 10 billion, the Wi-Fi Alliance® continues to innovate, developing new certification programs to support new technologies. A list of current work areas can be found here. To highlight a few:
- Wi-Fi Aware™ – a power-efficient proximity-based technology that identifies nearby users without connecting to the Internet (Certification program expected in late 2015)
- Extended Range ah – The developing IEEE 802.11ah standard will extend W-Fi’s usefulness for new device categories and applications with very constrained power requirements and need for long-range connectivity
Wi-Fi Alliance is also developing a 60 GHz certification,WiGig CERTIFIED™, a program that came from its WiGig Alliance unification in 2013. Although the best use for 60 GHz has not been determined yet, some companies use it for backhaul in cellular networks and cable replacement in the home or office.
MET Laboratories has been working with the Wi-Fi Alliance since 2013, and recently added Authorized Test Lab (ATL) accreditations. MET now tests and certifies devices for Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ n and related standards a, b, g, WPA2, and WMM. This accreditation is a natural extension of MET’s deep experience in wireless testing and certification.
Right on the heels of EN 300 328 Version 1.8.1 becoming effective on December 31, 2014, Version 1.9.1 is expected to be published this year. Since there were significant changes between ETSI’s V1.7.1 and V1.8.1, it’s natural that electronics manufacturers are wondering what changes are in store for V1.9.1.
What is anticipated to become final harmonized standard EN 300 328 Version 1.9.1 is currently draft Version 1.8.2, which was released in April 2014. The overall scope and the essential requirements of the standard remain the same, but there are changes that include new and revised definitions, modifications to the limits, and simplification and clarification of test methods. Following are four important changes in V1.8.2.
Frequency Occupation Options
For frequency hopping equipment, the requirement for Minimum Frequency Occupation was renamed to Frequency Occupation, and it now includes two options for compliance, one being an occupation probability.
Dwell Time Definition Change
Also for frequency hoppers, the definition of Dwell Time was clarified in V1.8.2 and the conformance requirement for Dwell Time was renamed to Accumulated Transmit Time.
Adaptivity for Non-FHSS Devices Modification
The Adaptivity conformance requirement for non-frequency hopping devices using Listen Before Talk (LBT) was modified to remove the confusing random variable ‘R’ and value ‘q.’ Instead, to simplify the test methods, the Clear Channel Assessment time and Channel Occupancy time in V1.8.2 are fixed values, or a range of fixed values.
Emissions Requirement Change
The transmitter unwanted emissions in the spurious domain and the receiver spurious emission requirements have also changed. V1.8.2 includes a clarification on the requirement for both conductive and radiated measurements. The test procedures for spurious emissions were also modified and slightly better defined in the draft of V1.8.2.
There are other changes in V1.8.2, contact MET for more information.
While we wait on EN 300 328 Version 1.9.1, Version 1.10.1 is already on the horizon; a task group has been commissioned to work on it. We’ll let you know when its content is known.
If you sell products in Europe with 2.4GHz transmitters, contact MET for a free quote for EN 300 328 testing for R&TTE Directive CE marking. MET is deeply experienced in all types of wireless testing, including for the Wi-Fi Alliance.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) Article 600 and UL 48 Standard for Safety for Electric Signs are used to evaluate the field installation and construction of electric signs in the U.S. In Canada, the relevant guidelines are the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) and CSA 22.2 No. 207.
All signs that are electrically operated and/or electrically illuminated are covered, regardless of voltage, including:
- High intensity discharge (HID)
- Light-emitting diode (LED)
- Cold cathode
Not included are:
- Illuminated clocks operating at 600V or less
- Exit signs
- Trailer of a trailer-mounted sign
- Luminaires mounted to function as outline lighting
- Luminaires mounted within an awning sign
- Luminaires intended for billboard illumination
- Fiber optics or fiber optic illuminators
- Signs for use in hazardous locations
- Procedures to ensure required testing is conducted and documented
- Test logs showing all required information
- Non-conforming products are reworked and tested
- All applicable personnel are trained to perform required tests
The latest edition of UL48 (15th edition) requires three tests: ground continuity (6.1-6.3), strain relief (5.4.1-5.4.4), and exclusion of water (5.9.1-5.9.2).
Documentation requirements include:
- Component traceability records
- Checklist for wiring diagrams, schematics and marking
- Personnel assigned to Sign Shop listing
- Checklist for sign documentation
- Sign label log
Certified (Listed) signs follow the marking requirements of NEC Section 600.4 and UL 48. A sign must be marked with the identification of the manufacturer or an identifying trade name or trademark, along with electrical voltage and current ratings. All required markings and the MET Certification (Listing) Mark are to be permanently applied to the exterior surface of the sign.
MET Certified labels are the manufacturer’s declaration of compliance and can only be affixed by the manufacturer at the place of production. The application of a MET Mark in the field is only permitted when an inspection is performed by one of MET’s Field Safety Group after a field evaluation.
MET Labs is widely considered the responsive alternative to UL, with a business-friendly service and allowance for use of any component that is certified by any Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL).
Wireless modules are increasingly being integrated into everyday products, like refrigerators, cars, and consumer medical devices. Therefore, more manufacturers need to be aware of the regulatory requirements of wireless transmitters.
In the European Union, it is mandatory that radio equipment meets the requirements for the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE) 1999/5/EC (replaced in June 2016 by the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EC).
The manufacturer of the wireless-enabled product is responsible for its overall compliance. Module manufacturers must provide clear instructions of integration to any host product manufacturer.
Since the R&TTE Directive does not make specific reference to wireless modules, there are no strict rules to follow, but there are a few general guidelines to keep in mind:
- When an R&TTE compliant module is integrated into a final host product, no further radio compliance testing is required, provided the module is integrated in accordance with its manufacturer’s instructions
- The final host product must always meet the other essential safety and EMC requirements of the directive
- The most common method of demonstrating compliance and a presumption of conformity with R&TTE is by using harmonized standards
The R&TTE Compliance Association has issued guidance on the use of wireless modules: Technical Guidance Note 01 on the R&TTED compliance requirements for a Radio Module and the Final Product that integrates a Radio Module, May 2013.
In the U.S. and Canada, the approval process is straightforward, unless there are multiple modules integrated together.
The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) rules on module integration are explained in CFR 47 Part 15.212, with further detail in the guidance document KDB 996369. The Industry Canada rules for modules are similar to those of the FCC and are spelled out in RSS-GEN Section 3.
In order for a wireless module to meet the requirements of FCC Part 15, it must comply with the requirements for shielded circuitry, a unique antenna connector, stand-alone configuration, and RF exposure limits. Once these guidelines are met, FCC modular approval is granted through a TCB like MET Labs, and the product may be operated under certain conditions of use. If the conditions of the grant are met, further testing is not required for the intentional radiator part of the host equipment.
Where multiple modules are integrated together, the rules can become more complex. This is particularly true if the host device is to be used in a portable application within 20cm of the human head or body and RF exposure becomes a major issue. Then SAR testing is required.
Where the conditions of the modular grant cannot be adhered to when integrated into the final host, additional testing and certification is usually required.
To learn more about wireless compliance, attend our upcoming EMC & Wireless Design and Testing Seminar in Santa Clara, CA. If you have an upcoming need for wireless equipment testing or compliance assistance, contact us today.
In the past, design flaws in smart meter units have been known to cause serious fire hazards and spotty performance. This has caused a lot of concern for utilities and manufacturers of smart meters. To prevent problems like this, a new voluntary safety standard – UL 2735 – has been created for electric utility meters.
In the past, meters were tested to UL/CSA 61010-1, as was other Measurement, Control, and Laboratory Equipment. Meter manufacturers are increasingly migrating from UL 61010-1 to UL 2735.
UL 2735 covers:
- Meters rated up to 600V which measure, monitor, record, transmit, or receive electrical energy generation or consumption information
- Socket mounted plug-in (Type S) utility meters, and non-socket mounted, bottom connected (Type A) utility meters
- Meters provided with one or two-way communication capabilities by means of carrier signals, telephone, cable, or wireless communication
- Meters that provide signals, directly or wirelessly, for the control of electrical loads or electrical power generation equipment
These construction and performance requirements are included in UL 2735:
- Compliance with relevant component standards
- Used within their recognized ratings
- Includes plastics, PCBs, MOVs, wire, and transformers
- Accessibility of hazardous live parts
- Electrical spacings over-surface and through-air
- Isolation of current transformer secondary
- Endurance of load control switch
- Single component fault
- Polymeric enclosure flammability
- Battery protection, charging, placement and replacement
- Single component fault
- Enclosure environmental considerations
- Enclosure strength and rigidity
- Access panels
- Insulation resistance
- HV line surges
- Fast transient/burst
- RF interference
- RF conducted/radiated emissions
- Temperature rise
- Temporary overload
- Electrostatic discharge
- Environmental suitability
- Electrical ratings
- Installation instructions
- ANSI C12.10 nameplate
- Permanence and legibility
UL 2735 is not yet part of the NRTL Program, however MET Labs is already accomplished in testing to it. Learn more about MET’s highly-regarded testing of meter safety, reliability, and accuracy for manufacturers or utilities.
As a leading 3rd party EMC Test Lab, MET Labs maintains a strict ISO/IEC 17025-2005 Quality System. This system includes a set of requirements addressing the subject of traceability of measurement results.
Traceability means that the result of a measurement can be related to a national or international measurement standard, and that this relationship is documented. In addition, the measuring instrument must be calibrated by a measurement standard that is itself traceable.
Traceability is important because it allows the comparison of the accuracy of measurements worldwide according to a standardized procedure for estimating measurement uncertainty.
To guarantee traceability, MET uses measuring equipment that has been calibrated by an accredited calibration laboratory and meets international specifications:
- CISPR 16-1-1 for a measuring receiver (EMI receiver or spectrum analyzer)
- ANSI C63.5 for antennas
If no standard is available to calibrate a piece of test equipment (e.g. for spectrum analyzers or signal generators), MET uses the equipment manufacturer’s calibration process, per ISO/IEC 17025.
Since the calibration of measuring receivers has caused confusion in the EMC community, CISPR subcommittee A is in preparation of a normative annex to CISPR 16-1-1 (the future CISPR 16-1-6) to better outline the calibration requirements for measuring receivers.
In summary, EMC test results at MET Labs are subject to a strict Quality System that ensures accuracy, repeatability, and traceability. Contact us today for a free quote for your next EMC testing need.
Foreign manufacturers of products that require U.S. Military Standard (MIL-STD) testing need to comply with the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
Obtaining ITAR licensing and development of technical agreements can be a lengthy process. Fortunately, clients in the United Kingdom and Australia can simplify the process and bypass ITAR licensing requirements using exemption programs available through Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties to which the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia are signatories.
Once recognized under these treaties, clients are part of the UK or Australian Approved Communities (AC) and are listed under the DDTC’s Treaty Reference System (TRS). TRS is a resource operated by The Directorate of Defense Trade Controls that helps U.S. Exporters confirm whether or not UK or Australian organizations are exempt from ITAR licensing requirements.
More information can be found at the DDTC’s website for Defense Trade Cooperation Treaties. Exemption programs for United Kingdom and Australia are also described in the ITAR regulation under 22 CFR 126.16 – 126.17.
When an RF product is revised due to obsolete parts, cost cutting, or product improvements, how does the engineer know what the FCC requirements are for the altered product? Will it require a new FCC filing and ID number or will a Permissive Change be allowed?
To allow products to be modified without requiring a new filing, the FCC has defined three Permissive Change options listed in Title 47 Part 2.1043, KDB 178919 D01 Permissive Change Policy v05r04.
Class I Permissive Change
This class includes modifications which do not degrade the characteristics accepted by the FCC when certification is granted. No filing with the Commission is required for a Class I Change.
Class II Permissive Change
This class includes modifications which degrade the performance characteristics as reported to the FCC at initial certification. In this case, the grantee must supply the Commission with results of tests of characteristics affected by the change.
Class III Permissive Change
This class includes software modifications of a software-defined radio transmitter that change the frequency range, modulation type or maximum output power (either radiated or conducted) outside the parameters previously approved.
In this case, the grantee must supply the FCC with a description of the changes and test results showing that the equipment complies with applicable rules with the new software loaded, including compliance with applicable RF exposure requirements.
Class III changes are permitted only for equipment on which no Class II changes have been made from the originally approved device.
For any of these changes, modified equipment cannot be marketed under the existing grant of certification prior to acknowledgment by the Commission that the change is acceptable.
In summary, changes to a modular radio or product will result in either a Permissive Change or a new FCC filing and ID number. The degree of change will determine both the process and the amount of supporting data required to illustrate compliance.
With few exceptions, a new FCC ID and a new equipment authorization application will be required in the event of changes to the basic frequency (including clock and data rates), frequency multiplication stages, basic modulator circuit, or maximum power or field strength ratings.
In the last three months of 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada maintained their torrid pace of recall announcements. Here is a list of electrical/electronic products that were recalled in the 4th quarter of 2014, per the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- UL-Listed Keurig MINI Plus Brewing Systems
- AP Specialties Power Bank Chargers
- Olympus Digital Audio Recorders
- Goal Zero Battery Packs
- Daikin Air Purifiers
- Horizon Hobby HobbyZone Super Cub S Radio Controlled Aircraft
- UL-Listed Schneider Electric PowerPact J Frame Circuit Breakers
- Giggles International Animated Monkey Toy
- CSA-Listed Lenovo Computer Power Cords
- Tankless Water Heaters
- Ventamatic Draft Misting Fans
- Tectron International USB Chargers
- Visonic Amber Personal Emergency Response Pendants and Kits
- Meijer Halloween Projector Flashlight
Recalls are expensive. Keurig took a $10M charge in December when 7 million of its UL-listed single-serve brewers were recalled.
Beyond the recall cost, there is the risk of regulatory penalties to watch out for. In 2014, CPSC levied over $12M in civil penalties, a record.
Avoid the steep cost and hassle of recalls. MET Labs is the experienced alternative to UL for product safety certification. The first OSHA Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), MET has 55 years of product safety testing experience, and a stellar track record of clients that have avoided costly recalls.
Beyond safety recalls, electronics manufacturers are increasingly engaging in reliability testing to prevent product returns and warranty claims. HALT testing is the quick and sure way to prove product reliability. HALT testing helps you discover defects in your product design, guarantees a much lower product infant mortality rate, and reduces development costs.
Contact MET to ensure the safety and reliability of your product before it’s on the market.