Accredited Laboratory and Notified Certification Body
Importance of CE marking and product certificates.
In today’s world, the electronic products market is undoubtedly one of the most demanding markets in terms of regulation. This is because we are using electronic products more and more, and we are surrounded by them in increasing numbers. To ensure the quality, safety and reliability of these products, those marketed in the European Union must meet certain quality standards set by the European Union.
One of the most important standards is the CE marking that we can see on all kinds of articles. CE marking is mandatory within the European Union and, together with other specific standards for each field, such as the certification of equipment, it provides a system that ensures that the devices we purchase meet the technical safety criteria, both for people and in terms of compatibility with other devices.
The Product Certification, on the other hand, is voluntary in nature, although it may be obligatory under certain conditions and in certain territories of the European Union. However, the certification of a product is often required by customers in sectors such as security and intrusion alarms.
CE Mark and The Product Certification are, therefore, tools that the manufacturer can use to give the user confidence in its products, and which also bring a certain prestige to the brand, and offer it a competitive advantage.
Difference between CE marking and Certificates
CE Marking is the product’s passport, allowing it to be sold throughout the European Union. With this marking, the manufacturer declares that its product complies with the legal requirements established within the European Union and in member countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
The Official Journal of the European Union publishes the standards that, when used in product conformity assessments, provide presumption of conformity. These are called harmonized standards. Each European directive sets out the activities for determining the conformity assessment, and in some cases, these activities must be carried out by a third party. This impartial third party is a Notified Body, and it has the ability to certify that the equipment meets the requirements of CE marking.
On the other hand, and for certain sectors such as the security sector, in addition to the requirements and limitations imposed by additional local regulation may impose additional operating conditions. This occurs in specific sectors where functionality is very important, and it is not enough to ensure that the equipment does not interfere with others and is safe (as is ensured by CE marking), but there is also a need to ensure that it works well under certain specific conditions.
An example of this would be an alarm system installed in a residential area that is required not to generate false alarms for the police. In this case, the European Union uses a series of Spanish standards (UNE), which specify what each piece of equipment has to comply with based on its functionality and technology.
Different terminologies are used for the fields of CE marking and the voluntary Certification of Equipment.
A Notified Body is a conformity assessment body that has been notified by a member state of the European Commission to carry out conformity assessment activities for a given directive. A Notified Body is assessed by the competent state authority in the directive for which it is notified. This state authority varies according to the particular directive and sets its own requirements for notifying the body. Specifically for CE marking, it is the Notified Body that can act as a third party to ensure the equipment meets the requirements of this marking.
A body can only be accredited to assess products, services or parameters by the national accreditation body, which in Spain is ENAC. This accreditation is carried out for each standard individually.
Tests to ensure that equipment complies with EN standards must be carried out in an Accredited Laboratory, which issues reports with the results (whether satisfactory or not) of the tests carried out, in accordance with the criteria set out in the standards. Once in possession of these reports, it is the Certifying Body that checks that the product has passed all the corresponding tests and meets the requirements to be certified.
A Certification Body is a body that is accredited in each standard and that acts as a third party in the assessment of a product in that standard, issuing an opinion on the result. In addition, to test reports issued by an Accredited Laboratory, and depending on the certification scheme, periodic factory audits may be required to verify that the product continues to be manufactured in the same way as the product that passed the tests set out in the standards. The Certification Body is responsible for issuing the corresponding certification that assures consumers that they can use the product with the absolute certainty that it properly complies with the functionality they are looking for.
Alter Technology as a service provider for intrusion and hold-up equipment, fire alarms, and access control systems.
In Spain, the Notified Bodies must be accredited by ENAC, the Spanish National Accreditation Body (ENAC). Alter Technology, part of the TÜV NORD group, is a Notified Body for CE marking in a wide range of electronic products. Alter Technology is also accredited by ENAC, and has extensive experience, both as an Accredited Laboratory and as a Certifying Body, in the certification of products in accordance with the standards for intrusion and hold-up alarm systems (IHAS), fire alarms and access control systems, among others. In addition, it has an Accredited Laboratory with the facilities needed to carry out the necessary tests to certify these standards and directives.
This post is also available in: Spanish