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13 December 2020

CE marking and UKCA Electronic Design

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Many people are familiar with CE (Conformité Européenne) marking and it is something that manufacturers have had to do for many years in order to sell into the EU. By adding a CE mark to a product the manufacture is declaring that the product complies with all necessary EU legal requirements. For those of us involved in electronic product design typical regulations would be Low Voltage Directive (LVD), Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC), Radio Equipment Directive (RED).

UKCA mark
UKCA mark

Very soon (January 1st 2021) CE marking in the UK will be replaced by UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) although there is a 12 month grace period where CE marked products can still be placed on the UK market. Here are a few questions people often ask about UKCA

What is the Equivalent legislation for UKCA?

Further information can be found on the UK government website. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/placing-manufactured-goods-on-the-market-in-great-britain-from-1-january-2021#legislation. For electronic product designers and manufacturers the key UK regulations are EMC equivalent (Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2016), LVD equivalent (Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016), RED equivalent (Radio Equipment Regulations 2017).

What about Existing Stock?

If a product was fully manufactured and CE marked before 1st January 2021 then this can be placed on the market up to 31st December 2021, after this period even existing stock will need to be UKCA compliant and marked accordingly.

What about selling in Europe?

To place a product on the European market it will need to be CE marked as before. So an EU / UK product will need both UKCA and CE marking after 1st January 2021. Although additional paperwork will be required for certification purposes items like test reports and technical files can be used for both CE and UKCA purposes preventing additional testing and cost. You don’t need to do EMC testing twice, for example. Note: This is true whilst any regulations are aligned, if this changes in the future then there may be additional testing in a similar way to FCC certification to sell in America.

Who is responsible for marking the product?

The Manufacturer is responsible for ensuring all necessary UKCA regulations are met, marking the product and keeping the technical file.

Do you still need a technical file?

Technical files are still required to show evidence of compliance but the same technical file can be used for both UKCA and CE marking

Can I Still Self Certify a product?

There’s a lot of confusion regarding CE marking, it’s worth remembering the vast majority of CE marked products are self-certified (even if a test house is used to provide documented evidence), this will be true for both CE and UKCA. If 3rd party certification is required (such as some medical devices) many of the UK notified bodies have made arrangements with EU notified bodies to reduce any duplication of effort.

What about Northern Ireland?

UKCA is actually only for England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland will require CE marking or UKNI marking

Where can I find further guidance?

Here is a link to the UK government website with further guidance. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/placing-manufactured-goods-on-the-market-in-great-britain-from-1-january-2021#more-information

How can Spark Product Innovation help?

We are experienced at bringing electrical \ electronic products to market and have links to several test facilities in the UK. Feel free to call or email us to discuss your product further.