Most Common Electronic Product Certification and Compliance Requirements in the EU & USA

If you are an electronic product manufacturer who sells its product globally, it can be complicated to keep up to date with various legislations and regulations. It is, however, imperative that you do - as there are many repercussions that can occur if something is overlooked in the manufacturing stage. Here we have outlined the most product certification and compliance requirements that apply to electronics in the European Union and United States.
common electronic product certification

Conformité Européenne 

The Conformité Européenne (CE) Mark is the European Union’s (EU) mandatory conformity marking for any products manufactured, imported, or sold in the EU market. 

The presence of the mark means that the product has undergone the correct assessment criteria and meets the general requirements for safety, health, and environmental protection in order to be placed on the market

Radio Equipment Directive

The Conformité Européenne (CE) mark is required for all electronic products that fall under the Radio Equipment Directive (RED). This directive is applicable for the certification requirements of electronic devices and radio equipment that are manufactured, imported, or sold in the European Union (EU). 

The directive ensures that products using radio technology adhere to the required frequency bands with specific power, bandwidth, and duty cycles. It also means that the product makes efficient use of the radio spectrum. As technology has progressed over the years, the number of products operating with radio technology has increased astronomically, and regulations have therefore been enforced to ensure that the proper checks and balances are in place. 

In addition to these measures, the directive was recently updated and now also governs technical features for the protection of privacy and personal data, and also against fraud. Furthermore, additional aspects cover interoperability, access to emergency services, and compliance regarding products that combine radio equipment and software (like some artificial intelligence systems, for example).

Electromagnetic Compatibility

The electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of a product is based on the European EMC Directive 2014/30/EU. Compliance with IEC 61000-6-3 for emissions and IEC 61000-6-1 for immunity requirements apply to electrical and electronic devices that are determined for residential, commercial, and light industrial environments. 

The marking indicates that the product has been assessed by an EU Notified Body who will then apply the CE marking upon confirmation that the product fulfils the requirements set out by the EU under a Declaration of Conformity (DoC).

This directive is designed to ensure that the device doesn’t disturb or create interference on other radio and telecommunications equipment. It is also designed to protect electrical and electronic devices from potential hazards such as electrical fast transients, lightning strikes, and electrostatic discharges. 

Restriction of Hazardous Substances

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) is a directive that is governed and mandated for the EU. Compliance with the EU’s RoHS directive applies to electric or electronic devices that are manufactured, imported, or sold on the EU market. 

The directive is designed to set protective measures for both people and the environment from banned, hazardous chemicals and substances which are found in devices. For example, some restricted chemicals include cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium. Tests are generally carried out either by X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF) or chemical-based testing. 

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is the authorisation or restriction of hazardous chemicals, which is mandated by the EU. Compliance with REACH is required for chemicals, including those used to make the products. 

When differentiating between RoHs, REACH generally refers to a large number of chemicals produced and used within the assembly and production of products, while RoHs is used to prohibit approximately 6 hazardous chemicals which are mostly product-specific. 

Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) marking is a certification that is designed for electronic products manufactured or sold in the United States. It certifies that the electromagnetic compatibility and interference from the device adheres to limits approved by the FCC.

FCC objectives are to set applicable standards and testing measures in order to ensure that radio frequency emissions of electronic devices meet requirements such as the device not causing harmful interference and setting limitations on the amount of electromagnetic interference a device can generate. Electronic devices that operate at a clock rate of 9kHz and above fall within the standard.

UL1642, UL2054 and UN/DOT 38.3

UL1642 is the standard for the battery safety assessment of Lithium polymer (Li-ion) batteries, covering both rechargeable and non-rechargeable types within the United States. Testing criteria for UL1642 is more in-depth as compared to UL2054 as it covers a wider scope of tests to ensure that there are no abnormal charges, overcharges, forced discharges, or insulation resistance. 

UL2054 is the standard for the battery safety assessment of household and commercial batteries in the United States, covering both rechargeable and non-rechargeable types. Testing criteria mainly focuses on external short circuit, abnormal charge and overcharge, forced discharge, and molded casing heat tests.

UN/DOT 38.3 is a standard that regulates the safe worldwide transportation of lithium and Li-ion batteries. It is a standard whereby independent third-party test labs are not required. Due to liability concerns, most companies choose to perform this testing. The standard is to ensure that environmental conditions such as low pressure, temperature cycle, vibration, and shock do not stress the batteries during transport. Lithium batteries are classified as dangerous goods and can pose a safety risk if they are not tested and packaged in accordance with transport regulations.

Bluetooth

The Bluetooth Special Interests Group (SIG) is a regulatory body that oversees the development of Bluetooth standards and licensing agreements of Bluetooth technologies. It is important to note that all products using Bluetooth technologies must comply with regulatory compliance standards applicable to the countries or regions they operate in. 

Any product that is manufactured with the intent of incorporating Bluetooth wireless technologies must first become a member of the Bluetooth SIG program. This involves a qualification process whereby the company has a design that is a specific configuration of hardware and/or software that must be acceptable under the Bluetooth product type. Product types include end products, controller subsystems, host subsystems, profile subsystems, and components. 

Companies have the option of qualifying without additional testing if the technology is already certified by Bluetooth SIG. Otherwise, the company will have to apply with additional testing. Once the declaration process has been completed, Bluetooth SIG designates a Declaration ID upon receipt of the application. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many applicable standards and regulations that you may need to take into account when placing an electrical or electronic product onto any marketplace. It is essential that these are clearly defined and understood in the manufacturing phase, to avoid any unwanted repercussions or costs. 

  • Certification Simplified

Certification Experts is an independent product compliance organisation. With over 25 years of experience, Certification Experts evolved into a hub of expertise and subsequently established a valuable track record. If you would like to find out more about electronic certification processes or compliance, get in touch today.

  • Certification Simplified

Certification Experts is an independent product compliance organisation. With over 25 years of experience, Certification Experts evolved into a hub of expertise and subsequently established a valuable track record. If you would like to find out more about electronic certification processes or compliance, get in touch today.

Keen to get updated about certifying your products?
We'll keep you posted!