It’s no secret that releasing any electrical products internationally comes with various shades and lengths of red tape that must be navigated. Each region and most countries have unique regulations specifically for electronic products. Compliance Testing has worked with every major market’s regulatory bodies and understands the planning it takes to get a product ready.
Taking into consideration your target markets, required safety mechanisms needed for your product type and any applicable component restrictions before finalizing a design can save hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on the other side. But what are the common international regulations for electrical products?
Entering the EU With CE
The EU market is one of the first goals for North American companies to enter and requires the CE marking on each of their products. The standards required for this marking are referred to as the EN standards and lays out performance and safety requirements based on the type of electrical product.
CE markings indicate that the manufacturer of the product has verified that all EN standards are met making it a self-declaration. Any CE marked product can be audited for compliance verification where even the CE mark itself has to be a specific set of dimensions to be compliant.
OSHA and NRTLs
When it comes to the US market, there are separate regulations for communication and electrical products even though these systems are highly interwoven. OSHA, or Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is tasked with protecting workers from unsafe conditions which includes keeping commercial electrical systems safe for use.
The UL marking is one of the most common from an NRTL which stands for Nationally Recognised Testing Laboratory meaning it’s gotten the stamp of approval from OSHA to perform certification on their behalf. While CE markings are placed and backed by the manufacturer, NRTL symbols show which lab has taken ownership of that specific product’s performance and compliance prior to hitting the market.
It should be noted that the ongoing compliance of products still falls on the manufacturer and NRTLs are only responsible for the initial testing.
The International CB Scheme
Part of the International Electrotechnical Commission, or IEC, is the Certification Body, or CB, which created a system for transferring and accepting certifications from different markets and regions. The IEC is the largest body of agents that create standards for technical and electrical products around the world.
Receiving CB Scheme approval opens up half of the world markets and acts as a testament to the quality of your product and engineering. It can also bypass certain regulatory checks done at the country or state level thanks to its higher requirements. This also limits the chances of recall if there’s an inspection of your product after launch.
ISO 9000 for Consumer and Investor Protection
A different form of regulations, ISO 9000 is a family of quality management requirements and applies to every industry and business. Manufacturers use these guidelines to make sure quality is maintained and new products are able to deliver on expectations set during the design phase.
Keeping this in mind can help determine which manufacturer you work with to bring your products to life as their ISO registration signifies due diligence, a tracked and recorded operating history and a commitment to continued excellence in product delivery.
Overall, the international regulations for electrical products are becoming more standardized every year. The availability and accessibility of technology has created the need for more robust certification transferring systems, but for now the markings from respective regulatory bodies will have to do.