BRE Global turns up heat on cable CE marking as deadline looms
The 1st July 2017 deadline, when CE marking becomes mandatory for power, control and communication cables placed on the European market, is just around the corner, warns BRE Global.
“Despite market uncertainty following BREXIT, CE marking will remain a prerequisite for any manufacturer, importer and/or distributor wishing to sell their cable within the European Union,” says Damien Ward, Senior Cable Certification Manager at BRE Global.
The company is a notified body for the testing and certification of a wide portfolio of construction products and systems and is well versed with the requirements of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR).
With the publication of EN 50575, the EU’s harmonised product standard for power, control and communication cables for permanent use in buildings, manufacturers entered a window of transition to comply with regulation. But despite a deadline extension from December 2016 to July 2017, some manufacturers are still holding back, either daunted by the process or hesitant in the confusing aftermath of the BREXIT vote.
“Once EN 50575 was officially cited, many cable manufacturers were quick off the mark to submit their products,” says Mr Ward. “But time is ticking for anyone who has not yet acted, especially those with extensive ranges or going for the higher performance classes which, though more involved, will maximise trading opportunities.”
CE marking for cable products involves a number of important steps
Classification Fca can be self-declared by the manufacturer while classifications Dca and Eca require testing by a notified test laboratory. But Aca, Bca and Cca follow a more complex certification process which must be undertaken by a notified certification body such as BRE Global.
This process mainly involves testing to two fire performance standards, EN 50399 and EN 60332-1-2, followed by classification to EN 13501-6 based on the outcome of the tests. The EN 50575 standard also includes the use of new extended field of application (EXAP) rules that allow for the testing of a family of products to be classified to a certain fire property without testing all of the individual members of the family.
The safety testing requirement for cable CE marking is exclusively focused on fire performance.
Mr Ward continues: “BRE Global has preeminent expertise in fire performance testing and a trusted reputation in product certification to regulatory standards, being a UKAS accredited laboratory for testing and a notified body for many types of construction products under the CPR.
“We can assure our clients of a complete and efficient international service, including factory visits and inspections where the cable classification demands.”
He adds that clients need to think carefully about the markets and applications they want to target when deciding on the CE marking classifications for their products. EU countries are free to stipulate which cable classifications they require in their national building regulations, he points out. While the Eca and Fca classes involve the lowest cost and effort, they may not deliver the best return long-term.
CE marking programmes
“Not all EU countries have yet decided on which CE marking classifications they will accept for different applications,” says Mr Ward. “But this should not deter manufacturers from getting under way with their CE marking programmes as this will be a mandatory legal requirement when placing cables onto the market within the EU from July 2017.
“We can help clarify the CE marking requirements for the client’s range, explain the product applications for the different classifications, and identify the best approach to EXAP testing and the selection of the correct cable samples for it. We are exceptionally well resourced and experienced in all aspects of CE marking to make compliance as easy and pain free for clients as possible.”
The company is encouraging manufacturers to contact its cables certification team for information on their CE marking and product testing requirements, however small, large or technically complex.
Mr Ward adds: “The sooner manufacturers start the process, the sooner they will be able to capitalise on their CE marking in Europe.”
This article was originally published by Electrical Wholesaler News Magazine
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