We recently fielded a question from a client who had completed all the required testing for their product and asked a question that I’m sure many of you have also asked: “What now?”. The answer, in this case, is to apply all the results of testing we have performed to “certification marks” and decide what we want need to apply to the product or product materials.
International marking regulations can be complex and once you move past the big three (United States, Canada, and Europe) it can, in some cases, be extremely tricky. In this post, I’ll go over some of the more common requirements as well as some specific country cases.
United States and Canadian Safety Listing – in this case, the Nationally Recognized Test Lab (NRTL) that we partner with, is SGS. Their certification mark is used when labeling the product. This mark is heavily controlled, and approval of the associated mark and label is part of the safety approval process. The SGS Q-Mark can only be used once you obtain a successful safety listing report.
FCC (United States) – FCC labeling requirements can differ. They can change, depending on the specifications of the product, on whether it contains unapproved wireless transmitters, and/or on whether it contains a pre-approved wireless transmitter(s). For products that fall under the FCC Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) pathway affixing an FCC label to the product is not a requirement, however, the manufacturer must include a statement in their manual as called out in KDB Publication Number 784748 Appendix A (A.3). For FCC certification, where filing with the commission occurs and an actual FCC ID is provided for the device in question, that same KDB document details the marking requirements under Section 3, and the FCC logo cannot be applied to the finished product.
ISED (Canada) – Pathways to marking a product in Canada mirror the FCC requirements detailed above. For intentional radiators, information for labeling can be found in Section 4 of RSS-Gen Issue 5. Labeling requirements for unintentional products or products that would fall under the SDoC procedure for FCC can be found in Section 5.3.2 of ICES-Gen Issue 1.
CE Certification (Europe) – once you have verified that your product meets the requirements of all applicable directives, you will apply the “CE” mark on the product showing compliance. Here are the requirements as listed on the Europa website, “The CE marking must be visible, legible, and indelible. The CE marking must consist of the initials “CE”, both letters should have the same vertical dimension and be no smaller than 5mm (unless specified differently in the relevant product requirements).”
CB Scheme (International) – There are no labels associated specifically with the CB scheme IEC testing. You will receive a CB test report and CB certificate as deliverables from a successful test. A CB scheme is “a multilateral certification system based on the IEC International Standards.” More information on the CB scheme can be found on the IECEE website.
Japan – products may fall into one of two categories. Category A devices are called “specified devices” and are devices that have a history of accidents in the marketplace. These devices must carry the Diamond PSE mark. Category B devices are called “non-specified electrical products” and are lower-risk products that are subject to a self-declaration scheme like CE. These products must be marked with the Circle PSE mark. For EMC products that fall into the category of multimedia equipment (MME), compliance with Voluntary Control Council for Interference (VCCI) is mandatory. Upon completion, use of the VCCI mark is allowed. Wireless transmitters must obtain MIC certification. More information on the act, testing, and marking requirements can be found on the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) website.
South Korea – Upon completion of required testing, clients must affix the KC (Korea Certification) to their product. The mark confirms that the product meets the relevant Korean Safety and EMC standards. Korea also has a KS Mark that indicates the product complies with the Korean Industrial Standards (KS). This mark is granted by a certification body and is mostly voluntary. More information about these marks and the requirements for South Korea can be found here.
Australia/New Zealand – Successful completion of required EMC and safety testing will allow the client to place the Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) on the product. It signifies compliance with two different schemes: Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Labeling requirements can be found on the EESS website
South Africa – A certification by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) provides access to the South African marketplace, specifically for manufacturers of wireless technology. Guidelines for how to affix the ICASA label as well as what it should look like can be found on the ICASA website
Mexico – Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM) certification applies to any number of up to 2,000 product categories. Once the product is certified to the appropriate NOM safety standard (most of which are based on current IEC standards) and any applicable telecom testing is completed (if the product will connect to the public telecom network) the NOM mark may be applied to the product. Additional information can be found on the Mexican Government’s Website.
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