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Friday, April 2, 2010

exporting to EU

Approval for European Union

Free movement of goods is a cornerstone of the single market. The mechanisms in place to achieve this aim are based on prevention of new barriers to trade, mutual recognition and technical harmonisation.

CE markCE marking is a mandatory conformity mark requirement for all products offered for sale within the European Economic Area (EEA) covering the European Union (EU). The idea of the CE marking is provide a clear indication that a given product meets the requirements of relevant CE marking directives and therefore should not be stopped at Member State borders and should enjoy free movement between Member States.

The CE marking was originally intended for customs officers at entry points to the EU and between Member States to indicate compliance with the appropriate requirements. Over time however the CE marking has been adopted to mean more (even if not strictly true) – the product is safe and complies with legislation.

New Approach directives are based on the following principles.

  • Harmonisation is limited to essential requirements.

  • Only products fulfilling the essential requirements may be placed on the market and put into service.

  • Harmonised standards, the reference numbers of which have been published in the Official Journal and which have been transposed into national standards, are presumed to conform to the corresponding essential requirements.

  • Application of harmonised standards or other technical specifications remains voluntary, and manufacturers are free to choose any technical solution that provides compliance with the essential requirements.


TRaC achieves IECEx qualification

Manufacturers of equipment designed for operation in hazardous areas and explosive atmospheres can simplify the process of marketing their products internationally, using the services of test house TRaC, which is now qualified under the IECEx System.

IECEx CertificationIECEx is an internationally-recognised Conformity Assessment System that runs under the auspices of the IEC; it deals with equipment that operates in any environment where there is a risk of explosion due to the materials used within it. Under a designation accepted in, currently, 31 countries, all such locations are known as Ex Areas, and products tested and found to be safe for use in those areas, as Ex Equipment. Using an electronic certification scheme, equipment that has passed all the required tests is listed on a single database, and is accepted as the basis for national approval in any of the participating countries: manufacturers can reduce costs and time-to-market using this effective short-cut.

TRaC now offers IECEx services, including the capability to test and certify equipment, enabling it to be sold in any IECEx participating countries - which include the UK, USA, and Canada, and also emerging markets such as Russia, China, Brazil and India. IECEx operates alongside existing certification schemes such as the European ATEX product directive for hazardous location equipment. While there are detailed differences between certification regimes, TRaC - as a facility qualified in both ATEX and IECEx systems – can construct a single test programme that accommodates any additional testing.

Ex Equipment certification applies to a much wider range of equipment than might at first be thought. In addition to the obvious hazardous-areas such as oil refineries, fuel stations and sugar processing facilities, Ex Areas include such diverse environments as paint spray booths (due to the presence of flammable solvents) and wood- and metal-workshops (where there can be highly flammable dust residues).


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