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EETE SEPT 2013

Towards a global product testing scheme By Jean-Louis Evans A single test that gives manufacturers access to international markets for their electrical products seems like utopia. However, the IECEE CB Scheme is the world’s first international system for the mutual acceptance of test reports and certificates for electrical and electronic components, equipment and products. This offers a single test that gives manufacturers access to international markets for their electronic products, covering both electrical safety and EMC. The main objective of the CB Scheme is to facilitate trade by promoting the harmonisation of individual national standards with international ones. This multilateral agreement significantly reduces the need for duplicate testing, is operational in over 50 countries, and is being used by more than 15,000 manufacturers worldwide. It is also widely accepted beyond the countries that formally participate in the scheme. The National Committee of each member country designates its National Jean-Louis Evans, Managing Director at TÜV SÜD Product Service “While the CB scheme helps a product gain individual country approval, it does not completely eliminate the need for additional “in-country” approval or testing, but does get the manufacturer 85 Certification Body (NCB) or Bodies, which are responsible for issuing CB Test Certificates. Testing is conducted by CB Test Laboratories (CBTLs) affiliated to the NCBs, and tests are based on the use of international (IEC / CISPR) standards and the resultant per cent of the way there.” CB Test Certificate proves that a product complies with those standards. Before the CB Scheme, manufacturers’ only option was to have their products tested and certified by many different national testing laboratories/certification bodies. Under the CB scheme they now only have to deal with one CBTL of their choice. However many companies, unaware of the CB Scheme, still apply for testing and certificates with multiple certification bodies to gain access to individual export markets. This significantly slows down time to market for new products and also increases development costs, potentially making products more expensive and less competitive. Visa required? While the CB scheme helps a product gain individual country approval, it does not completely eliminate the need for additional “in-country” approval or testing, but does get the manufacturer 85 per cent of the way there. Declared national differences are considered as part of the testing process which helps to ensure that a manufacturer meets all the requirements of their target markets. Such differences include ‘country deviations’, which are national characteristics or practices that cannot be changed, including climatic or electrical earthing conditions. ‘Regulatory Requirements’ also cover the differing restrictions, licenses, and laws imposed by the government or the national authority. Once the manufacturer has their CB Test Report and Certificate, they can use this to obtain national approvals in many other member countries. The manufacturer is required to submit an application, and may also be required to provide a product sample in the country of destination. However, under the CB scheme reports and certificates can only be rejected with good technical justification. To summarise, the CB Scheme follows three simple steps: First, the product is submitted to CBTL for testing in accordance with international standards and the National Deviations of target countries. The product is then assessed and a CB Test Report and Certificate issued to the client. Last, the client (or its representative) submits the product, the CB Test Report and the CB Test Certificate to NCBs in target countries to obtain national certification. This confirms that the product conforms to local standards. As it reduces the need for duplicate testing, the CB Scheme offers obvious advantages, delivering the ability to carry out one test programme to gain access to many international markets, faster and at a lower cost. Relative to the alternative of embarking on the lengthy and expensive approach of conducting multiple tests to satisfy individual country requirements, this is a seamless process and brings international trade a step closer to the utopian ideal of ‘one test, one market’. Jean-Louis Evans is Managing Director at TÜV SÜD Product Service - www.tuev-sued.de, a global product testing and certification organisation, and at its sister company, TÜV SÜD BABT for radio and telecommunications certification. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe September 2013 35


EETE SEPT 2013
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