CE MARKING MAY BECOME OBSOLETE
By Kim Boll Jensen, Bolls Rådgivnings- & Testcenter
Once the CE marking, with all its testing and documentation requirements, is in place, most expect to be covered for the rest of the product's life. This is only true for products with a short lifetime. Indeed, there are certain "traps" that surprise many manufacturers.
The Directives require that all products are produced to the latest/applicable standards at all times. Information on which standards are applicable can be found on the Internet (see Useful links) under Harmonised Standards. Here you should look at the dow date (dow = Date Of Withdrawal), which indicates the latest date for withdrawal of the old standard. Or, to put it a little more understandably, the latest date by which the new standard must be complied with.
It will typically be 2-3 years from the time a new standard is published in the Official Journal until the old one is deleted, i.e. a transitional period of 2-3 years.
The Low Voltage Directive is relatively innocent. There are many product family standards that have been in use for many years. When a product is approved to the standards in force, there are usually fairly long transition periods between the standard being used and the new version of the standard coming into force. Almost no new product family standards are introduced under this Directive.
BUT beware of the EMC and R&TTE (radio and telecommunications terminal) directives!
As far as the EMC directive is concerning, in the first several years since the CE marking was introduced, many products have only had to comply with generic standards, but slowly more and more product family standards are emerging. If your product is covered by one of these, you must move to conformity according to the product family standard rather than the generic one. For example, there will be a new standard covering both IT and audio equipment , but more changes are on the way.