CE marking process
CE Marking is included in the European Regulation (2019/945). Drones are systems to be considered as products that can be commercialized within the European Union and, therefore, must follow similar rules to other industrial sectors, which implies the main concept of Declaration of Conformity.
Therefore, in this concern, CE marking guarantees that a product meets the requirements necessary to be sold and enjoy free circulation in the European market.
As for the CE marking process, this would be the standard process:
- Analyze applicable European Directives.
- Determine essential requirements to comply with.
- Identify European Standards to prove compliance with those requirements.
- Risk Analysis and how to mitigate them.
- Testing of the equipment for those standards.
- If the standard is harmonized, the manufacturer can perform the tests in their own facilities (if they have the means).
- If the standard is not harmonized or the manufacturer doesn’t have the means, they could perform them at a ‘third party’ (Testing laboratory).
- Create the technical file, this would be requested upon a market inspection.
- Once all the previous points are completed, the manufacturer can place the CE Marking label on its product.
CE Marking guarantees two essential issues:
- Compliance with all relevant European Directives, what is a legal requirement to place a system on the market.
- The product has successfully fulfilled the relevant conformity assessment procedures.
CE Marking: the main means to show compliance
The commmercialization of different drones’ classes in the European Union has been considered by regulators as a priority since the beginning. As a result, different requirements have been included in the mentioned Regulation to guarantee a safe product to be used in the shared airspace.
The CE Marking is the main means to show compliance with safety rules to commercialize drones inside the Member States. This mandatory marking is applied in different sectors, and the Drone Industry is not the exception. Actually, this is a recommended practice for the introduction of products with potential hazards associated. Beyond a safe operation, it is important to ensure a safe product for the common European market.
Obtaining the CE marking is the responsibility of the manufacturer or its authorized legal representative. For a product to bear the CE marking, the product manufacturer must declare, under its sole responsibility, the product’s conformity with all the requirements laid down in the applicable Community Directives.
CE marking process for drones: Detailed explanation
1. Identification of applicable directives and their application requirements
The first step is the identification of the applicable directives. In this case, the main document to consider is the Delegated Regulation 2019/945 (including the respective amendment). Following it, we must also evaluate a drone system against the Radio Equipment (including EMC concerns) and Machinery Directives requirements. For these Directives, there are several Harmonized Standards developed as a proof of compliance means and usually focused on specific parts of the Directive.
2. Appropriate route for CE declaration of conformity
The next steps are dedicated to selecting the appropriate route for conformity (applicable modules, i.e., Module A, or Module B+ Module C…) and the means for compliance for each requirement previously identified. Read more about Product Conformity Assessment.
3. Assessment for Products Conformity and Technical Dossier Compilation
An integral product conformity assessment is the main concept considered for the achievement of our system reliability. The product conformity assessment includes testing, inspection, and certification.
Once the assessment has been completed, the manufacturer or the authorized representative must draw up a declaration of conformity (DoC).
4. End of the process: Affix CE Marking for drones
Once the successful execution of tests and evaluations are verified, the manufacturer can affix the CE Marking and the Class Label systems. It is also important to identify the official European Marking because there are other similar marks in the market.
The CE marking shall be visibly, legibly, and indelibly affixed to the product or the data plate affixed to it. When this is not possible or is not justified due to the size of the product, it will be placed in the packaging.
The UAS class identification label shall be affixed to the vehicle and its packaging in a visible, legible and indelible manner and shall be at least 5 mm high. It shall be prohibited to place markings, signs, or inscriptions on a product that may confuse third parties regarding the meaning or form of the class identification label.
Together with the CE marking for drones, these labels are the way to verify and validate the safety capabilities of a machine to comply with the essential requirement promoted by the European Commission.