CE Marking Directive

What is the CE Marking Directive?

CE marking identifies a product as conforming to one or more European Directives. When a manufacturer affixes a CE mark logo to their product they are declaring compliance with ALL RELEVANT European Directives.

When did the CE Mark Logo Start to be Used?

CE marking for electronic equipment began on the 1st of January 1996. From that date onwards a CE mark logo must be carried by all electronic instrumentation sold within the European Economic Area. The regulations do not apply retrospectively.

What does a CE mark look like?

CE Mark

Have a look on the manufacturer's nameplate that appears on any instrument sold in the European Union and you will see it: a distinctive C and E.

Additionally, if applicable, the CE logo may be accompanied by the four digit identification number of the notified body involved in the conformity assessment procedure.

What CE Directives are Relevant to Instrumentation?

- Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Directive 2004/108/EC. This replaced 89/336/EEC in July 2007,
- The Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU,
- Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) 2014/68/EU
- The ATEX Directive 2014/34/EU, Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres, known as ATEX,
- 2014/32/EU, Measuring Instruments Directive, known as MID.

Which Countries Demand a CE mark?

All 27 member countries of the European Union (EU), the 4 member countries of EFTA (European Free Trade Association), and Turkey consider it to be mandatory. It is estimated that around 70% of all products sold in these countries require to be marked. CE marking obtained from one EU country is valid in all other EU countries, and in the EFTA countries. It permits free movement of the product within all 30 plus countries.

Who belongs to the European Union?

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.

Note that the UK is no longer a member - see below for how the UK will handle CE marking after Brexit.

Who belongs to EFTA?

Since February 2005 there has only been four members; Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.



CE Marking after Brexit

Although the UK formally left the European Union on 31st January 2020 CE marking is integral to the Single Market so UK instrument manufacturers will need to apply EU rules if they want to continue to trade with the EU.

The UKCA (UK Conformity Assessment) mark is a new UK product marking that will be required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most products that previously required the CE mark. It will not be recognized in the EU market. Products that require CE marking will still need a CE marking to be sold in the EU.

Who Ensures Compliance?

The law applies to the manufacturer, importer, supplier and the customer.

It is an offence to supply a product, which is not CE marked, regardless of where it is made. Therefore the manufacturer, importer and supplier must ensure products are CE marked.

It is also an offence to use unmarked products. Therefore the purchaser must ensure products are CE marked.

The relevant regulatory body in the country concerned is charged with enforcing the law. In the UK this falls to the trading standards department of local authorities.

If you suspect that a manufacturer is misusing the CE mark, you can request a certificate of conformity and/or a declaration of conformance. This should provide test results and other information about how the item meets the relevant requirements as well as stating which harmonised European Standard the product has been CE marked as conforming to.

The penalties for not conforming to CE marking legislation can include fines and imprisonment.

Spare Parts and CE Marking

Components with no intrinsic function e.g. a circuit board, do not require a CE mark. However, for example, an electronic pressure instrument that is a spare part for a compressor package would require to be marked.

Technical Library

The following pages on Control and Instrumentation.com give some specific examples of where CE marking is used to help with explosion prevention, and other topics associated with process plant safety:


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Technical Bookshop

For those who want to delve further into ATEX or just want to broaden their knowledge of functional safety, then the following books from Amazon will be of interest