If I sell to a european customer a simple 1U rack-mount server in a 19-inch rack, do I need to test the conformity of the whole "thing"? The server itself has CE mark, not sure about the 19-inch rack (as I don't know whether CE marking is mandatory for this kind of product).

What if the 19-inch rack includes PDUs (which are CE marked)?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Fairly sure the answer is "no" although as with most things CE this is hard to source. Presumably it would ship disassembled? \$\endgroup\$ – pjc50 Oct 5 '20 at 8:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pjc50 yes but we are also responsible for on-site installation \$\endgroup\$ – kuma Oct 5 '20 at 8:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Speak with the server rack sellers. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Oct 5 '20 at 9:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The PDUs will need CE marking. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Oct 5 '20 at 11:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrianDrummond sure, they have. Updated question for clarity \$\endgroup\$ – kuma Oct 5 '20 at 12:13

If the rack in question is just a "dumb metal component" containing no electronics, no shielding for the purpose of EMC, is not purposely used as antenna ground and does not contribute negatively to radio or EMC when used in the intended environment, then you are excluded from most of the EU directives regarding electronics.

The EMC Directive 2014/30/EU has the following exception in its scope (Article 2):

This Directive shall not apply to: /--/
(d) equipment the inherent nature of the physical characteristics of which is such that:

(i) it is incapable of generating or contributing to electromagnetic emissions which exceed a level allowing radio and telecommunication equipment and other equipment to operate as intended; and

(ii) it operates without unacceptable degradation in the presence of the electromagnetic disturbance normally consequent upon its intended use;

RED and LVD directives will have similar wordings. RoHS does indeed only apply to electronics. You may however still have to take the WEEE and REACH environmental directives in account, regarding recycling and banned chemicals. Depending on what your product contains - be wary of cadmium and various flame retardants in particular.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It’s true that if you just sell the rack, you don’t need to consider EMC. However, if you sell a rack and a server, either as a complete unit or as separate components to be assembled by the end-user, then you fall under the EMC regulations. \$\endgroup\$ – user110971 Oct 7 '20 at 14:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user110971 Yep, whoever puts the whole thing together as the final product ends up with all responsibilities including CE marking. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Oct 7 '20 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin WEEE and REACH are not CE marking directives/regulations, are they? \$\endgroup\$ – kuma Oct 7 '20 at 16:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @kuma Not WEEE, though it comes with other marking (the garbage bin). I'm not certain about REACH. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Oct 8 '20 at 6:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GrahamStevenson Yes, this is a huge problem with EU legislation. Bureaucrats drafting rules even though they have no practical experience of anything, including how to run a company or indeed engineering. And so they assume that every company out there is Microsoft-sized and can hire their own "Directive expert" who sits and read directives and standards all day long. In practice almost every company is cutting corners with these directives at some extent. Particularly when they go against common sense, which is often the case. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Oct 9 '20 at 6:56

This appears to be a legal question so: I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Now that's out of the way, it seems that you indeed need to place a CE mark on your product. Here is what the legislation in the U.K. requires:

Requirements for placing on the market

  1. No person shall place on the market apparatus unless either the following requirements, or the corresponding requirements of the EMC Directive as implemented under the law of another state in the Community, are met—

(a)the apparatus is compliant with the essential requirements;

(b)compliance with the essential requirements has been demonstrated in accordance with regulation 18;

(c)the technical documentation including any statement issued by a notified body under regulation 20 has been prepared and is available to the enforcement authority on request;

(d)the CE marking has been properly affixed by the manufacturer or his authorised representative in accordance with regulation 21;

(e)an EC declaration of conformity has been issued in accordance with the requirements of regulation 22;

(f)each apparatus is identified in terms of type, batch, serial number or any information allowing for identification of the apparatus;

(g)each apparatus is accompanied by the name and address of the manufacturer and if he is not established in the Community, the name and address of the responsible person;

(h)the manufacturer has provided information on any specific precautions that must be taken when the apparatus is assembled, installed, maintained or used in order to ensure that when put into service the apparatus complies with the essential requirements;

(i)apparatus for which compliance with the essential requirements is not ensured in residential areas is accompanied by a clear indication of this restriction of use and where appropriate this indication is also on the packaging; and

(j)the information required to enable the apparatus to be used in accordance with its intended purpose is contained in the instructions accompanying the apparatus.

This is from The Electromagnetic Compatibility Regulations 2006. Look at (d). It specifically prohibits you to put a device on the market, if you have not affixed the CE marking to the device, or to the packaging, if there is not enough space, as stated in 21.

An apparatus is defines as:

3.—(1) In these Regulations, “apparatus” means any finished appliance or combination of appliances made commercially available as a single functional unit, intended for the end user and liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance, or the performance of which is liable to be affected by such disturbance and includes—

(a) components or sub-assemblies intended for incorporation into an apparatus by an end-user, which are liable to generate electromagnetic disturbance, or the performance of which is liable to be affected by such disturbance;

(b) mobile installations defined as a combination of apparatus and, where applicable, other devices, intended to be moved and operated in a range of locations;

The only exceptions are:

  1. The requirements in regulation 15 and 16 shall not apply to—

(a)the placing on the market of apparatus before 20th July 2009; and

(b)the putting into service of apparatus placed on the market before 20th July 2009, where, on or before 19th July 2007, a declaration of conformity in respect of such apparatus has been issued by the manufacturer or his authorised representative pursuant to Article 10.1 or 10.2 of Directive 89/336/EEC as implemented in the United Kingdom to enable it to be placed on the market or put into service, or both.

And electromagnetically benign equipment:

  1. These Regulations do not apply to equipment the inherent qualities of which are such that—

(a)it is incapable of generating or contributing to electromagnetic emissions which exceed a level allowing radio and telecommunication equipment and other equipment to operate as intended; and

(b)it will operate without unacceptable degradation in the presence of electromagnetic disturbance normally consequent upon its intended use.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Only valid until 2022 when you will need a UKCA mark instead. \$\endgroup\$ – pipe Oct 7 '20 at 13:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ These would be pre-Brexit rules so it's basically the EMC directive which applies universally to the whole EU. However, you are missing the scope part. \$\endgroup\$ – Lundin Oct 7 '20 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @pipe Who knows what’s going to happen. I expect little to change initially. You’ll need to put the new marking but underneath the regulations will be virtually identical. I gave the UK as an example because, although similar laws are present in other jurisdictions, the UK statutes are written in English. \$\endgroup\$ – user110971 Oct 7 '20 at 13:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Lundin It was getting a bit long for an answer. It should point the OP in the right direction. \$\endgroup\$ – user110971 Oct 7 '20 at 13:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ But WHO checks anyway ??? \$\endgroup\$ – Graham Stevenson Oct 8 '20 at 14:02

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