An update on CE Marking Electrical Cable

CE Marking Wire and Cable

A picture showing a selection of wire and cable products
Domestic and European Wire and Cable Products

In an earlier post, I wrote about the requirements for CE Marking wire and cable and discussed the <HAR> mark. In 2016, the Construction Products Regulation 305/2011 (CPR) came into effect, replacing the Construction Products Directive 89/106/EEC. The CPR included provisions covering any kind of materials that could be used in construction, and that includes electrical cables.

A New Standard under the CPR

A new standard was approved, EN 50575, covering the characteristics of power, control and communication cables used in permanent installations in buildings. EN 50575 covers the reaction of cables to fire. The standard provides requirements for four characteristics: flame spread, smoke generation, the formation?of molten droplets and acid content. The result is a new set of markings for cables covered by the standard, including CE Marking. Also required by the CPR is a Declaration of Performance, not a Declaration of Conformity. The Declaration of Performance provides different information than?that found?in a Declaration of Conformity and they are NOT?interchangeable.

Application of EN 50575

EN 50575 only applies to cables or wiring products intended for use in construction. It should not be applied to wiring materials used for internal wiring of appliances and products. These products are outside the scope of the CPR and therefore are also outside the scope of EN 50575.

Conclusions

  • Cables used for permanent installation in buildings must be CE Marked starting 1-Jul-2017
  • Wire and cable products used in machines and appliances are not affected by EN 50575, and therefore should not be CE Marked
  • Cables used to interconnect machinery and which are permanently installed into building infrastructure (e.g., Ethernet cables and other interconnecting cables run through building structures in permanent wireways or in plenum spaces) require CE Marking as of 1-Jul-17
  • Wire and cable products, like line-cord assemblies, for example, require a CE Mark because they are complete products and are covered by a specific EN Standard under the Low Voltage Directive.

Here’s a good summary of the new requirements and an explanation of the new markings in a video by General Cable. Full disclosure: we have no relationship with General Cable or any other wire and cable manufacturer.

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5 thoughts on “An update on CE Marking Electrical Cable

  1. Thank you for your post, as always most instructive.

    As a Canadian manufacturer of semi-custom industrial equipments exported World Wide, we are manufacturing our own electrical & control panels. In those panels, the wire used would typically either be TEW for CSA/NEC designs or H07V-K for CE designs (we also have a dual TEW/H07V-K wire we sometime use).

    Using different types of wiring does cause manufacturing headaches: 1) we have to store both types of wires in various sizes from 1mm2 to 25mm2 and in various colors (blue, black, red, white). 2) we have to make sure storage is segregated as to avoid mix-ups and making sure staff uses the right wire 3) sourcing H07V-K wire is difficult (much less available) and more expensive (the dual-approval wire is very expensive and we are using it for larger wire sizes to avoid stocking two different types). 4) CE/H07V-K markings are almost unreadable (especially on small sizes) as they are engraved markings as opposed to CSA/TEW markings which are printed markings 5) CE/H07V-K “dark-blue” color is rather inconsistent across purchased batches, while TEW dark-blue is more consistent.

    After reading through your assessment we are kind of wondering if going all-in with TEW-only would be a right thing for us, although my first reaction to this is that we have to ensure the TEW material does meet CE technical requirements. If a wire or device does not have CE markings, as the manufacturer we are the ones applying the CE mark on the overall product. Using a CE-marked product does provide us with some confidence to the end-compliance to CE regulation for our marking. However, on the other hand TEW marked wire would not be some brand-less-chinese-source-low-quality wire. It is still a good quality wire with good electric insulation, and if it is good/safe enough for us Canadians, why wouldn’t it be good/safe enough for European, Middle-Eastern, Chinese folks.

    To answer that question, in an ideal world I would like to do a full review the H07V-K requirements/tests and compare against TEW requirements/tests and get a good sense of the relevant differences. But this is a rather tedious process, going through dozens of normative references, trying to make sense of very technical/specialized stuff. I am not even sure where I would start this process from! And I am not even sure where that would lead us in the end… would we get to the answer we wish for?

    So, I am wondering what is your take on this? I am not asking you to do that comparison nor to put your head on the block with an answer! I am just wondering what you think about differences in CSA vs CE wire types such as TEW/H07V-K, obvious pitfalls to try to avoid, etc.

    1. Philibert,

      I have been advising my clients building CE Marked machinery here in Canada to use TEW or MTW (as appropriate) in their designs. Ive given this advice for nearly 20 years and have yet to have a problem come up. The critical aspects must be observed: Voltage rating, separation, temperature rating, ampacity, etc.

      The only conductor where I think there is value in more closely observing the EU scheme is the PE conductor. These conductors are required by EN 60204-1 to have a 30/70 or 70/30 ratio GREEN to YELLOW. I have had issues on projects where wire with green insulation had a yellow stripe painted on the jacket. This type of wire, common here in Canada, was rejected in Germany. So, extruded bi-colour insulation on the PE conductor is a must. All other conductors can be normal wiring materials. Where colour coding issues come up, coloured heat shrink tubing can be used to place a 25-50 mm coloured sleeve on the terminations. Also note that the only conductors whose insulation colours are mandated in EN 60204-1 are the PE and the Neutral. All others are recommended colours, not mandatory.

      I have had a few conversations with EU wire and cable vendors, as well as a number of Notified Bodies, and I have yet to have any of them come back to me with mandatory requirement for H07V-K wiring products.

      One final point – EN 60204-1 mandates certain electrical tests for the finished machine. IEC 61439-1 and -2 mandate certain tests for electrical assemblies. If the Assemblies incorporated into the machine pass the IEC 61439-1/-2 tests and the finished machine passes the EN 60204-1 tests, in my opinion, the system is “good-to-go” and I would mark it. A control panel or a junction box could be considered an electrical assembly. EN 60204-1 specifically accepts assemblies constructed under IEC 61439-1/-2.

      If you would like to take this conversation into a private environment, please feel free to email me directly or call our office. See the Compliance inSight links on the sidebar.

  2. Thank you for your post, as always most instructive.

    As a Canadian manufacturer of semi-custom industrial equipments exported World Wide, we are manufacturing our own electrical & control panels. In those panels, the wire used would typically either be TEW for CSA/NEC designs or H07V-K for CE designs (we also have a dual TEW/H07V-K wire we sometime use).

    Using different types of wiring does cause manufacturing headaches: 1) we have to store both types of wires in various sizes from 1mm2 to 25mm2 and in various colors (blue, black, red, white). 2) we have to make sure storage is segregated as to avoid mix-ups and making sure staff uses the right wire 3) sourcing H07V-K wire is difficult (much less available) and more expensive (the dual-approval wire is very expensive and we are using it for larger wire sizes to avoid stocking two different types). 4) CE/H07V-K markings are almost unreadable (especially on small sizes) as they are engraved markings as opposed to CSA/TEW markings which are printed markings 5) CE/H07V-K “dark-blue” color is rather inconsistent across purchased batches, while TEW dark-blue is more consistent.

    After reading through your assessment we are kind of wondering if going all-in with TEW-only would be a right thing for us, although my first reaction to this is that we have to ensure the TEW material does meet CE technical requirements. If a wire or device does not have CE markings, as the manufacturer we are the ones applying the CE mark on the overall product. Using a CE-marked product does provide us with some confidence to the end-compliance to CE regulation for our marking. However, on the other hand TEW marked wire would not be some brand-less-chinese-source-low-quality wire. It is still a good quality wire with good electric insulation, and if it is good/safe enough for us Canadians, why would it be good/safe enough for European, Middle-Eastern, Chinese folks.

    To answer that question, in an ideal world I would like to do a full review the H07V-K requirements/tests and compare against TEW requirements/tests and get a good sense of the relevant differences. But this is a rather tedious process, going through dozens of normative references, trying to make sense of very technical/specialized stuff. I am not even sure where I would start this process from! And I am not even sure where that would lead us in the end… would we get to the answer we wish for?

    So, I am wondering what is your take on this? I am not asking you to do that comparison nor to put your head on the block with an answer! I am just wondering what you think about differences in CSA vs CE wire types such as TEW/H07V-K, obvious pitfalls to try to avoid, etc.

    1. Philib?rt, did you see me previous post on CE Marking wire and cable from a couple of years ago? That might answer your questions. In addition, remember that you do electrical safety testing on the finished equipment. Through that testing you are verifying that the wire insulation is adequate for both surge withstand and ohmic resistance. If this doesn’t answer your question I’d be happy to discuss it in more depth with you. ?

    2. Philibert,

      It sounds like you’ve been thinking about the CEMarked wire question for a while! My first question for you is: Have you read my previous post on CE Marking wire and cable? https://machinerysafety101.com/2013/12/20/ce-marking-wire-and-cable-necessity-or-luxury/. In that article I cover the basis for marking of wire and cable based products (think line cords and completed cable assemblies), but not raw wire products. I also talk about the need for markings. That article may answer your question. If not, I’d be happy to have a deeper discussion with you on this topic.

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