Fire safety and certification of E&E products in Europe

Basically, there are several European directives covering electrical equipment and determining general safety aspects. The most important ones are the Low Voltage Directive (LVD), the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive (EMC), the Machinery Directive, and more generally, the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD).  

Harmonised product standards give detailed descriptions of general safety requirements stated in the European directives; these include fire safety. The most important standards are EN 60950-1 (Information technology equipment), EN 60065 (Audio, video and similar electronic apparatus), and EN 60335-1 (Household and similar electrical appliances).

In order to obtain a national test mark or a CE-Mark for IT, audio/video equipment and household appliances, certification bodies (CB) perform fire testing and issue test reports in the frame of the CB Scheme. The CB Scheme is a vast international arrangement established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for mutual acceptance of test reports among participating certification organizations in the field of electrical and electronic equipment. This worldwide system for conformity testing and certification of electrotechnical equipment and components (IECEE) allows national certification in more than 50 member countries. The scheme covers the full scope of low voltage electrical equipment for which IEC standards exist.  

The tests used for meeting the fire safety requirements of electrical and electronic equipment to EN 60950-1 and EN 60065 are:

the flammability tests to IEC/EN 60695-11-10 (UL94) (HB-V2-V1-V0) and IEC/EN 60695-11-20 (UL94)  (5VA-5VB) and in addition the needle flame test to EN 60695-11-5.

The tests used for appliances to EN 60335-1 are the glow wire tests to

  • ·         60695-2-10 Glow-wire apparatus  
  • ·         60695-2-11 Glow-wire flammability test for end products (GWT)
  • ·         60695-2-12 Glow-wire flammability index test for materials (GWFI)
  • ·         60695-2-13 Glow-wire temperature test for materials (GWIT)

In addition, flammability test requirements to Class UL 94 V1 and to the needle flame test may be required. 

All these tests have been revised with no major changes in the last years.