So what’s all this CE stuff about?
You may have heard some chatter on the grapevine or from the guys in the office talking about CE marking and how it’s going to change our industry. Here are the facts, how do we know them? We we’ve been involved from the start.
Similar to electrical equipment and children’s toys CE marking is a set of European Directives which sets the safety standards to which products have to comply with in order to be sold. Products which pass these standards can be distributed throughout Europe without having to comply with the individual regulations of each country within Europe.
Approximately 5 years ago Dr John and Jim Rose joined a group of European professionals from industry and government to start writing the standards to which pyrotechnic articles would have to comply; everything from product labelling, product safety features, product testing regimes and categorisation. Jump forward 5 years and where are we now?
All Pyrotechnic articles fall into one of the following 9 categories:
F1: Category 1 Fireworks – e.g. sparklers
F2/F3: Fireworks that can be supplied to anyone over the age of 18.
F4: Professional display fireworks can only be supplied to someone with training.
T1: Theatrical Pyrotechnics that can be supplied to anyone over the age of 18.
T2: Theatrical Pyrotechnics that can only be supplied to someone with training.
P1: Pyrotechnics that can be supplied to anyone over the age of 18.
P2: Pyrotechnics that can only be supplied to someone with training.
Automotive: Pyrotechnics used in motor vehicles e.g. Airbag inflators
Pyrotechnics used in our industries are categorised as P1, P2, T1 or T2.
On July 4th 2013, CE marking came into force so any new pyrotechnic product has to be CE marked before it can be sold. As for your old faithful products, there is a limited grace period in which to get these products CE marked or we have to stop selling them.
What hoops do we have to jump through to get a product CE marked?
Within Europe there are 17 different authorities (Notified Bodies) that can authorise the CE marking of pyrotechnics (UK does not have such an authority). For a product to be CE marked, the company that manufactures the pyrotechnic or imports it into Europe, must first be registered and audited by one of the 17 notified bodies. The company must past tests in product design, quality control, product testing and training, and must have an approved quality management system. The Notified Body re-audits each company every 2 years. Enola Gaye passed its audit July last year.
Secondly, samples of each and every pyrotechnic product have to be physically tested by a notified body in order to ensure that it conforms to the criteria laid down in the CE standards. These tests confirm that the pyrotechnics are the same as the declared design, contain only chemicals that have been declared in the design and are safe, the device functions correctly and safely even after being submitted to thermal and mechanical stresses including being dropped. The labelling is also checked to confirm the correct information is present, the instructions for use are correct and that the appropriate language has been used.
Only when both of these criteria have been achieved will the Notified Body authorise the printing of the CE mark together with a unique identification number onto the device.
All of the expenses associated with this are picked up by the manufacturer or importer.
So what’s in it for Enola Gaye and its customers?
For you the customer, when you use a CE marked Enola Gaye product, you are using one of the safest and effective products on the market. The pyrotechnic device has undergone design verification, environmental conditioning and stringent quality control tests resulting in a reliable, quality product that does the job nicely.
For Enola Gaye, remaining a leader in the industries we work in is a priority; not only in product development but also in being a knowledge base. Being a part of the CE standardisation process and placing CE certified products on the market opens up new markets and allows us and our distributors to sell across borders without the need for re-registering the products in each and every country.
CE, Enola Gaye and what’s next?
We have been working hard getting our company approval, which we passed with flying colours, we are now nearing the end of the testing procedure for our smokes and hope to hear from the notified body soon. So within the next few months you shall be seeing the CE mark placed on the bottom of our smoke products. We will then move forward with redesigns where necessary to get the Paint, BB and Mk Thunderflashes through the CE tests, then back to development of new products and improvement of existing ones.