FAQ: What is the IECEE CB Scheme?

By Engaged Expert Neil Sulem

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What is the IECEE CB Scheme? What does CB stand for? How does the CB Scheme process work? How does the CB Scheme relate to CE marking? Our experts help you learn more about the IECEE CB Scheme by answering some of the most frequently asked questions. 


Who is the IEC?

The IEC or International Electrotechnical Commission is a standards organization that prepares and publishes standards for electrical, electronic, and related technologies. The organization aims to ‘ensure the safety, efficiency, reliability, and interoperability of electrical, electronic and information technologies, to enhance international trade, facilitate broad electricity access and enable a more sustainable world.’

The IEC consists of 88 member countries that can send experts to technical committees via their country’s national committees (NC) to participate in IEC work and standards development.

Thousands of these experts from around the world come together to form hundreds of technical committees, and subcommittees to agree on the state-of-the-art technical solutions relevant to their committee. The IEC manages this process, provides the independent platform, and publishes these as ‘voluntary, consensus-based international standards’.

The full list of the committees and the standards and publications they are responsible for developing and maintaining can be found on the IEC website.

The IEC itself does not undertake testing or certification activities, but it does manage several conformity assessment schemes including the IECEE CB scheme. Compliance with the CB scheme is based on products meeting the requirements of the relevant IEC or ISO standards within the scheme.


What is the IECEE CB Scheme? 

The IECEE CB Scheme is an international system for mutual acceptance of test reports and certificates dealing with the safety of electrical and electronic components, equipment, and products. This multilateral certification system is based on IEC International Standards that can be readily accessed and accepted in international markets.

It is operated by the IEC System for Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components (IECEE).

A key aim of the scheme is to allow manufacturers to gain access to international markets without the need for time-consuming and costly, duplicate or additional testing in each country. 


What does the CB Scheme stand for? 

The acronym CB Scheme stands for “Certification Bodies’ Scheme”. 

How does the CB Scheme process work? 

A product is submitted to one of the accredited CBTLs for testing and evaluation to the appropriate IEC Safety Standard including National Deviations to meet country-specific requirements.

If the product is in compliance with the standard, a CB test report is issued to the National Certification Body (NCB) which will produce a CB test certificate as a formal CB Scheme document. 

Both, the CB test report and CB test certificates can be presented to other participating NCBs in order to obtain national certification marks for a number of countries worldwide.

How do I get a CB certificate? 

The process is straightforward and in simple terms, consists of the application by you, the testing by the CBTL, a review of the test report by the NCB, and finally, the issuing of the certificate.

Step 1: An application is made to the Element National Certification Body (NCB) through the submission of an application form.

Step 2: The Element NCB will process the application and assign one of its CB Testing Laboratories (CBTL)

Step 3:  You will submit a representative sample of your product and the relevant documentation (e.g., circuit diagrams, component lists and approvals, instruction manual, etc.) to the CBTL.

Step 4: The CBTL will then carry out the testing and assessment of your product to the relevant standard, which is within the IECEE CB scheme, including any declared national differences where requested.

Step 5: The CBTL will issue the test report to the NCB

Step 6: The NCB will then review and validate the test report. On completion of a successful review, the NCB will issue the CB test certificate and report to you.

Copies of the certificate and test report can then be sent to recognizing NCBs to gain local certifications, or national regulatory authorities, retailers, buyers, etc. as evidence that your product design meets the safety or other requirements of the relevant standards.

How long is a CB certificate valid? 

There is no expiration date on certificates, only an issue date. The date a certificate will cease to be useful will depend on aspects such as the acceptance criteria for national regulators or certification bodies, if the standard that the product has been tested to has been amended or updated, if significant modifications have been made to the product since testing, etc. As a guide, CB certificates generally cease to be effective after 3 years and will likely need to be updated due to design or component changes within this period.

What is the difference between CB Certification and CE/UKCA marking? 

Although the CE & UKCA marking procedures are separate from the CB Scheme, IECEE CB certification often addresses the majority of CE and UKCA marking safety-related requirements. The CB test report can also be used as part of a technical file to support the Declaration of Conformity required by CE and UKCA marking schemes.

The Element advantage 

Element is a leading Certification Body Test Laboratory (CBTL) with over 20 years of experience and state-of-the-art laboratories. Our IECEE CB Scheme testing and certification services help you get your electrical and electronic products approved quickly, to international safety standards so that they can be approved at local or national levels around the world.

To learn more about the latest product safety standards, read our guide on the third edition of the IEC 62368-1:2018, or if you require additional testing and certification for the IECEE CB Scheme, contact us with your specifications and requirements.  

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