Terms Used in Industry Briefly Explained: Part 1

Several terms are used in our industry finding their origin in the European Union. Sometimes these expressions are misunderstood, so we thought perhaps it would be worthwhile to briefly explain these terms here in this blog.


 The CE Marking

CE Marking stands for Conformité Européenne and is a mandatory conformity marking for products sold in the European Economic Area. The CE Marking on a product indicates that it is compliant under the regulations of the EU legislation, even if it is manufactured in another area of the world. When a manufacturer affixes the CE Marking onto their product, it means that the item has free movement in the European market and that they declare their responsibility for conforming to all legal acquirements.    


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While it is seen by many American professionals as a statement for quality, the CE Marking doesn’t serve that purpose, even though it has some merit. It is a misunderstanding to think that there is a CE Certificate of some kind obtained from an official bureaucracy. The manufacturer declares that its product is in conformance with the European directives by providing a declaration on the letterhead of the company. If the declaration is false, and the manufacturer is caught, they will be disciplined and will have to face the consequences.



RoHS stands for Restriction of Hazardous Substances, a European Union ordinance on the limitation of the use of certain hazardous materials in electronics and electrical equipment. It restricts the use of six hazardous materials: lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+). The RoHS is an environmental standard.


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As with the CE Marking, the manufacturer must declare that its products do not contain these materials or that the concentration is less than what the directive stipulates; in other words, they are in compliance with the RoHS directive.



ATEX originates its name from the French title of the 94/9/EC directive: Appareils destinés à être utilisés en ATmosphères EXplosibles and describes what work environment and equipment is permitted in an area with an explosive atmosphere.




There is an equipment and a workplace directive. The former standard stipulates the requirements for equipment and protective systems, while the latter standard provides the minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres. The design of the equipment has to go through a rigorous process to be awarded the ATEX approval.


Each European Union country has their own organization in charge of the ATEX approval process, but exporters to the European Union have their own similar organizations, like here in the USA. In the European Union, ATEX is mandatory, and no other approval system, such as FM or CSA, is allowed.


To inquire about any of the abbreviations and terms we have further explained, please contact us through our website. We can also provide details about our measurement devices such as the industrial humidity sensor.