CCC certification for certain electrical explosion-proof products in China
09 March 2021
Since 1 October 2020, certain electrical explosion-proof products have required CCC certification in China. This new certification requirement came into force after the announcement and a transition period of one year, during which affected companies could already apply for certification.
Storage terminal in Suzhou, China – Image: Shutterstock
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The State Administration for Market regulation (SAMR) announced back in October 2019 that the catalogue for products that require CCC certification in China would be extended to include certain electrical explosion-proof products. Affected products are required to obtain the mandatory certification prior to being imported or sold in the Chinese market.
CCC stands for China Compulsory Certification and aims to ensure product quality and standardisation for affected products through a mandatory certification scheme. It applies not only to imported products, but also goods manufactured in China as well.
The product catalogue for CCC certification undergoes regular changes and new additions to the certification scope are usually announced by the SAMR along with the publication of corresponding implementation rules that specify the certification process. These are published by the Certification and Accreditation Administration of China (CNCA). For explosion-proof products the relevant implementation rule is CNCA-C23-01:2019.
While the CCC certification scheme is administered by the CNCA in general, this institution does not issue CCC certificates. It is responsible for accrediting the relevant authorities that are conducting the actual certifications. For explosion-proof products the most important certification authorities are NEPSI (National Supervision and Inspection Centre for Explosion Protection and Safety of Instrumentation), CQST (China National Quality Supervision and Test Centre for Explosion Protected Electrical Products) and CQC (China Quality Certification Centre).
It is important to note that not all explosion-proof products fall under the new CCC certification requirement. Currently, it only applies to electrical explosion-proof products, so mechanical explosion-proof machines as a whole cannot obtain CCC certification. Additionally, not all electrical explosion-proof products require CCC certification. The following list is an example of important explosion-proof product categories that are included in the scope of requiring CCC:
• Electric motors
• Switches, control and starter products
• Actuators and solenoid valves
• Surveillance and communication products (e.g. cameras or loudspeakers)
• Cable glands, junction boxes, connectors
• Refrigeration and air conditioning units, dehumidifiers
• Sensors (e.g. temperature sensor, speed sensor, position sensor)
• Safety barriers
Apart from a CCC-Ex requirement, products like certain electric motors, can also fall under a regular CCC certification requirement. This can result in two separate CCC certifications being required for one product.
While the general implementation rules are defined in the regulations published by the CNCA, each accredited authority publishes their own detailed implementation rules that contain more information regarding the certification process, classification or required testing.
Part of the certification process is to ensure that the affected products conform to Chinese national standards. The product requirements and testing methods are defined in the Chinese GB standards. The relevant standards for the CCC certification of explosion-proof products are the following:
| No. |
| Explosion-proofing type |
| GB standards |
| General standards |
| Detailed standards |
| 1 |
| Explosion suppression “d” |
| GB3836.1 |
| GB3836.2 |
| 2 |
| Increased safety “e” |
| GB3836.3 |
| 3 |
| Intrinsically safe “i” |
| GB3836.4 |
| 4 |
| Positive pressure enclosure “p” |
| GB/T3836.5 |
| 5 |
| Immersion “o” |
| GB/T3836.6 |
| 6 |
| Sand filling “q” |
| GB/T3836.7 |
| 7 |
| “n” type |
| GB3836.8 |
| 8 |
| Encapsulation “m” |
| GB3836.9 |
| 9 |
| Intrinsically safe “iD” |
| GB12476.1 |
| GB12476.4 |
| 10 |
| Enclosure protection “tD” |
| GB12476.5 |
| 11 |
| Encapsulation protection “mD” |
| GB12476.6 |
| 12 |
| Positive pressure protection “pD” |
| GB12476.7 |
Apart from the application process, the two most important elements in the certification process are product tests and a factory audit. After obtaining the certification, regular follow-up audits must be passed in order to maintain the validity of the certificates.
Typically, only test reports from accredited labs in China are accepted for CCC certification however for the CCC-Ex certification there are special processes that may allow for existing certifications and test reports to be used. Specifically, IECEx certificates and test reports may be used as the basis for a CCC-Ex certification. During the application process, the IECEx test reports and documentation will be evaluated and may be allowed to be used in lieu of product testing in China.
Even though IECEx test reports may be recognised in China, an audit by the Chinese authority cannot be replaced by an existing IECEx QAR. While the authorities normally send out their Chinese auditors for the initial factory inspection, there are currently special arrangements to account for the international travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NEPSI, for example, currently issues CCC certificates after successfully passing the application process and product tests or a review of the IECEx documentation without an initial factory inspection. However, as soon as the situation allows for international travel, a factory audit must still take place, but no fixed timeline has been announced so far. This is an opportunity for significant time savings in the certification process, especially for international companies that have not yet applied for the CCC-Ex certification and currently cannot import their Ex-proof products.
For the application process, it is important to note that manuals in the Chinese language must be submitted for each product as part of the documentation. This can potentially be another factor that can cost time in the application process and should be considered in advance minimise the impact on the certification timeline.
After successful certification, the products must be marked with the CCC logo. Regulations apply to ensure certain parameters (like diameter or height) are observed and additional marking requirements can be requested by the authorities during the certification process.
CCC certificates have a validity of 5 years under the condition that regular follow-up inspections are maintained and passed. Various changes, for example a product design change or a change in the company name, need to be officially reported to the authority through change applications and can result in additional product tests.
Overall, implementing the new CCC-Ex certification requirements has been and remains to be a challenge for companies due to the short transition period and disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the recognition of IECEx test reports and postponement of initial factory audits have helped, but capacities at Chinese authorities are still very strained by the large number of applications they are having to process.
Julian Busch, MPR China Certification GmbH
About the author:
Julian Busch is Managing Director of MPR China Certification GmbH and China Certification Corporation, a company that supports manufacturers worldwide in obtaining product certifications for China, India, Korea and other markets.
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