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The KEYMARK - The Key to the European Market

KEYMARK

A uniform Product Quality Mark for European Consumers

Europe grows together - even in the product marking. Since January 2002 the consumer can carry out his purchases in one currency in Europe. Now he can be sure as well that products, marked with the KEYMARK, comply with uniform European (EN) Quality Standards.

On recommendation of the European Council to improve the consumer protection and to counteract the uncertainty of consumers by a mark variety, the European Standards Organizations CEN and CENELEC have developed a harmonised European Mark System for standardized products.

The KEYMARK

The KEYMARK is the European Certification Mark showing the conformity of products and services with European Standards.

Whereas CE-marking shows the observance of legal minimum requirements, the KEYMARK provides a real surplus value for the consumer: tested and certified observance of uniform European Quality Standards. The legally requested CE-marking for certain products can be completed thereby in a meaningful way.

A product may only be marked with the KEYMARK, if it was tested and certified before by a neutral, independent and competent body. The factory inspection and Initial Type Testing (ITT), apart from the regular inspection, constitute an important element of the procedure for granting the KEYMARK.

Beyond that, the manufacturer has to carry out a Factory Production Control (FPC) in consideration of the relevant product standards and the elements of the EN ISO 9000 series. This quality system is controlled by an annual inspection and is completed by type testing which takes place at least every 2 years.

Testing laboratories, inspection and certification bodies, taking part in the procedure, have to prove an accreditation according to relevant standards. Furthermore, certification bodies have to be empowered to grant the KEYMARK.

Since 2015, the empowerment of certification bodies, the administration of the KEYMARK and the management on behalf of CEN is assumed by DIN CERTCO.

More and more European certification bodies are interested in granting the European quality mark KEYMARK for products and services based on European Standards and to provide the respective certification service. Since mid 2015, the empowerment of new certification bodies for granting the KEYMARK is done by a KEYMARK Management Organisation (KMO) on behalf of CEN.

The way to KEYMARK Empowerment

The application for empowerment for granting the KEYMARK has to be sent in writing or as PDF by the certification body to DIN CERTCO. On behalf of CEN, DIN CERTCO will assess the provided application documents and evaluate if the requirements for empowerment are fulfilled. .

The proof of competence is done according to the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations, Part 4 "Certification" and is based on:

  • a valid accreditation according to EN ISO/IEC 17065 and the applied scope
  • appropriate experience as certification body
  • the testing laboratories accredited according to EN ISO/IEC 17025 sub-contracted by the certification body
  • if applicable, the evaluation of the respective certification scheme of the certification body if it is in conflict with the CEN-CENELEC Internal Regulations

If the result of the assessment is positive, a licence agreement is concluded and the certification body receives a corresponding certificate of empowerment. Together with the certificate of empowerment, the certification body will get an Identification No. (ID) which has to be used in conjunction with the granted KEYMARK.

The empowerment is unlimited valid as long as the certification body fulfills the requirements of the licence agreement and can furthermore show that they are still accredited for the respected scope as required.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the fees for the empowerment?
    • At the moment, the empowerment for granting the KEYMARK is free of charge for certification bodies.

  • KEYMARK and CE-marking according to CPR
    • According to paragraph 33 of the Preamble of the Construction Product Regulation No 305/2011 (CPR): “The CE marking should be the only marking of conformity of the construction product with the declared performance and compliance with applicable requirements relating to Union harmonisation legislation. However, other markings may be used, provided that they help to improve the protection of users of construction products and are not covered by existing Union harmonisation legislation.”

      Further, Article 8 Par. 3 of the CPR states that: “For any construction product covered by a harmonized standard, or for which a European Technical Assessment has been issued, the CE marking shall be the only marking which attests conformity of the construction product with the declared performance in relation to the essential characteristics, covered by that harmonised standard or by the European Technical Assessment.”

      The decision of the EUCJ Case C-100/13 of 16 October 2014, cited, refers to the use of additional marks by Member States, supplementary to the use of the CE marking, as mean by which member States can pose barriers to free trade. This can substantiated by requesting the use of additional marks, which cover the same essential requirements attested by the use of the CE marking and which add more stringent requirements of compliance for those same essential characteristics, as a condition for products to access said member States’ markets. In this case the Court ruled that the German authorities had effectively violated the principle of free movement of goods within the Single Market by imposing, through the use of the Ü-mark, of additional requirements for the access of the related products in the market and their use in Germany, by reference to those same essential characteristics covered by harmonized legislation and which are attested by the CE marking.

      The 07.07.2016 Report of the European Commission to the Parliament and the Council, emphasizes exactly this same principle. Namely, any voluntary mark, when used next to the CE marking, shall not cover the harmonized area by imposing a more strict system of assessment and verification of constancy of performance (AVCP). Hence, the use of other additional voluntary marks and certification systems shall not be used to indicate compliance with the same essential requirements covered with the harmonized standards by e.g. setting more strict requirements for compliance.

      Conclusions

      From the above we conclude that, within the context of the CPR, the use of other marks besides the CE marking is possible as far as such marks do not cover the same harmonized area as the CE Mark by imposing more strict requirements to those essential requirements as set by the harmonized legislation.

      With regard to the Keymark, it shall be noted that it is a voluntary European certification mark demonstrating conformity with European Standards. Keymark covers standardized areas that do not constitute exclusive part of the harmonized legislation and it does not touch upon those harmonized essential requirements established by such legislation. Rather, Keymark is a quality mark that sets voluntary certification schemes aimed to add market value to the products upon which it is attached. As such, it does not intend to impose barriers to the free movement of products among Member States, but to help improve the protection and the experience of the users of such products. For that purpose, Keymark attests compliance of the related products with qualifications identified outside the scope of the harmonized legislation. Therefore, the use of the Keymark on the same products where CE marking is attached poses no conflict with the CPR, as far as the above mentioned conditions are met.

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Heat Pump KEYMARK is out!

As already successfully practiced for solar thermal products (Solar KEYMARK), different European certification bodies together with the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) developed a European KEYMARK certification scheme for heat pumps. The product range, using the KEYMARK as a European quality mark for promoting, will be succeeded with an important product. Tested and certified once, accepted everywhere!

The new certification scheme for the Heat Pump KEYMARK has been approved by DIN CERTCO on behalf of CEN to fulfil the requirements of the CEN Internal Regulations, Part 4.

European certification bodies are invited to apply for Empowerment, and manufacturers of heat pumps for KEYMARK certification.