The CB Scheme, also known as the International Electrotechnical Commission System of Electrical Equipment and Components (IECEE), offers manufacturers an opportunity to increase global marketability. The scheme facilitates the international exchange and acceptance of product-safety test results among participating Certification Bodies for national approval or certification in one or more countries, normally without the need for additional testing.
The CB Scheme applies to manufacturers of:
- Cables and cords
- Capacitors as components
- Switches for appliances and automatic controls
- Household and similar equipment
- Installation accessories and connection devices
- Measuring instruments
- Electrical equipment for medical use
- IT and office equipment
- Low voltage equipment
- High power switching equipment
- Installation protective equipment
- Safety transformers and similar equipment
- Portable tools
- Entertainment equipment
According to the IEC, these manufacturers can expect:
- Accelerated international product acceptance – faster product movements from plant to market
- Efficiencies from more rapid testing and certification – CB Scheme rules stipulate priority handling of applications
- Savings resulting from significantly reduced workload, reduced testing and fewer product samples subject to possible damage or destruction
- Convenience of one-stop, complete testing for worldwide safety compliance
There are National Certification Bodies (NCBs) in 54 countries participating in the CB Scheme as follows:
Republic of Korea
The recognition of each Member organization identifies the product categories in which the organization participates (see CB Bulletin, available for sale at the IEC Webstore).
Additional countries are preparing to participate in the CB Scheme and the IECEE has established an objective to increase participation among countries that are not IEC Members, making the goal of acceptance of manufacturers’ products in a larger international marketplace easier to achieve.
Historically, obtaining all of the necessary national safety certifications for a product has been a difficult, time-consuming and expensive proposition. The European CEE scheme, originally begun to allow for recognition of European product certifiers through a peer recognition process, merged with the IEC in 1985 and became known as the IECEE. At that point, countries like the U.S. began to participate. The U.S. was an observer for many years at the CEE and IECEE meetings, becoming an official Member of the IECEE CB Scheme in 1992.
Participation in the IECEE CB Scheme by manufacturers is increasing rapidly as the benefits of Membership are becoming more widely realized. In 1999, 15,893 CB Test Certificates were issued, an increase of 740% over 1992 when the U.S. joined the CB Scheme. In 2000, 19,597 were issued and in 2001 the number rose to 24, 259.
Under the CB Scheme, The IECEE accredits National Certification Bodies (NCBs) and their associated testing laboratories (CBTLs) to test and certify conformity of electrical equipment with internationally harmonized product safety Standards and issue CB test certificates and test reports.
To promote rapid testing and certification, the rules of procedure of the CB Scheme require that NCBs arrange for testing of equipment within one month of receipt of an application for a CB test certificate. In addition, NCBs are encouraged to handle applications for recognition of CB test certificates on a priority basis.
By significantly reducing duplicate testing, the CB Scheme provides substantial advantages over the previously available methods of obtaining multiple international certifications.
The CB Scheme is a multilateral agreement among participating countries and certification organizations based on the use of IEC Standards. If a Member country’s national Standards are not yet completely harmonized with the IEC Standards, national differences are permitted if clearly declared to all other Members.
The CB Scheme utilizes CB test certificates to attest that product samples have successfully passed the appropriate tests and are in compliance with the requirements of the relevant IEC Standard and with the declared national differences of various Member countries. The IECEE Certification Management Committee (CMC) is the governing body.
Wolfgang Niedziella, VDE Berband der Elektrotechnik,is the chairman of the IECEE. Kerry McManama is the secretary and is located in the IEC central office in Geneva, Switzerland.
How to Participate
All countries, regardless of membership status with the IEC, may join the IECEE. The National Committee of each Member country must then designate its National Certification Body or Bodies (NCBs) that will be responsible for recognizing and issuing CB test reports and certificates.
In the U.S., the National Committee is known as the USNC/IECEE. NEMA provides the Secretariat for that organization. The USNC/IECEE coordinates the application of U.S. NCBs to the IECEE Certification Management Committee (CMC) for recognition.
Each NCB must separately apply for participation of specific product categories based on the Standards it intends to use within the Scheme. The issuance and acceptance of CB test certificates and test reports by NCBs within the CB Scheme are limited only to those IEC Standards the NCBs are officially recognized for. A periodically updated list of all NCBs and the scopes of their recognition appear in the CB Bulletin available from the IECEE Secretariat.
U.S. National Committee For The IECEE (USNC/IECEE)
The principle purposes of the USNC/IECEE are to:
- Serve as the U.S. Member Body of the IEC System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrical Equipment (IECEE)
- Coordinate with U.S. National Certification Bodies (NCBs) to assure that national differences on Standards for safety accepted for use in the Schemes of the IECEE are uniform for all NCBs in the United States
- Process applications for submission to the Secretariat of the IECEE System.
- Develop national viewpoints and comments in all matters pertaining to the IECEE.
Membership in the USNC/IECEE is open to all U.S. National persons (organizations, companies, government agencies, or individuals) who are directly and materially affected by the committee’s activity. The IEC states that “participation shall be fair and equitable without dominance by any single interest.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Member should make a request in writing to the USNC/IECEE Secretary stating why they believe their organization is directly and materially affected by the Committee’s activities.
Tim Duffy, Rockwell Automation, is the current chairman of the USNC/IECEE. Vice chairmen(s) are Steven Margis, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Paul Moliski of Intertek and Paul Green of Intel Corporation serves as treasurer.
The operating procedures of the USNC/IECEE were last revised on January 1, 2020.
National Certification Bodies (NCBs)
A National Certification Body (NCB) is a certification organization that grants nationally recognized conformity assessment certificates to electrical products. To be accepted as a Member of the CB Scheme, an NCB must meet specified requirements with regard to its internal quality system and technical competence. An NCB can qualify either as a Recognizing NCB, or as an Issuing and Recognizing NCB.
The first category is for NCBs prepared to accept CB test certificates and CB test reports as a basis for granting their own national product certification in the areas of specified products and Standards. The latter is for recognizing NCBs that are also authorized to issue CB test certificates and CB test reports (for the same product categories and Standards for which they also accept CB test certificates and reports issued by other NCBs).
CB Testing Laboratories (CBTLs)
A CB Testing Laboratory is a laboratory, which, after having been successfully assessed according to the IECEE rules, is accepted into the CB Scheme. CBTLs may apply for recognition in the Scheme through one NCB with which they are associated. On the request of the NCB, a CBTL can carry out testing of specified individual products according to one or more Standards which are accepted for use in the IECEE, and for which the CBTL is already recognized in the CB Scheme.
For additional information concerning the IECEE CB Scheme and its operation at the international level, visit the IECEE website.
For further information on the CB Scheme and how to make an application to be recognized as an NCB, contact: