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Robot arm positioned above product packaging, ready to apply new UKCA mark

UKCA Mark & Labelling: Everything You Need To Know

Manufacturers, suppliers and retailers offering products for sale in the UK need to adopt the new mark, but non-permanent labelling over the next two years will make the process more painless.

Now that the UK has left the EU, the longstanding compliance mark that has appeared on most goods for sale over the past 35 years – the CE mark – has been replaced by a new mark: UKCA. From January 2021, it must now be displayed on most new products for sale in England, Scotland and Wales.

The new mark will apply to the vast majority of goods that currently need to display a CE mark, and also aerosol products, which have a different mark under EU regulations.

While the new mark isn’t needed for existing stock – for example those fully manufactured and ready to place on the market before 1 January 2021, which can still use the CE badge – all products made from now on will need to show the new mark.

What are the CE and UCKA marks?

Ever since 1985, goods sold across the European Economic Area (EEA) – that’s every EU nation, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – have had to display the Conformité Européene (CE) mark. By displaying the symbol, manufacturers, suppliers and retailers are declaring that their products comply with the EU’s wide range of requirements across health, safety and environmental issues.

The mark has become recognisable around the world because manufacturers everywhere that want to sell products to EEA countries must comply with the rules and display the CE symbol.

However, now that the UK is no longer part of the EEA, the new mark has been brought in to signify compliance with regulations.

Initially, the rules that apply to the two schemes are largely the same, but there is a good possibility that they will begin to differ from one another over time as the EU and the UK make changes to their set of regulations.

Displaying the UKCA mark – what are the rules?

For most products, the mark has to be applied to the product itself or to the packaging. However, in some cases, it may be placed on the manuals or other supporting literature – full details of the different product regulations are available here.

UKCA markings must only be placed on a product by the manufacturer or, in some cases, by authorised representatives, as it is their declaration that the product conforms to the requirements.

The marking must be clearly visible and not smaller than 5mm in height, except in the case of specific exceptions, listed in the regulations. No other markings must appear on the product which affect the visibility, legibility or meaning of the UKCA marking.

Transition arrangements

From the 1st January 2021 it is mandatory for most products that were previously CE marked to carry the UCKA symbol if they are being sold in the UK.

However, whereas the CE symbol needed to be permanently marked on relevant products, to help manufacturers and supply chains implement the new scheme, the government has allowed a two-year period during which the mark can be applied by more temporary means.

These include tags, stickers, and adhesive labels.

This will give those who make the products longer to update their production lines in order to implement permanent marking of the new symbol, something that may involve replacements or upgrades to machinery in some cases.

How labelling can help

For those manufacturers looking for an interim solution to applying the UKCA mark to products or packaging, labelling is a strong option to consider.

Label printers such as those available from Brother can produce professional-looking labels that are extremely hard-wearing and designed to stand up to high levels of heat, moisture, dirt and abrasion.

That’s why Brother labels are trusted for rugged applications across commerce and industry, where both ease of application and high levels of long-lasting legibility are a priority.

The Brother range includes a wide variety of choice when it comes to labelling media, from the most hard-wearing solutions using laminated tape, paper stickers to mobile food labelling solutions. Brother label printers can help you apply marks in whatever size, format and colour you need with ease.

For more information on Brother’s line up of label printers and labelling media, visit our labelling and receipt printers page.

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