Global Product Certification since 1992

Understanding RCM Testing for Electronic Products & Equipment

The Regulatory Compliance Mark (RCM) is a compliance system applicable to suppliers and manufacturers in New Zealand and Australia, and includes the telecom, electromagnetic radiation (EMR), EMC, radiocoms, and all electrical equipment industries to comply with revised testing and certification requirements. In short, all electronic and electrical equipment are covered under the RCM testing process.

A notable change, as part of the revised RCM system, is a regulated phasing out of the A-tick and C-tick marks and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) Suppliers Number. The transition process to replace the A-tick and C-tick marks began on 1 March 2013 and became mandatory on 1 March 2016.

The RCM system encompasses approvals, meeting set standards, testing and test reports, compliances, and adhering to the Declarations of Compliance. The RCM system gives importers and manufacturers from Australia and New Zealand the authority to sign the Supplier Declaration of Conformity. Importers and manufacturer outside these two countries do not have the authority to place RCM logo on the product or sign the Supplier Declaration of Conformity mandate.

Australian importers and manufacturers are responsible for supplier registration, RCM logo labelling on equipment, electrical safety, and other compliance maintenance. Few electrical equipment categories require a tougher level of testing and conformity. The ACMA, Electrical Regulatory Authority Council (ERAC), and Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) databases are involved in the creation of the RCM system.

The Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) mandated the applicability of RCM testing process on all in-scope equipment and created a unified electrical safety approval system to measure compliance level of suppliers and manufacturers. Due to the new compliance system, it becomes mandatory for all Australian suppliers, importers, and manufacturers to register themselves and their products on the EESS database.

ACMA Compliance

Anyone using the RCM testing process needs to register as ACMA Responsible Supplier at the ERAC website. The council is the head of electrical safety regulation. Post the registration process, avail the relevant test reports in tune with the ACMA standards. Here are some product testing guidelines in brief:

  • Products containing wireless transmitters such as radios, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth needs to comply with ACMA (EMR) and ACMA Radiocommunications (Radcom) standards.
  • Products without wireless function should have a basic EMC test report based on the ACMA list of testing protocols.
  • Products with a connection to satellite telecom network, mobile phone network or the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) needs to comply with the 2015 Telecommunications Labelling Notice (TLN).

Suppliers, manufacturers, and importers unsure about the testing processes and guidelines should contact an ACMA accredited centre for clarification.

EESS Compliance

Mains powered products come under EESS classification, under Compliance Level 1 grade. While registration is not mandatory, compliance is necessary under various federal and state laws. Products under Compliance Level 3 are high-risk (AC adapters, domestic appliance, and others) and must be registered by the Supplier with the ERAC national database. The relevant accredited certification body needs to issue a Certificate of Conformity.

Imported Compliance Level 3 products require a separate Importer registration, not under Responsible Supplier category. The Importer must be based in Australia or New Zealand, and such a person is wholly responsible for safety testing and compliance. The importer cannot delegate the responsibility to a local Australian representative; however, an authorised consultant in Australia or New Zealand can handle the registration process in lieu of the overseas importer.

Compliance Exemptions

The ACMA EMC Labelling Notice lists the products exempted from RCM testing and compliance process. A file containing the details of the exempted product and the reason for exemption needs to be kept handy for random ACMA audit. The file should have a detailed product description, test reports, and the signed Declaration of Conformity (DoC) for review.

Endnote

The RCM unified the complete testing and approval process. It is a consolidated effort to identify products along the ACMA and EESS guidelines.

At EMC Tech, we provide a range of EMC testing & product certification services across Australia. We are NATA accredited for RCM, FCC, CE and IC Testing