South Korea is one of the most developed markets in Asia. Accordingly, the certification system has undergone many advances and changes. Before 2009, there were 13 different certifications, some with overlapping content, with 140 different test marks. With the Korean Electrical Appliance & Consumer Goods safety Management Act 2009, the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) unified the certification market into the KC system, which also describes KCs (KOSHA).
In the KC system, there are Consumer Products, Children’s Products, Electronics, EMC, KCs (KOSHA, Safety), KEMCO (Energy Efficiency) and MFDS (Food&Drugs). Some areas define product categories, others specific technical properties. It may therefore happen that a product has to undergo several tests.
The certification process usually consists of application with various forms, product tests (or equal calculated test report tests) and marking. KCs certification may also involve factory inspections.
The most important facts about KCs certification (KOSHA)
- English translation of the manufacturer’s extract from the commercial register
- Drawing and photos of the product to be certified
- Marking information of the product
- In-house test reports of the product to be certified
- Description of the test requirements
- List of raw materials used
- Test reports of the most important raw materials (from the supplier)
- Some KC forms
What is the KCs certification (KOSHA) for?
Even after the standardisation of the KC certification in 2009, it still has a very high level of complexity due to the different areas and the different certification procedures (also within the areas). An overview of the main differences can be found in this extendable table:
Covered product types
- Products according to IEC 60079-0 (ed.4.0:2004)_General requirements,
- Flameproof enclosures “d” to IEC 60079-1 (ed.5.0:2003)_flameproof enclosures “d”
- Pressurised enclosure “p” according to IEC 60079-2 (ed.4.0:2001)_pressurised enclosure “p”
- Increased safety “e” according to IEC 60079-7 (ed.3.0:2001)_increased safety “e
- Liquid immersion “o” according to IEC 60079-6 (ed.2.0:1995)_liquid immersion “o”
- Intrinsic safety “i” according to IEC 60079-11 (ed.4.0:1999)_intrinsic safety “i”
- Ignition protection method “n” according to IEC 60079-15 (ed.3.0:2005)_type of protection “n”.
- Encapsulation “m” according to IEC 60079-18 (ed.2.0:2004)_encapsulation “m”
- sand encapsulation “q” according to IEC 60079-5 (ed.3.0:2007)_powder filling “q”
- Enclosure type “tD” according to IEC 61241-1 (ed.1.0:2004)_Protection by enclosures “tD”.
- factory inspection if necessary
- Product tests in accredited laboratories, if applicable
- Certificate valid for 2 years
- KC marking
- Regular follow-up tests
Covered product types
- Pressure vessels
- Presses, brakes for presses/shearing machines
- Injection moulding machine
- Gondola lifts
- Sawing machines
Import certification, one-time import of up to 10 pieces can be applied for by the importer with minimal documentation. Otherwise like KCs.
Covered product types
- Grinding machines
- Industrial robots
- Food processing machines
- Conveyor belts
- Lifting platforms
Import certification, one-time import of up to 10 pieces can be applied for by the importer with minimal documentation. Otherwise like KC electronics (supplier conformity).
How do the Korean EMC certifications work?
The Korean certification procedures of the new KC system are relatively standardised, even though there are still different authorities with different responsibilities. Any given procedure consists minimally of application and proof of product testing to Korean standards, and maximally of application, factory inspection, product testing in Korea, marking and annual (simplified) repetition of this procedure. However, the procedures for a large proportion of products tend to be at the simpler end of this spectrum.
South Korea often advertises the cheapest certification costs in Asia…. For the pure administrative steps this may be true, but please note that testing fees (be it from the product itself or from recognised existing test reports) can be comparatively high even compared to European conditions.
The “Korean Agency for Technology and Standards” (KATS) within the “Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy” (MOTIE) is responsible for the registration of your certification as well as the elaboration of the KC standards. It should be noted that KATS is a member of the International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), so that the Korean standards are largely in line with international standards.
For the certification area KC, certification can be carried out either at the “Korea Testing and Research Institute” (KTR), the “Korea Testing Laboratory” (KTL) or the organisation “Korea Testing Certification” (KTC). The South Korean authorities “National Radio Research Agency” (RRA) and the “Korean Communications Commission” (KCC) are responsible for all EMC-related certifications. The industrial safety certifications KCs and KOSHA, in turn, are carried out either by the “Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency” (KOSHA), the “Korea Gas Safety Corporation” (KGS), or again at the “Korea Testing Laboratory” (KTL).