January 15, 2013
History of ECE Certification
The regulations of United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (commonly referred to as ECE) have been a standardization method in Europe since the 1950s. With globalization, more countries have adopted these regulations because of the increased awareness of the benefits of unified regulations. Initially, Europe, the US, and Japan worked together to create cohesive guidelines during the 1980s and then in the 1990s it was made more an international effort. Finally, in 2000 China signed the memorandum of agreement to become the ninth member country.
ECE regulations comply all different types of automobiles and components, but this blog will look deeper into the ECE certification for tires. When receiving the ECE certificate for tires, some of the intricate requirements about the specific dimensions, performance, and marking of the tire must be met to receive the “e-mark” to verify ECE regulations.
In Europe, the metric or euro-metric sized tires are used and they differ from the American counterparts in areas like weight-bearing ability and pressure amounts. The dimensions of a tire are tied to the type of vehicle they will be paired with, so euro-centric sized tires vary from car brand to car model. However, euro-metric sized tires have European equivalents of American car tires because of the automobiles sold across the Atlantic and vice versa. American tires are typically marked with a P indicating it’s a passenger vehicle tire, but in Europe this is largely omitted from the dimensions.
Performance testing is done for ECE regulations to ensure that these tires can be reliable for their European automobile drivers. Reliability is important when it comes to adverse driving conditions and the safety for drivers. Laboratories like IGTT run tests to homologate the tires before certifying them to be marketed in Europe. Some of the tests are:
- Measurements of dimensions of tires fitted on rims
- Tests of resistance of tires against slipping off rims
- Measurements of static deformational characteristics in 3 directions and in torsion
- Structural analyses of tire frames with textile and steel cords
- High speed tests
- Endurance tests – pressure, load and speed specific
- Endurance tests of overloaded rims
- Measurements of rolling resistance of tires
- Measurements of dynamic directional characteristics
- Legislative tests (approval and verification) of new and retreaded tires
ECE Marking of Tires
Reading the sidewall of each tire, you can tell the life story of the tire. For example, where it made, where it was sold, the dimensions, the performance areas, etc.. After laboratory approval for ECE regulations, Chinese manufactured tires can receive a plain “e-mark” on the tire wall or depending on the quality, an additional S or a W for sound and wet standards.
Bottom line, manufacturers and tire experts agree, that it doesn’t matter where the tires are produced, the manufacturing techniques and materials are the same. The price and brand reputation of the tire holds more importance than the country of origin. I hope this ECE certification information about the history and guideline overview helped enlighten you about European regulations for tires. If you want to read more about an important tire sourcing area and international expo, check out this other blog.