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 The EMC Directive2014/30/EU 

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) requirements have been mandatory since 1/1/1996, and this directive applies to most electrical and electronic equipment under the UK's 1992 regulations (SI 1992/2372, as amended). The essential protection requirements are: -

  • Emissions  - these must be controlled to tight limits to prevent electrical pollution and a potential conflict with other apparatus, and;

  • Immunity  - the ability to withstand relatively large levels of electromagnetic interference.

It is essential to design-in EMC from the start, as the choice of technology, e.g. processor family and build standard greatly influence the ability to pass EMC testing.

Technical documentation is now mandatory and is also useful as evidence of 'due diligence' - a peculiarly UK defence - it can be part of the same file used to meet other directives. Having a file can also reduce the burden on testing.

  The Low Voltage Directive (LVD), 2014/35/EU

The Low Voltage Directive has been around since 1973, but CE marking only became mandatory from 1/1/1997 through the Amending 'CE marking' directive 93/68/EEC. Equipment designed for use with voltages of 50 to 1000 V ac and 75 to 1500 V dc offered for sale is included in its scope.

The Safety Requirements

All electrical equipment must be: -

  • Safe - i.e. the risk should be reduced to a minimum for death or injury to any person or domestic animal or damage to property;

  • Constructed using good engineering practice -usually demonstrated by meeting the relevant harmonised standards;

  • Designed and constructed to prevent electric shock -usually met by using protective earthing and/or insulation, e.g. double insulation;

  • Designed and constructed to conform with the Principle Elements of the Safety Objectives given in the regulations.

CE Marking Requirements

In addition to the safety requirements, there are three parts which must be satisfied when CE marking: -

  • Affixing the mark;

  • Drawing-up of a Declaration of Conformity;

  • Compiling and holding the Technical Documentation.

  The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC (MD)

The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations have been mandatory in the UK since 1/1/1997 under the 1991 statutory Instrument  (SI 1992/3073, as amended). Most machinery, but not all, is required to meet the requirements of this directive and may also come under the scope of the Low Voltage and EMC Directives. The MD addresses most hazards and the Low Voltage and EMC are treated as supporting Directives.

Suppliers of machinery to the European Union (EU), whether within the EU or outside it and users of the machinery if they supply it to themselves, are required to comply with this directive.

The MD requires that a CE' mark be affixed to the machinery and the supplier is required to issue a Declaration of Conformance, unless the machinery is to be incorporated into other machinery, in which case it directs that the CE mark shall not be affixed. In that case the supplier should supply a Declaration of Incorporation for the machinery. Note that affixing a 'CE' mark indicates that the machinery complies with all applicable EU Directives, this often means MD, LVD and EMC - see other sections regarding these directives.

It is a requirement for all machinery that a Technical File can, or for some machines, must be compiled. In practice this often means compiling it as a project progresses. The Technical File for machinery is usually based on the requirements of the Machinery Directive, and is supplemented by the others, but one file can be used for most directives.

To meet the requirements of the MD requires:

  • Complying with applicable mandatory Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) from a long list given in the directive. Transposed Harmonised European Standards can be used as a means of satisfying some of the requirements, however, the EHSRs are the law whereas standards are not.

  • Undertaking the correct conformity assessment procedure. Most machinery, considered less dangerous, can be self-assessment by the supplier.

  • 'Being able to' assemble a Technical File. It is now accepted that this must be completed as part of the process of demonstrating compliance with requirements.

The Technical File must be stored and accessible for 10 years following the cease of supply of the machinery. For most machinery it is not necessary to give the Technical File to the customer or third party, though some will wish to see it to confirm confidence in the supplier. It must be shown on request to authorised bodies, such as the Health & Safety Executive in the UK.

Meeting the requirements of the Low Voltage Directive as applied to machinery entails meeting EN 60204-1 and sometimes other electrical standards. For the MD the supplier should undertake a Risk Assessment, based on EN ISO 14121-1.

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