Test lab warns of major EMC shakeup

June 23, 2014 by
Filed under: News 

CE-markNew EMC regulations are about to come into force that will lead to new enforcement measures for any electronic product going on sale in Europe.

EMC directive 2014/30/EU was agreed in April and will come into effect when the first EU member nation enacts legislation in the next few months. The dramatic increase in enforcement is a result of impact assessment which showed that the CE mark was not being enforced. This was highlighted in Germany where 25% of all Luminaire LED lighting products didn’t meet EU approvals, says Didier Bozec, business development manager at test lab York EMC which has a site in Yate.

The enforcement is likely to include measures such as random audits of up to 20% of all products on the market, with fines paying for testing, he says.

Member States will also have to lay down rules on penalties and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are enforced, including criminal penalties for serious infringements, says says German compliance lab TÜV Rheinland. This will cover manufacturers, authorized representatives, distributors and importers.

The new directive covers products which are new to the Union market when they are placed on the market and it applies to all forms of supply, including distance selling. It shall not apply to custom built evaluation kits destined for professionals to be used for research and development.

Some additional requirements on technical documentation have been added in the new directive, including conceptual design and manufacturing drawings and schemes of components, sub-assemblies and circuits, and the explanations necessary for the understanding of those drawings and schemes and the operation of the apparatus. These have to be part of the conformance documents a manufacturer supplier to distributors that are maintained for ten years.

The UK is expected to be one of the last to enact legislation by April 2016 but any equipment sold in the rest of the EU has to comply earlier than that.

The legislation is being handled by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). “We are working on the implementation of Directive 2014/30/EU, alongside a wider package of similar single market Directives,” said a spokesperson for BIS. “The new EMC Directive primarily aligns the Directive with key provisions of EU Decision 768/2008/EC and Regulation 765/2008/EC (collectively known as the `New Legislative Framework’). It does not amend the scope of the current Directive (2006/108/EC) [the amendment to the original 2004/108/EC EMC directive] or its technical requirements.”

There will be consultation particularly on enforcement which is currently the duty of Trading Standards departments of local councils in a complaints driven system, and of Ofcom where it interferes in the existing radio and TV spectrum.

There are more than 20 directives setting out the product categories requiring CE marking. The essential requirements that products have to fulfil, eg safety, are harmonised at EU level and are set out in general terms in these directives.

“We will keep all stakeholders informed and involved through formal and informal means during the implementation process, which will also include consideration of how to enforce the new Directive,” said the spokesperson at BIS. “We regularly communicated with our stakeholders throughout the negotiation process at EU level and we will continue to keep in touch with them as UK implementation progresses.




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