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Many machine manufacturers may be inadvertently relying on out-of-date standards to demonstrate compliance with the Machinery Directive, according to Laidler Associates.

Only standards harmonised with the current Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, which came into force at the end of December 2009, can now be used to demonstrate compliance.

Many companies, however, are continuing to reference superseded standards that were harmonised with the previous, and now obsolete, Machinery Directive.

Paul Laidler, managing director of Laidler Associates, said: ‘In some cases, the changes made to standards to bring them into line with the new directive are minor, but in other cases much more extensive and significant changes have been made.

‘This applies, for example, to EN ISO 12100-1 and EN ISO 12001-2 – two very important Type A standards governing the design of all machines.

‘Irrespective of how much a standard has changed, however, it is essential to reference the appropriate version, otherwise it is impossible to be certain that the requirements of the directive have been met.

‘This means that no Declaration of Conformity can be issued and no CE marking can be applied to the machine in question.

‘In these circumstances, the machine cannot legally be sold or traded in the EU [European Union],’ he added.

The situation is further complicated because some important standards have not yet been harmonised with the current Machinery Directive.

EN 60204-1, for example, covers safety requirements for the electrical equipment of machines.

Where no harmonised standard is available, machine builders must make their own judgement about whether the existing standard can be relied upon to show compliance with the directive or whether some alternative method must be used.

It is reported that 85 per cent of the standards relevant to the Machinery Directive have been published in their harmonised form and that a further 10 per cent will be published in the coming weeks or months.

That still leaves five per cent and, where no harmonised standard is available, machine builders must make their own judgement about whether the existing standard can be relied upon to show compliance with the directive or whether some alternative method must be used.

Laidler Associates

As market leader in machinery safety, Laidler Associates provide advice and assistance for machinery safety legislation and risk assessments providing solutions on a worldwide basis. Laidler works with companies from around the world including USA, Japan, China and Ireland. Laidler Associates specialise in taking the stress out of conformity and can assume responsibility for assembling documentation such as PUWER reports or the Technical File and issuing the Declaration of Conformity for CE Marking projects.

Qualified Laidler engineers travel across the world saving clients time and money by providing up-to-date training and information to all business sectors that require conformity to the many CE Directives and European Standards. The wide range of services include CE Marking, risk assessment, PUWER assessments, EMC testing and training.

Laidler have recently launched a new software package which helps businesses through the CE Marking and PUWER assessment processes. Laidler Associates is the official partner of the PPMA (Process and Packaging Machinery Association) on regulatory affairs.

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