Rules for exporting machines to Europe will change December 31, 2011

0 November 23, 2011

Companies that wish to export machinery to the European market need to make sure the machinery is safe and compliant with the Machinery Directive. There are changes that will take place to this standard and they will take effect on December 31, 2011.

EN 954-1 is the part of the Machinery Directive that will change. EN 62061 and EN ISO 13849-1 are due to replace the familiar standard EN 954-1 when it comes to the design of safety related control systems.

The differences in the two standards can be summed up in the following: EN ISO 13849-1 demands a probabilistic assessment of the safety functions, which goes beyond the “qualitative” approach of EN 954-1. Pilz Automation Safety can help with making sure machinery is compliant with the new Machinery Directive.

There is no transition for this change. In effect this means that if you continue to apply this standard, presumption of conformity as regards the Machinery Directive will no longer be triggered. To put it plainly: anyone who doesn’t get to grips with EN ISO 13849 will be running considerable risks as far as machine safety is concerned.

Machinery in the European Economic Area must comply with the Machinery Directive. The CE mark is the visible seal on the machine, which documents conformity with the Machinery Directive. Manufacturers use this to confirm compliance with the requirements of the Machinery Directive. In terms of actual implementation, the conformity process is supported by standards. In other words, when a standard is listed in the EU Official Journal, i.e. when the harmonized standard is available, you can benefit from presumption of conformity whenever it is applied. To put it another way: anyone who applies the relevant machine standards will have a safe machine, which may carry a CE mark provided all the other requirements have been considered.

There are more costly and slower alternatives to using standards to comply with the Machinery Directive, but they are generally cost prohibitive.

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