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10 April 2009

European Union Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive

The word compatibility in this EU directive means the machine will function in a safe and intended manner without introducing electromagnetic disturbances into its environment. In addition, the directive speaks of immunity, which means the machine will operate in a safe and intended manner without being affected by the presence of electromagnetic disturbances. Disturbances can be either radiated or conducted.

Machine builders can choose either of two options to comply with the directive:

  1. The manufacturer may self-certify by referring to conformance with certain harmonized standards such as EN50081-2 and EN50082-2. These are European, CEN standards. In addition, due diligence must be shown by reference to good wiring practices (grounding, shielding, etc.). Incorporated components on the machine that come under the directive should be CE marked, and supported by a letter of conformity. All of this information should be documented in the Technical Construction File as required by Annex V of the EU machinery Safety Directive (89/392/EEC as amended). 
  2. A competent body can certify the machine by inspecting the above documentation, or by testing the machine.

For equipment as large as machine tools, there is discussion and controversy concerning the requirement for an actual test of the whole system. The document inspection portion of option 2 is a safe route until the smoke clears on procedures. At the time of this writing, German builders are using option 1.

For additional information, contact Paul Warndorf at pwarndorf@AMTonline.org or 703-827-5291.



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