Legislation in the electronics industry — the cost of compliance.

June 18, 2014 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Aspen Electronics has been in the business of distributing electronic test equipment and components to literally thousands of customers in the UK and Europe for over 40 years. One thing that has become more demanding says MD Howard Venning, when reviewing the changes that have occurred over that time, is the need to demonstrate compliance with legislation.

By far the biggest change has been the UK’s integration into the European Union. Membership has meant that today the UK must agree with, and implement, hundreds of EU directives and ensure compliance. It all started with CE marking, which encompassed EMC, LVD, RTTE, WEEE, REACH & RoSH 2, plus the Batteries Directive, to name just a few.

All the above legislation comes at considerable cost to both large and small manufacturers as they work to prove understanding and compliance. An online search will reveal literally hundreds of manufacturers, distributors and stockists own interpretations of the regulations and statements of compliance. For each of these pages someone somewhere had to spend time and effort in understanding the implication of the regulations and then writing a statement to provide an answer to each and every customer who asked the question. In turn these customers are asked by their customers to prove compliance and the cycle starts all over again.

Anyone who has been in the industry for 30 years plus will know that today’s equipment is so much better than it used to be – but still end users must have 100% confidence that the products they have purchased are safe. All this costs money and we’re all paying for it.

With all this legislation we have yet to reach that point in the development of standards where someone stands up and says – “you know what, I think that is as good as it will ever get”. If we did get to that point we would all breathe a sigh of relief as the prospect of yet another course or presentation diminishes.

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