EMC regulations face major shakeup

June 23, 2014 // By Nick Flaherty
New EMC regulations are about to come into force with stronger enforcement measures for any electronic product going on sale in Europe.

Directive 2014/30/EU on Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) 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 UK test lab York EMC.

The enforcement in Germany 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. Some of the newer member states are expected to take a hard line on enforcement to show they are serious about the market, he added.

An EU member state will have a responsibility to require the relevant economic operator to correct the non-compliance, agrees German compliance lab TÜV Rheinland., including taking all appropriate measures to restrict or prohibit the apparatus being made available on the market or ensure that it is recalled or withdrawn from the market. The 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 the lab. 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 won't 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.