A new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC becomes applicable on 29 December 2009, superseding the existing Machinery Directive 98/37/EC. Although the two are similar in many respects, there are significant differences that will affect machine builders, those performing final assembly and CE marking of machinery, and those placing imported machinery on the market in the European Economic Area.
Key changes include the scope - which now includes construction site hoists and cartridge-operated fixing and other impact machinery - and the relationship with the Low-Voltage Directive (LVD). The new Directive also introduces the concept of 'partly completed machinery' to replace the previously problematic 'machinery which cannot function independently.'
An apparently small - yet important - change to the Directive is that fixings for fixed guards can no longer be loose; they must now remain attached to either the machine or the guard when the guard is removed.
For some types of machinery (listed in Annex IV) the conformity assessment procedures have been liberalised. Under the new Directive, manufacturers have the option to self-certify, thereby avoiding the need to deposit the technical file with a Notified Body. For other Annex IV machinery, manufactures can either request EC type-examination by a Notified Body or have a Notified Body approve their full quality assurance system.
The above is just a brief synopsis of the main changes to the Directive. However, Pilz has sponsored the production of the 'MachineBuilding.net Guide to the New Machinery Directive', which is available free of charge as a PDF. This guide explains the changes in much greater detail, as well as covering the background to the new Directive, timescales, and sources of further information.
Order a copy of the 'Guide to the New Machinery Directive' from the MachineBuilding.net website.