A wastewater treatment plant at an electroplating business is being modernised. The plant consists of various tanks (some with agitators), a chamber filter press, various pumps and valves as well as measurement technology (flow rate, fill level, temperature, pH value) with one shared control cabinet. Various pumps, the chamber filter press, measurement technology and the complete control system are to be replaced. The measurement technology and automation, incl. the control cabinet, are coming from the supplier. The plant construction is being carried out by the customer - together with the supplier of the chamber filter press.
Question 1: Does this constitute an "assembly of machines"?
Question 2: If it does, who is the manufacturer and who is responsible for compliance with the directives?
Question 3: Does this constitute a "significant change", so that the plant has to be treated as a new plant?
To 1) Electroplating plants fall under the scope of the Machinery Directive. As the processes are linked, the case described does constitute an assembly of machines.
To 2) Each machine builder is responsible for ensuring that the completed as well as the partly completed machinery complies with the Machinery Directive.
With regard to the ASSEMBLY, a number of variations are possible:
The question is, what has been ordered / commissioned. This question must be clearly explained. If there is no clear statement contractually, then the operator must play the role of the person placing the product on the market and CE certify the plant or machine assembly.
Example A: A company is commissioned to exchange a small motor for a larger one.
Example B: A company is commissioned to exchange a small motor for a larger one, to check the plant for any significant change and if necessary to re-establish CE conformity.
In Example A it is not clear who is responsible for CE conformity. The operator will probably have to assume responsibility in this case. In Example B is it clear who needs to provide the service.
To 3) This cannot be answered across the board (from afar). It requires knowledge of the exact situation before and after conversion. An on-site inspection is therefore essential. The interpretation paper from BG may prove helpful.