Compliance & Precision News Round-Up - Issue 57

This issue covers:

  • Electronic product safety – know your responsibilities
  • AMDEA advice on EU standards
  • New test station provides lighting sector productivity boost
  • Semiconductor market shows marginal growth
  • New BEAMA Networks LinkedIn group
  • North Carolina attempts to rewrite appliance recycling laws

Electronic product safety – know your responsibilities

With regular reports of the safety risks associated with counterfeit and recalled electrical and electronic equipment, a useful article highlights the law in this area and the responsibilities of the supply chain.

In particular, with mistakes in health and safety law potentially proving very expensive, the article warns that no manufacturer is immune, however robust their failure mode analysis and however punctilious their quality control procedures. In addition, while producers may bear the brunt, traders should also reflect as to how well prepared they are to respond to major product safety issues, comply with their own legal obligations and handle consumer concerns.

When it comes to product safety, EU law places the primary obligations on the manufacturer, brand-owner or first importer into the EU under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 (GPSR). Responsibility also means ensuring compliance with other legislative requirements including national legislation.

However, while the primary obligations around product safety are placed on producers, and regulators typically look to them to take the lead in resolving product safety concerns, traders also have obligations under GPSR.

These include a requirement not to supply any product which is known to be or should have been presumed to be dangerous, and an obligation to participate in post-sales monitoring of safety, including by passing on information as to the risks posed by the product.

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AMDEA advice on EU standards

The UK Association for Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) has provided an up date on product standards and compliance issues on its website.

The trade association reports that the recast directives on Low Voltage Equipment (LVD covering safety) and Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) ad to be transposed by 20 April. However, there are as yet no Statutory Instruments making them law in the UK and AMDEA understands that these are unlikely to be published before the autumn.

Also, there should have been new citations of Harmonised Standards published in the Official Journal of the European Union but full details have yet to be provided.

Fortunately, the technical requirements are unchanged so AMDEA’s advice for appliance manufacturers is to continue to use the existing citation of standards but refer to the new Directives for the time being.

In addition, the Directive on Radio and Telecommunication Terminal Equipment (R&TTED) has been revised to become the Radio Equipment Directive (RED). This came into effect from 13 June 2016 and needs to be considered in tandem with the revised LVD and EMC directives.

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New test station provides lighting sector productivity boost

Investment in new test technology has enabled a leading manufacturer of industrial and commercial lighting products to significantly reduce production line test times, increasing productivity and manufacturing efficiencies.

Hadar Lighting designs and manufactures a wide range of lighting fixtures, including systems for hazardous areas in industrial and commercial environments.

As well as traditional lighting products, the company is increasingly providing high performance LED luminaires and has recently upgraded its production line test technology with the purchase of specialist Clare HAL LED testers from Seaward.

The HAL LED incorporates a range of flexible electrical test capabilities to meet the demands of different production line testing needs. At Hadar the new advanced test stations perform earth bond testing alongside an AC/DC flash test, insulation test and function test to ensure that all products meet the test specification needs of all relevant luminaire product standards.

Push button activation enables pre-determined tests entered in the HAL LED to be carried out automatically on each lighting fixture. Importantly, the automatic test sequencing feature has enabled previous test times to be reduced by almost 20 seconds on each individual fixture, giving overall throughput savings of up to one hour on typical product runs of 200 lighting units.

In addition, networking of the new HAL LED test stations with the Safety e-Base Pro software program enables all test results to be automatically recorded against product serial numbers, improving product certification and providing a fully traceable pass/fail record keeping system.

Steve Baron, Production Engineer at Hadar, said: “The multi-function and flexible test platform provided by the HAL LED has already contributed to considerable improvements in our production line throughputs by significantly reducing test times.

“The integrated system not only means that results are recorded automatically as tests are undertaken, but reduces the reliance on operator control and intervention.”

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Semiconductor market shows marginal growth

Industrial semiconductor revenues rose slightly in 2015 despite weakness in the overall semiconductor industry and, in particular, an economic slowdown headwinds in China, according to market analysts IHS.

Year-over-year global industrial semiconductor revenue rose less than 1% in 2015 to reach $41.9 billion. This slight revenue increase in 2015 follows solid growth of 11.5% in 2014 and 9.8% in 2013.

Broad-based growth in industrial electronics gained momentum in products used for commercial aircraft, LED lighting, digital-video surveillance, climate control, smart meters, traction, wireless application-specific testers and medical electronics. However, the continued weakness in overall industrial end-market demand caused by falling oil prices and the slowdown in China, especially in factory automation and power and energy markets, stalled semiconductor growth.

Texas Instruments (TI) maintained its strong position as the largest industrial semiconductor supplier in the world in 2015, followed by Infineon Technologies and Intel. IHS said. STMicroelectronics dropped from third place to fourth place, while Analogue Devices remained in fifth position.

IHS said that strong momentum in the industrial electronics category is expected to continue, as the leading application growth driver in the semiconductor industry through 2020. In fact, the industrial semiconductor market is expected to grow at an 8.4% CAGR between 2015 and 2020. Details of the market report are available here.

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New BEAMA Networks LinkedIn group

BEAMA is making some significant changes to support the BEAMA Networks industry to improve communications with members.

As part of these efforts, the organisation has created a Networks LinkedIn Group to provide an online forum to discuss current issues with members. The initiative will provide briefings for members on topical developments and monitor the need for extensions to BEAMA Networks activities.

The BEAMA Networks LinkedIn group is for manufacturers and distributors of equipment for the electricity transmission and distribution industry, and includes contracting and installation companies. More details here

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North Carolina attempts to rewrite appliance recycling laws

An interesting story reaches us from the USA that highlights moves in North Carolina to reverse legislation that prohibits electrical and electronic appliances from going into landfill.

In direct contrast to the situation in Europe with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), it seems that North Carolina lawmakers want their previously similar rules removed because there aren't enough recyclers accepting electronic equipment – and appliances are being dumped in woodlands and by roadsides.

A 2010 law barring the electronics from landfills also created a recycling program, paid for by annual fees charged to electronics manufacturers, which accept the used products or have recycling outlets doing so on their behalf.

Senator Trudy Wade said: "If recycling ever comes back and there's a profit to be made, we can always change the law and go back to recycling, but right now, we have a bigger problem with them being abandoned and the possibility of having some kind of contamination because we don't have anywhere to put them."

Do you use Clare or Cropico equipment? - If you think you may have a story for future e-news bulletins, please let us know by contacting us here.

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