Machinery directive 2006/42/EC and Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC specifies the safety requirements related to electrical equipment within certain voltage limits and are essentials for the manufacturers who intend to sell their products in national and international markets. The voltage limits provide high level of protection for the users of machinery and related equipment and covers the range between 50 and 1000 V for alternating current and between 75 and 1500 V for direct current and the voltage refers to the input and output voltage not the voltage that appears inside the equipment. The low voltage directive has 16 articles and 5 annexes. The directive covers health and safety requirements covering all the risks associated with the high voltages and rendering the equipment safe for its intended use.
The guide to application of the machinery directive 2006/42/EC that was published by European Commission states that declaration of conformity in case of machinery directive is not referred to low voltage directive. However, the same guide also make it essential to comply with low voltage directive “the safety objectives set out in Directive 73/23/EEC shall apply to machinery." And Directive 73/23/EEC, which has recently been re-designated 2006/95/EC, is the LVD (Low Voltage Directive). The declaration is not necessitated but conformity with the low voltage directive should be ensured. The guide also provides details as to how machine builders ensure the conformity with low voltage directive by providing general specification of electrical equipment design in EN 60204-1 and specifications related to high voltage electrical equipment in standard EN 60204-11. The part of most interest is EN 60204-1 as very few machines incorporate high voltage electrical equipment. However, it is not the only standard that deals with the related specification of electrical equipment. The machinery and electrical equipment manufacturer must exercise caution when they determine which standards apply to their equipment. For instance many electrical engineers rely on 17th edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) for guidance yet it is not applicable to guidance related to machinery.
EN 60204-1 therefore gives indications to the manufacturers in relation to design and construction in general terms. It deals with various sections of machinery and related electrical equipment such as supply conductor terminations and disconnection/isolation devices; protection against electric shock; protection of equipment; equipotential bonding; control circuit and control functions; operator interfaces and machine-mounted control devices; control gear location, mounting and enclosures; conductors and cables; wiring practices; electric motors and associated equipment; accessories and lighting; and marking, warning signs and reference designations. It also covers technical documentation and verification/testing. The overview showed that compliance to the international regulations is not an easy task and a lot of time and effort could be saved by using expert advice.
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