Industrial Manufacturing: What happens when you don't comply?

Last updated: 30 May 2024


Rules are meant to be broken, so they say...

This isn't true when it comes to European Directives for Industrial Manufacturers. If you're considering expanding your market to Europe, understanding the Machinery Directive (MD) and Low Voltage Directive (LVD) is crucial. These regulations ensure the safety of machinery and electrical equipment sold in the European Union.

These two key directives impact machinery and electrical safety in European industrial manufacturing:

  1. Machinery Directive (MD): This directive (2006/42/EC) focuses on the safety of machinery throughout its entire lifecycle, from design and manufacturing to use and disposal. Its goal is to ensure the free movement of machinery within the EU market while prioritizing safety.

  2. Low Voltage Directive (LVD): This directive (2014/35/EU) deals specifically with electrical equipment operating within a certain voltage range (50-1000V for AC, 75-1500V for DC). It ensures this equipment meets safety standards to protect users from electrical hazards.


How do they apply to industrial manufacturing?


  • Machinery Directive: Most machinery used in industrial settings falls under the MD. Complying with essential safety requirements outlined in the directive is a must for manufacturers from the USA and Canada. This may involve incorporating safety features, conducting risk assessments, and creating technical documentation.

  • Low Voltage Directive: Any electrical equipment used within the machinery, like motors, control panels, or lighting systems, needs to comply with the LVD. This ensures electrical components function safely and pose minimal risk of shock or other hazards.


Do the Machinery and Electrical Safety Directives overlap?


Yes, there can be some overlap between the two directives. For instance, a machine might be considered "machinery" under the MD but also contain electrical components that have to comply with the LVD. In these cases, manufacturers need to address both directives to ensure overall safety.

What happens if your product doesn't comply?


There can be several negative consequences if a product doesn't comply with the Machinery Directive (MD) or Low Voltage Directive (LVD) in Europe:

  • Market Access Denied: Authorities can block the sale or import of non-compliant machinery or electrical equipment. This can significantly hinder your ability to reach European customers.

  • Fines and Legal Action: Manufacturers or distributors found selling non-compliant products could face hefty fines or legal action depending on the severity of the non-compliance and any resulting incidents.

  • Product Recalls:If a safety hazard is identified with a product already on the market, you'll likely be forced to recall it, leading to significant costs and reputational damage.

  • Product Liability:In case of injuries caused by a non-compliant product, manufacturers could be liable for damages, leading to expensive lawsuits.

  • Brand Reputation Damage: News of non-compliance can spread quickly in today's world, damaging your brand reputation and potentially impacting sales in other regions.

Long story short, non-compliance with the MD and LVD is a serious risk that can lead to financial losses, legal trouble, and reputational damage. Avoid challenges by hiring an experienced business development team!

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