For free circulation of goods in the European Union, the law requires products to comply with all applicable European directives in force at the time they are introduced onto the market. Recognition of compliance consists in the CE marking applied to the product itself: a unique logo, which sums up all the prerequisites for the product (such as the Low-Voltage Directive and the EMC Directive).
The definition of the directives and, consequently, the technical standards, which requires the relative tests to be conducted depends on the type of product being certified, but the EMC Directive covers products across the board and is indeed always present for all electric/electronic machinery. Here is an example: an electrical appliance such as a lighting device must comply with the EMC Directive and the electrical safety directive (Low Voltage Directive); a calculator must comply with the EMC Directive, the electrical safety directive and, if connected to telephone lines, the ITE Directive; industrial equipment must comply with the EMC Directive the electrical safety directives and the machine directives.
The EMC Directive provides the prerequisites with which the equipment and systems must comply by applying, in a timely manner, harmonized basic and/or product standards or through the aid of a notified body.
The technical standard to be used to demonstrate compliance with the directive prerequisite is drafted by the European regulation body CENELEC, based on international documents. Specifically, the standards for electromagnetic compatibility are divided into basic standards, generic standards and product standards.
The basic standards define methods, configurations and test instruments. The generic standards establish the essential requirements for products intended for use in a certain environment, and they define the related tests according to the basic standards. Only the industrial and domestic environments are covered at the European level at present, but a technical specification does already exist for high-voltage stations and substations at the international level (IEC). Lastly, the product standards identify the specific requirements for a certain product type, group or category.
As an alternative to conducting all the tests indicated in the standards, technical documentation (a technical construction file) can be drafted which technically justifies compliance with the directive requirements, also including specific ad hoc tests. This documentation must then be assessed and approved by a notified body in accordance with EU rules.
The European directive and international standards
- The European Directive 2014/30/EU issued in 2014-02-26 introduces new regulations on electromagnetic compatibility. It therefore replaces the previous Directive 2004/108/EC, repealed after 25 years in force.
- The new Directive puts in place some important new requirements including repealing the Competent Bodies and introducing the Notified Bodies.
- The Directive also specifies that harmonized technical standards are no longer obligatory and, consequently, equipment compliance can be demonstrated through technical analysis of the design.
Last page update: 2016.12.15 - Rev.: 1.0