EC Changes Its Mind on Extension to Safety Standard

28 September 2009

The EC has made a turnaround in its decision to extend the period in which EN 954-1 can be used. Despite their recent decision to allow machine builders to continue using the standard for a further three years, they have now withdrawn that decision and reconfirmed the original deadline of 29 December 2009.

Peter Still, Industry standards manager at Schneider Electric
Peter Still, Industry standards manager at Schneider Electric

This has caused a great deal of confusion throughout the industry, and the matter may still not be finished: the working group will meet in December and presumably make a final decision.

The recent extension announcement showed the EC’s recognition that some machine builders were not ready for the changes but its decision was reportedly disputed by industry experts. The extension has therefore been overturned for the time being, with a final announcement to be made early in December. However, this turnaround has clearly caused some confusion with machine builders and the future of the much relied upon EN 954-1, is unclear.

Peter Still, Industry standards manager at Schneider Electric, explains: “Although EN 954-1 is acceptable for use in many applications, the new standards, which provide a Presumption of Conformity to the new Machinery Directive, offer a higher level of safety so their use is encouraged by many organisations within the industry.

“Some critics believe that manufacturers will profit from the new standards by bringing new products to market that comply with BS EN ISO 13849-1 and BS EN 62061. This is not the case and manufacturers have not been developing new technologies purely to comply with the new standards; in fact the same equipment can often still be used.

“To ensure machine builders comply with the new standards, they will not have to purchase new equipment. From a manufacturer’s point of view, the main differences will be the data that is supplied with the products and the way that they are integrated into a control system. Schneider Electric has already invested heavily to ensure data is available to help machine builders meet the requirements of the updated standards.”

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