High-frequency drive legislation – do you comply?

31 March 2015

New legislation covering the export of high frequency (HF) drives needs to be considered by machine builders and system integrators. 

EU Regulation No. 428/2009 and subsequent amendments cover the export of goods, software and technology normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications, or may contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With this in mind, the EU controls the export, transit and brokering of these items as a key instrument contributing to international peace and security.

The amended legislation came into force in the EU in December and, among other things, concerns the supply of HF capable drives which produce an output frequency of greater than 600 Hz.  Regulations controlling the export of high frequency drives are already in force in the US, and similar regulations were also recently introduced to China.

In order to comply with the legislation, businesses that export goods or machines that incorporate goods that are controlled under the terms of the EU regulation to locations outside the EU need to apply for the relevant export licences from their respective governments. The changes also have an effect on the documentation required in any transaction, as well as the measures which are taken to securely store the controlled goods.

High frequency drives are used in a number of applications, including automotive testing, turbine test benches, grinding, where speeds in excess of those which can be achieved by a standard variable speed drive are required. However, drives operating at higher output frequencies can also be used in the process of refining nuclear materials, which is the reason for the stricter export controls brought in with the amended legislation.

Emerson Industrial Automation is advising OEMs and machine builders who incorporate HF drives in their designs that it is they, not the drives manufacturer, who are responsible for checking and evaluating whether or not their machines comply with the relevant legislation. 

It is also important for businesses to identify whether any existing machines and systems are affected by the directive, as it could affect their ability to export their machines.

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