REMEMBER THE LOW VOLTAGE DIRECTIVE
By Kim Boll Jensen, Bolls Rådgivnings- & Testcenter
There has been, and has been, a great focus on the EMC directive for a very long time. But what about the other directives, which are also required to be complied with when the CE mark is made?
The other directives most commonly considered to be complying with are:
The Low Voltage Directive
Radio & Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive (R&TTE)
In this small article, I will briefly describe a little about compliance with the Low Voltage Directive.
Start by setting the default. It is not enough to choose the standard used 5 years ago for the last version of the product. The CE marking requirements are dynamic, so start by checking the list of harmonised standards under the Low Voltage Directive, which can be seen HERE
Has there been a new version of the standard?
Has a new product family standard emerged?
Once the standard is set comes the next question: how to document compliance?
If the product is composed of several finished units, each of which is CE marked, the information must be compiled via declarations of conformity of the units and check whether they comply with the requirements to which the overall product is subject. After that, one's own construction must be reviewed according to the standard. Typically, it will not be necessary to perform tests other than high voltage tests, soil measurement, leakage current measurement and temperature measurement on the total product.
If the product has its own design, including finished components for installation (e.g. an open power supply), a report on compliance with the standard must be prepared and the tests prescribed by the standard must be carried out. For example, if the power supply is already approved, you can save a lot of tests, but still it must be checked whether it complies with the standard of the finished product once it is built in.
The necessary tests are – a little simplified:
Leakage current measurement
Soil resistance measurement
Examination of touch hazard/mechanical design
Single Error Simulation
Measurement of creep/air distances
Unfortunately, method and requirements are not the same from standard to standard and it is not always easy to understand which tests to carry out. Therefore, it may be a good idea to use the same "tool" as the large test houses do. They have produced a number of report forms, which can be purchased, among other things, through the IEC. These forms help you through the entire standard and also contain certain test forms.
You can find lists of EN and IEC test forms as well as links to IEC HERE
Many of the tests can easily be carried out with simple testing tools rather than buying expensive special equipment. Among other things, part of the standard uses a metal ball of 0.5 kg, which must fall onto the product from 1 meter height. Such a ball is difficult to obtain, but a ball from a pétanque game can be used finely, since it weighs only a bit more.
Boll's Advisory and Test Centre can, among other things, help and guide the introduction and implementation of standards, reports and test setups so that the subsequent products can be easily checked in the future. This work is carried out together with the customer, but the task can also be handed over to Bolls in partial tasks or for full implementation.
Once the product has been thoroughly tested and reports/documentation have been completed, you must complete your declaration of conformity and keep the documentation for 10 years after the last production of the product.
Also remember that there are requirements for manual and marking, this is stated in the standards.