The world's largest single market, the European Community (EC) was born on 1 January 1993 (changing its name to EU in November 1993. It is now always expressed as EU, apart from EC directives.) EU member country products have always had their quality and safety guaranteed according to the individual standards of each member country.
However, the standards of each country being differet prevented the free flow of goods within the EU. For this reason, in order to eliminate non-tariff barriers due to these standards, and to maximize the merits of EU unification, the EC directives were issued concomitant to the birth of the EU.
The EN standards were established as universal EU standards in order to facilitate EU directives. These standards were merged with the international IEC standards and henceforth reflect the standards in all countries. Also, the CE marking show that products conform to EC directives, and guarantee the free flow of products within the EC.
The main EC directives that are to do with machinery and electrical equipment are the machinery directive, the EMC directive, the low voltage directive, and the telecom directive. Although these directives have already been issued, the date of their enactments different for each one. The machinery directive was 1 January 1995. The EMC directive was 1 January 1996, and the low voltage directive was enacted from 1 January 1997. The telecom directive was established by the separate CTR (Common Technology References.)
Machinery that is supplied to the market is to have no adverse effects on the health or safety of people if the machine is properly installed, maintained, and used only as intended. These considerations determine the necessary safety requirements. With some exceptions, the directive covers mainly machine tools and injection mold equipment, automated machinery, construction equipment, and other industrial machinery, but it also covers some household machinery products that have hazardous moving parts.
Before electric and electronic equipment can be sold, it must conform to EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) requirements. Effectively, such equipment must neither be a source of EMI (electromagnetic interference), nor malfunction owing to extraneous EMS (electromagnetic susceptibility). As well as products such as television and radio, mobile phones and personal computers, regulated products that emit electromagnetic waves include NC machinery and machine tools which use solenoids and motors, and items such as robot controllers. So, not only must equipment not emit electromagnetic waves that have a powerful external effect, it is also required to be immune to influence from extraneous electromagnetic waves.
To be eligible for sale in various countries, electrical products that use relatively low voltage (AC 50 to 1,000 V; DC 75 to 1,500 V) must conform to the basic requirements that are stipulated for the country. This directive is in legal force in each country with the effect that only products conforming to the stipulations of the directive can be sold. It is applicable to nearly every type of electrical product and device including domestic appliances and office equipment.
This directive applies to all terminal equipment that is directly or indirectly connected to public lines and all communications equipment that sends or receives radio transmissions.
Fax machines, modems, and other wireless devices are also included within its broad scope.
To stipulate more detailed technical specifications, EN regulations and common technical standards known as CTR are also applied. In this way, the directive regulates the particular needs of the R&TTE field that cannot be covered by the Low Voltage Directive or the EMC Directive.
An abbreviation of Norme Europeenne (in French), and called European Standards in English. Approval is by vote among the CEN/CENELEC member countries conform to the international ISO/IEC standards.
The 25 members of the EU and four countries in the EFTA are obliged to adopt EN regulations as applicable national standards. Consequently, a DOW (latest date of withdrawal of conflicting national standards) is decided and, during the stipulated period, a signatory nation must withdraw any national standards that are in conflict with EN regulations.
If there is no applicable EN standard (or HD document), products must conform either to standards based on IEC or, if there is no IEC standard, to standards applicable in particular countries such as VDE, BS, and SEMKO.
Each EC directive stipulates, as one of the conditions for display of the CE mark, that the each factory producing the marked products has a proper policy regarding quality assurance. The ISO9000 series (ISO9001 and ISO9002) has become a widespread national standard for factory quality assurance systems.
Quality assurance system for design, development, monitoring,
manufacturing, inspection, installation, and service
Quality assurance system for manufacturing, inspection, and service
The automation control products of Panasonic are manufactured in facilities that are verified to have excellent quality assurance systems based on compliance with ISO9000 Series standards issued by an internationally recognized accreditation and certification body.