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New Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU

07.04.2016

The new European Low Voltage Directive (LVD) 2014/35/EU will come into force on the 21st of April 2016. Manufacturers, importers, and distributors should take this date into account when planning deals on electrical equipment on EEA and EU markets.

Scope Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU

As the previous Low Voltage Directive 2006/95/EC, the new LVD applies to electrical equipment with a rating of between 50V and 1000V for alternative current, and between 75V and 1500V for direct current. Compared to the previous Directive, the new Low Voltage Directive contains an additional exception for custom built evaluation kits destined for professionals to be used solely at research and development facilities for such purposes.

Obligations for economic operators

Several economic operators are offering electrical equipment on EU/EEA markets. In the Directive 2014/35/EU, four types of economic operators are mentioned: the manufacturer, the authorised representative, the importer, and the distributor. Depending on the type of economic operator different obligations apply.

The manufacturer who wishes to place electrical equipment on the market shall ensure that it has been designed and manufactured in accordance with safety objectives laid down by Directive 2014/35/EU [1]. Additionally, the manufacturer shall draw up the Technical Documentation and carry out the conformity assessment procedure.

Based on Technical Documentation it should be possible to assess if the electrical equipment meets with the relevant requirements and if the manufacturer has followed the appropriate conformity assessment procedure. The Technical Documentation shall include [2]:

  • A risk analysis;
  • A general description of the electrical equipment;
  • Conceptual design and manufacturing drawings and schemes of components, sub-assemblies, etc.;
  • Description and explanations necessary for the understanding of those drawings;
  • A list of the harmonised standards applied in full or in part;
  • Results of design calculations made, examinations carried out, etc.;
  • Test reports.

Manufacturers shall ensure that the electrical equipment bears a type, batch or serial number, or other data allowing for its identification, as well as the manufacturer’s registered tradename or trademark and his postal address. The electrical equipment shall be accompanied by instructions and safety information in a language which can be easily understood by the consumer and other end-users, as determined by the Member State concerned [3].

Once determined that the electrical equipment has met with the applicable requirements of the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU, the manufacturer should draw up an EU declaration of conformity and affix the CE marking on the electrical equipment.

Other economic operators, such as importers [4] and distributors [5], mostly have monitoring and verification tasks. These operators must ensure adequate control of only placing electrical equipment that meets the requirements on the EU market, but they do not need to run a conformity assessment themselves. This is different if an importer is placing a piece of electrical equipment on the EU market. In that case, he is seen as the manufacturer and must carry out all obligations of the manufacturer.

Economic operators should take into account that besides the Low Voltage Directive 2014/35/EU, other European Directives and/or Regulations may apply to electrical equipment. Examples of Directives that cover electrical equipment:

  • Ecodesign Directive 2009/125/EC
  • EMC Directive 2004/108/EC (2014/30/EU)
  • RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU
[1] Article 3, Annex I New Low Voltage Directive 2014/35 / EU.

[2] Annex III New Low Voltage Directive 2014/35 / EU.

[3] Article 6, paragraph 6 New Low Voltage Directive 2014/35 / EU.

[4] Article 8 New Low Voltage Directive 2014/35 / EU.

[5] Article 9 New Low Voltage Directive 2014/35 / EU.

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