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Machine-builders 'need to be wary of wireless'

19 November, 2014

The product compliance specialist TÜV SÜD is warning machine-builders who use wireless modules in their products, that they may be selling non-compliant equipment.

Wireless modules are being added to many products, including factory machinery, that were not traditionally subject to the Radio and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R&TTE) Directive. They must now meet its requirements and many manufacturers do not realise this.

They often presume that when they integrate an R&TTE-compliant module into a machine, no further radio testing is necessary. However, this is not the case if the module is not integrated in accordance with the module manufacturer’s instructions, and it must also meet additional requirements of the R&TTE Directive, such as safety and EMC aspects.

“The problem is that while these wireless modules are being sold to manufacturers as being compliant, once they are integrated into another product that changes the rules,” explains Jean-Louis Evans, managing director of TÜV SÜD Product Service.

“Manufacturers are assuming that because the wireless module is compliant, that they do not have to do any more tests to declare against different standards,” he continues. “This is wrong. Market surveillance authorities can come down hard on manufacturers that supply non-compliant equipment to the market and ignorance of the rules is no excuse.”

In June 2016, the R&TTE Directive will be superseded by the Radio Equipment Directive (RED). The essential requirements of the RED are largely identical to those of R&TTE, so the situation regarding wireless modules will not change.

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