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Compliance & Precision News Round-Up - Issue 10

This issue covers:

Seaward shines at lighting company

Designplan, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of weather and vandal resistant and security lighting, has improved electrical safety test standards using the advanced ClareHAL 104 from Seaward.

The company designs, assembles and distributes LED and fluorescent lighting fittings and is using two HAL 104’s on the production lines at its factory in Sutton, Surrey to test upwards of 5,000 lighting control gear tray assemblies each week.

The HAL 104’s perform a range of tests to ensure compliance with EN 60598 and guarantee product quality, performance and reliability. These include earth continuity, a 500V DC insulation test which uses a DC test voltage to protect sensitive electronic components during testing and a high voltage flash test when required.

Function testing is also undertaken as part of the test programme to check that each unit switches on/off and lights correctly and that any ancillary equipment works in accordance with technical specifications.

Alan Dack, technical manager at Designplan, said: “The HAL 104 is an excellent instrument, which works extremely well providing fast, accurate and reliable testing.

“We considered a range of instruments but went with the HAL104 because, among many other benefits, it provided function testing – the only one we could find that would do this and meet our specific test requirements.

“Another advantage is that it's technologically advanced; so its future proof, enabling us to meet unexpected test requirements as we introduce more production line improvements in the coming years.

“Features like the barcode scanner, which improves data logging and traceability, and the ability for the test results to be networked will be particularly beneficial.”

The HAL 104 combines the performance of a multi-function production line safety tester with load and power factor measurement for product energy consumption and ratings assessments.

The instrument meets the end of line electrical safety compliance tests required by the majority of national and international product safety standards, including EN 60335, EN 60745 and EN 60598 and others. Further product information at www.seaward.co.uk/news

ESC investigates safety of LED lamps for fluorescent tubes

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) recently commissioned an independent laboratory to carry out basic safety testing on a random selection of four LED linear T8 lamps, sourced from online UK suppliers.

In February 2011, the Low Voltage Directive Administrative Co-operation Working Group (LVD ADCO) issued a report expressing concerns with both T8 LED replacement tubes and the modifications necessary to existing luminaires in order for them to operate correctly.

These concerns were in respect of their safety and the risk of electric shock, with many products not complying with safety requirements.

To look into these concerns, in the ESC tests, the LED lamps were fitted in fluorescent-type luminaires incorporating both high frequency (electronic) and wire-wound (electromagnetic) control gear. The tests were designed to ascertain whether there were any potential hazards when fitting and removing this type of lamp and when a modification to the luminaire had to be made. An assessment was also carried out of the potential hazard that may arise should someone attempt to refit a standard fluorescent lamp into a modified fitting.

Among the results found by the ESC were that in two of the four lamp samples tested, the combination of voltage and current measured during installation/removal of the lamp between the live pins of the lamp and earth would in certain circumstances be considered an electric shock hazard. After modification, the luminaire would present a hazard if refitted with the original or replacement fluorescent lamps.

The ESC concludes that despite the LVD ADCO reiteration to operators of their obligation to ensure compliance of these products with the LVD, it is clear from this investigation that potentially unsafe retrofit LED lamps continue to be placed on the market.

Working with Trading Standards, UK importers have been subject to investigation and ordered to recall unsafe products.

More details in the summer issue of the ESC’s Switched On magazine at www.esc.org.uk

Energy labels for tumble dryers

A new energy label for tumble dryers has now been published. The new labels should start to appear on appliances this year, although they will not be mandatory until May 2013.

The move follows a decision on 1 March 2012 when the European Commission adopted Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 392/2012 supplementing Directive 2010/30/EU with regard to energy labelling of household tumble driers.

The regulation (EU) No 392/2012 establishes requirements for the labelling of and the provision of supplementary product information for electric-mains operated and gas-fired household tumble driers, and built-in household tumble driers, including those sold for non-household use.

Household combined washer-driers and household spin extractors are excluded from this Regulation.

In similar news for other domestic appliances, Ecodesign and energy labelling regulations for vacuum cleaners are still under discussion. The latest set of amendments still needs to be agreed so that the Regulatory Committee can vote on a final version in November. The label will include the standard 7 coloured bands and an annual energy rating and noise rating plus pictograms for hard floor and carpet options.

More at www.bureauveritas.com

EU Unsafe Products Report for 2011

According to and EU Commission report, 1803 notifications of products posing a serious risk to health and safety were processed through the rapid information system (RAPEX) for 2011.

This represents a 20% decrease in notifications over 2010’s 2244 notifications, but still a nearly 400% increase in the number of notifications received in 2004, when the RAPEX system processed just 468 notifications.

In its annual report, the Commission attributes the 2011 decrease in notifications to the end of joint enforcement actions by EU member states and budgetary restrictions that led to enforcement resource constraints. However, the Commission also noted that a wider and more thorough use of RAPEX risk assessment guidelines allowed enforcement authorities in member states to better focus their attention on products posing the most serious safety risks.

Of the 1803 notifications of products processed through the RAPEX system during the year as presenting a serious risk to consumers, 423 (27%) were related to clothing, textiles and fashion items, with an additional 324 (21%) related to toys, and 153 (10%) related to electrical appliances. There were also 171 notifications related to motor vehicles (11%), and 66 notifications (4%) related to childcare articles and children’s equipment.

Regarding the country of origin identified in connection with products posing a serious safety risk, more than half of all notifications (54%) were related to products originating from China, including Hong Kong. Another 19% of unsafe products originated in EU member states, while 8% failed to identify any country of origin.

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