CE Machinery Directive: obtaining certification with kuhn.innovation

In our interview, Alfred Tenner tells us how he and his team at kuhn.innovation help companies to achieve CE certification. Continue reading

CE marking shows that a piece of machinery fulfils the requirements of the European Machinery Directive.[1] It is a prerequisite for putting a piece of machinery onto the market in the EU. Together with his team, Alfred Tenner, Managing Director and partner of Kuhn Innovation GmbH, draws up the necessary risk assessments and prepares the certification. In our interview, he tells us how and who they help to address the requirements of the CE Machinery Directive.

What distinguishes the kuhn.innovation CE certification process from that offered by other providers?

Alfred TennerAlfred Tenner, Managing Director and partner of Kuhn Innovation GmbH

There are three points that I consider to be of particular importance here: Firstly, in terms of general factors, we are 100% independent and we are not trying to sell any safety components or similar products. Secondly, as a manufacturing company, we come from a background of actual practice. This is especially advantageous when it comes to upgrades and retrofits. We know from our own experience how to ensure that risks are minimised. For example, with retrofits or expansions, companies are often unsure how they should deal with the requirements of the Machinery Directive. The assessment we perform allows us to see whether or not the retrofit constitutes a “significant change”. Furthermore, we have our own team of mechanical and electrical engineers and are therefore able to develop concepts and solutions in the area of safety technology. And thirdly, we guide the companies we work with through the entire process. That’s something we consider to be very important.

Guidance through the entire process: what exactly do you mean by this?

This means that we provide our customers with support during all the different stages of the certification process, from advice and suggestions as to how risk can be minimised through to drawing up the relevant documentation reading for signing. And we even go a step further: we prepare the CE workflow in such a way that, next time, the customer will be able to implement the measures required for compliance with the CE Machinery Directive themselves.

Who needs CE certification?

In short: any company that is planning to bring a piece of machinery onto the market for the first time in Europe. As a rule, that means manufacturers who are developing machinery, either for their own use or for sale. They may also be traders. An important point to remember: the manufacturer or company bringing the item of machinery onto the market retains responsibility for their item of machinery; they are the ones who ultimately sign the documentation.

What kind of companies come to you?

The companies that come to us don’t often need CE certification and therefore find the process quite difficult. Or they don’t have the required capacity available. This may be because they are smaller companies or they may be companies that need a new assessment of risks after having made modifications to an item of machinery. We cover a wide range of different areas: from robot cells and machinery from the packaging and food sector, through to machine tools. It goes without saying that we have also accompanied the process for casting machines.

In this context, we are able to draw on 25 years of experience in engineering. For my part, for example, I have had experience working with both the DIN Standards Committee and VDW[2], including adjustment of the C standards for better alignment within the Machinery Directive. The members of our team also have plenty of practical experience through their involvement in a range of individual projects. This can now be put to good use with the activities carried out by kuhn.innovation.

Grill robot of the company ITBB GmbH
Recently completed CE certification project of kuhn.innovation: Grill robot of the company ITBB GmbH

What kind of risks are assessed?

We consider all factors that can put humans at risk. We look at sharp edges and at risks created by the movement of machinery, and also cover risks related to fire or explosions. That’s quite a wide range of areas and has to be regularly updated.

What would your advice be to companies hoping to achieve CE certification?

In the best case, both mechanical and electrical engineers will already have some basic knowledge of risk assessment that they can bring to the design process. Following on from this, employees need to address the CE process in more depth and should develop and establish a workflow standard. From experience, I can say that this effort is worth it. It leads to greater legal security, fewer internal discussions, and ultimately also to standardised products.

We are happy to provide support to companies with the various individual stages, or across the whole process. Our focus here is on ensuring that the company will be able to carry out these tasks for themselves in the future. After all: machine safety is something that companies need to live and breathe internally!

If you have any questions on the CE Machinery Directive, or are hoping to obtain CE certification, please get in touch with us. We would be happy to help.

Some background information:

In Europe, CE marking is mandatory for all items of machinery. It tells us that the item of machinery complies with the relevant European guidelines. Every item of machinery is given just one CE marking. Only when this has been done can the item of machinery be sold or operated. CE marking is not a mark of quality and does not provide any indications as to the quality of the item of machinery or product.

[1] CE stands for Communauté Européenne – in English, “European Community”.

[2] VDW is the abbreviation for Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken (Association of German Machine Tool Factories) which acts as spokesperson for the German machine tool industry.

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