Counterfeit clamp down headed by machinery associations12 December 2011
A market surveillance initiative has been launched by seven European machinery industry trade associations to promote the effective monitoring of goods sold on the European market and strengthen regulatory compliance.
Along with several associations representing both construction and non-construction related machinery manufacturers, the European manufacturers association of materials handling, lifting and storage equipment (FEM) has signed up to a manifesto setting out a ten point plan for cracking down on machinery that fails to comply with EU standards.
This manifesto can be found on an industry support website, which was launched at a one-day conference on market surveillance held by the European Commission.
Targeted at market surveillance authorities and market operators the document, aims to help them provide a more stringent framework that will ensure fewer non-compliant machines imported into Europe pass undetected onto job sites, where the consequences of using such machinery can be dire.
It also hopes to improve market competitiveness by eliminating unfair competition from machinery and component suppliers that may unknowingly use counterfeit parts or sub-standard machinery for work in Europe.
According to a survey carried out by the Committee for European Construction Equipment, one of the seven associations signed up to the manifesto, just under 50% of machinery manufacturers surveyed believed they had seen examples of non-compliant machinery on a job site.
A further 37% believed that they had lost sales due to a customer opting for a possibly cheaper, but non-compliant piece of machinery.
At the event, Manitowoc Cranes director for the EMEA region, Philippe Cohet advised greater use of RFID tagging during the production process to make identification of counterfeit parts simpler.
He also emphasised the importance of educating sales staff and distributors on how to spot non-compliant machinery to provide further checks and balances in case non-compliant machinery has already entered the supply chain.
Urs WIdmer, president of CECIP—the European association for national trade organisations representing European manufacturers of weighing instruments—underlined the importance of this point when he explained the association had conducted its own tests on weighing scales it found on the market that were significantly cheaper than the typical compliant alternatives.
He found that 36 of the 37 scales tested were non-compliant, although at some point each different type of scale had gained type approval from the relevant standards body.
FEM asserts that the shortcomings of the existing system can be dealt with using the ten point plan, which calls for greater cooperation between regulatory bodies and the use of deterrent sanctions against offending companies, amongst other measures.
FEM stated: “The market surveillance system is seen as predominantly reactive rather than preventive, resulting in a significant number of non-compliant machines placed on the EU market.
“Although legally, it is up to the Member States to carry out market surveillance so as to make sure that products on the European market respect our rules and regulations, the machinery industry is committed to working with the authorities and to provide assistance, whether in the form of technical support or, for instance, by alerting authorities on non-compliant machinery entering or circulating on the Internal Market.”
The market surveillance support website, which includes useful information for manufacturers, distributors and regulating authorities can be found at: http://machinery-surveillance.eu/