Are we required to follow the CE standards for EMC in the development of a machine safety project in North America?

For some time I have been asking myself this question in front of the number of issue we face went we put in service safety equipement with electro magnetic noise. My first contact with the problem was when installing and putting into service a safety systems base on  camera on a press brake.

The customer complained about the device tripping. After investigating and analyzing systems error codes We came to the conclusion that the problems came from EMC noises. Several visits and tries later we eliminated the majority of the problems. Thanks to Stefano Medved of Enerdoor and his radiation detection equipment. He was able to locate the problem on the RS232 communication port.

As I lost a lot of time with different safety application and EMC issue. I became curious and I always looked for an approach to avoid these kinds of problems. I subsequently experienced the problem in the start-up of a light curtains and a safety controllers form different brand and I have always lost a crazy amount of time to find this kind of problem as it is not all Devices that give us a clear diagnosis. . One thing is always common in most of the problems.The error codes always points in the direction of EMC and the manufacturer always told me that this type of problems is unusual in Europe.

After thinking about the issue and reading  several manufacturer manuals I realized one thing. All manuals give the recommendation to follow the CE standards for EMC. What for?  Well the compatibility standards are there to ensure that noise-generating devices do not generate more than a certain level of noise and that other devices resist at this level.  But as in Canada and USA we do not follow the EMC standards and the level of noise in our factories far exceeds the EMC level of the CE products.

In addition the safety products have special circuits for the detection of the presence of noise. These circuits are necessary to prevent a malfunction and to avoid a dangerous situation. On the other hand, if the analysis is pushed further and an accident on a machine is related to a malfunction of a safety device and that is related to problems of EMC. In the case of a law suit It will be difficult to defend your selfs if the installer or designer has not followed the Rules stipulated in the manual even on a North American installation as the installation manual and its instructions are an integral part of the safe use conditions of the safety devices.

In conclusion I will recommend to follow the CE standards when building machine that integrates safety devices. This means the use of EMC filter and the use of EMC-resistant cabling technology.

So the answer to the question up here is  yes!

In addition you will save a huge time during your startup and prevent production lost


Gilles Laberge

Prosynergic Manufacturing Agent