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12 October 2011

Machinery compliance should be an essential safety foundation for manufacturing companies.

The recession has impacted significantly in the manufacturing sector and many employees working in areas such as health & safety, environment and quality can often cover a number of functions. However, factors such as machinery certification are often overlooked.

AV Technology has a vast knowledge of machine safety regulations and the expertise to independently assess manufacturing equipment and provide the appropriate certification and validation. 

The company was recently commissioned by a world leading manufacturer to help attain the necessary accreditation to enable a shipment of machinery to reach its destination.


Wright Manufacturing is a leader in lawn maintenance technology, dedicated to producing the safest, most durable lawn equipment in the world. Since its inception over twenty years ago, the company has revolutionised commercial lawn maintenance and has come to represent quality and efficiency worldwide.

The innovative company turned to leading machinery certification specialists AV Technology (AVT) to resolve a compliance problem with a delivery of £4 million worth of lawnmowers to a buyer in France.


The delivery of lawnmowers from Wright in the USA was stopped by French customs at the France/Belgium border because the correct documentation was not supplied to prove that the machines were compliant with the EU’s Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and to the Outdoor Noise Directive 2000/14/EC.

The lawnmowers were impounded and placed in a bonded warehouse at a considerable cost to Wright Manufacturing whilst the situation was worked out. AVT was contacted to investigate, resolve the problem and advise Wright Manufacturing on all areas related to the Machinery Directive and the Outdoor Noise Directive.


AVT’s first step was to find out exactly why the French customs were concerned with the goods. It has been known that impounded goods that do not conform to the correct EU standards could be destroyed. The CE team had to act quickly and diplomatically.

Customs stated that the machinery should be shipped back to the US, the compliance issues corrected or the machinery destroyed.

AVT then had to then check exactly what the status was with the compliance of the machines. Although the buyers had received a declaration of conformity, the technical construction file must be available to be complied but the detailed information necessary to cover the compliance to 2006/42/EC or 2000/14/EC was not available.

Chris Leonard, AVT’s machinery certification consultant, then went to Wright Manufacturing’s head office in the US to advise and witness the machinery through the correct process of testing and approval.

AVT helped create technical construction files for four different types of lawnmowers comprising:

·     A risk assessment to identify the hazards and the measures taken to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with the assembly, commissioning, transport, operation, maintenance and disposal of the machinery.
·     A list of the Essential Health and Safety Requirements [EHSR] met and the measures taken to cover those individual relevant EHSRs.
·     Reports demonstrating compliance to harmonised European standards.
·     Other technical reports on individual tests completed to prove compliance to the directives – such as noise tests, foot probe tests.
·     Instruction manual covering all aspects of assembly, transportation, operation, maintenance and disposal.
·     Declaration of Conformity.
·     Details of any internal measures to ensure machinery continues to conform – such as ISO 9001 certification and validation of production quality procedures.

It took a week for Chris to do the imperative risk assessments, identify any potential hazards and witness the essential tests required to demonstrate compliance. It then took around three weeks to pull together the correct documents that make up the technical construction files so that the machinery could be certified to the Machinery and Outdoor Noise Directives.

During this time, AVT continued to speak to the team at Wright Manufacturing, reassuring them that their products would be protected and that the setback would be resolved.


The process to certify the machinery took four weeks from identification, to certification validation and resolution.

The French customs were satisfied that all the relevant checks were done; the products had received a correct conformity assessment and gained European approval under the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and the Outdoor Noise Directive. The lawnmowers were released and delivered to the buyers in France.

AVT’s work resulted in significant cost and reputation savings and Wright Manufacturing avoided any penalties or stops to further imports, which may be a consequence if ignored.


Chris Leonard, AVT said: “As a consultancy that specialises in machinery certification, AVT is often approached by companies who may not know how to undertake the exercise of achieving compliance with European legislation. However, some companies can overlook the exact specifications for EU accreditation, which can cause problems when exporting to Europe as we experienced here.

“Essentially, it is crucial that a technical file is assembled for all machinery. But the responsibility does not just sit with the manufacturer. I would urge anyone who purchases equipment to confirm in advance what they are buying meets safety requirements, and that supplying companies are complying with all the relevant regulations.”

For further information, please contact:

Steve Mottershead, Managing Director
AV Technology Ltd

Arkle Avenue
Stanley Green Trading Estate
Phone: 0161 486 3737 are not responsible for the content of submitted or externally produced articles and images.
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