Consultancy service assists CE marking of wind turbine

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Proven Energy engaged Laidler Associates to help complete the compliance procedure for CE marking its latest small wind turbine to the new European Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, including preparing the technical file.

Consultancy service assists CE marking of wind turbineAs a well established manufacturer of wind turbines, Proven Energy was well aware that it could satisfy the CE marking requirements in relation to its products by self-declaring them for compliance with the EMC, Low Voltage and Machinery Directives. The company decided, however, that due to the changes to the requirements with the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, it would be prudent to have assistance that would give both it and its end users the highest possible level of confidence.

The product that was of most immediate concern to the company was its new P35-2 turbine, which has a rated power of 10.5kW and a reference annual energy (RAE) output in excess of 23,000kWh. These characteristics, combined with its compact construction and economical pricing, make it a good choice for use by agricultural landowners, in commercial premises, and in small-scale wind farms.

Its market potential was, therefore, excellent and was still further boosted when the P35-2 became the first small wind turbine to be awarded full certification under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). Understandably, Proven Energy was eager to put the P35-2 on sale at the earliest possible date.

New Machinery Directive

By the beginning of 2010, it had the compliance work associated with the Low Voltage and EMC Directives in place but, for the Machinery Directive, things were a little more complicated. This was because a new version of the Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) came into force late in December 2009. As there was no transition period between this and the previous version of the Machinery Directive, it was essential for Proven Energy to be sure that its P35-2 wind turbine complied fully with the new version.

While product testing for the P35-2 had been completed, Proven Energy knew that the new version of the Machinery Directive introduced significant changes, not least in the area of documentation. To avoid delay in bringing its product to market, the company decided to engage the services of an expert to verify compliance. The company's choice was Laidler Associates, which it selected on the basis of proven track record and excellent reputation in handling projects of this type.

Laidler Associates undertook a comprehensive review of the materials relating to the compliance of the P35-2 wind turbine with the Machinery Directive and did, indeed, identify a number of shortcomings. Although these were far from major, they would undoubtedly have hindered compliance.

Jonathan Nowill, Engineering Director of Proven Energy, states: "Laidler Associates was not only very responsive, it was also clear that the company had a deep understanding of how the requirements of the regulations implementing the Machinery Directive related to our product. But what was really impressive was the report that Laidler Associates produced for us. This included a detailed 'to do' list that laid out very clearly the exact steps we needed to take to ensure compliance. The list was easy to follow, and undoubtedly saved us a lot of time and trouble."

Use and misuse

As an example of the type of issue identified by Laidler Associates, the user manual was found to contain insufficient information on foreseen ways in which the wind turbine might be used or misused. This shortcoming, and the others highlighted in the Laidler Associates report, were quickly remedied.

Nowill comments: "Having carried out the work recommended by Laidler Associates, and organised our compliance documentation in the way that the company suggested, we can have total confidence that the P35-2 satisfies the requirements of the latest version of the Machinery Directive. Naturally, this is very important for us but it is also important for our customers – they do not have to take our word for it that our products meet all of the relevant standards, as this has now been independently confirmed."

Nowill concludes: "There is no doubt that Laidler Associates played a big role in helping us to reach this position and I have to conclude by noting that the very modest amount we spent on the company's services was money well invested!"

Follow the link to find out more about Laidler Associates' CE marking consultancy services.

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