The latest list of standards harmonized to the 2006 / 42 / CE Machinery Directive was published in the Official Journal of the EU on 19 March (GUUE L75 / 108) as a decision (EU) 2019 / 436. The references of the harmonized standards have been published in the L series of the Official Journal (which identifies a legislative document), rather than in the C series as happened in the past (meaning a non-binding communication). In relation to this change, the lists of harmonized standards will be published and withdrawn by the OJEU by Commission decisions. Furthermore, all future consolidated lists of harmonized standards will no longer be published on the OJEU's website but on the web pages of the Commission's website.
The last meeting of the Commission's machinery working group was held in Brussels on February 25-26. The European Commission has provided updates on the current impact assessment study on the possible revision of the Machinery Directive
VVA (the consultant in charge of the study) presented the timing and possible solutions under consideration. VVA will use the following data collection methods: stakeholder interviews, targeted online surveys (May), company telephone interviews and open public consultation. The public consultation is scheduled before the 2019 summer and the final report is expected in February 2020. The Commission also provided an overview of the feedback received on the initial impact assessment document. 115 contributions were received, most of which were submitted by business organizations. Most of the answers support the alignment with the new legislative framework, the use of digital documentation and the conversion of the directive into a regulation. While business organizations prefer the maintenance of the status quo, some national authorities are in favor of clarifying some definitions (for example, quasi-machines), addressing the issue of possible overlaps (eg application boundary between low voltage directive and machinery directive) and modify Annex I to include requirements for machines incorporating artificial intelligence functions. There are also conflicting opinions as to whether or not the Machinery Directive should be further adapted to meet the requirements for new technologies.
The Commission intends to analyze in depth the implications of artificial intelligence, robotics and IoT in relation to responsibility and safety, through a dedicated report that will focus not only on the Machinery Directive, but also on other relevant safety regulations. As this is a cross-cutting issue, the report will be drafted by three Commission departments (DG GROW, DG CONNECT and DG JUST) and should be published between June and July 2019.
With regard to the Community guideline on the application of the Machinery Directive, the editorial group has worked in the last two years to improve the text of the Guide, mainly in the following sections: software, electric furniture, 3D printing, logical units to guarantee safety functions. As the mandate of the publishing group is now terminated due to the priority now given by the Commission to the subject of the revision of the Machinery Directive, the latest comments agreed on the guide will be integrated in the next update (2.2 edition) which is scheduled for publication by the autumn 2019.