11 July 2019
The British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) is a key member of Pneurop, the European committee of manufactures of compressors, vacuum pumps and pneumatic tools, acting as secretariat for a number of Pneurop committees and as chair of the national secretaries. Tim Preece, BCAS technical officer reports on some of the key areas of focus for the committee.
May’s European Parliament elections are now concluded, albeit it the commission members need to be finalised and MEPs have attended the new European Parliament’s ninth term (2019 to 2024) constituent session in Strasbourg. As a result, work plans programmed for this year and beyond will be reviewed and prioritised, taking in to account the summer recess.
Although Brexit negotiations are expected to reconvene with the arrival of a new PM, the outcome is not expected to affect directives concerning safety, health and environmental issues at present. However, limited resource is inevitably diverted to concentrate on these and other important issues. There is some valid concern that a ‘No-Deal Brexit’ scenario will have significant implications for business, as all EU primary and secondary law will, technically, cease to apply.
While BCAS continues to lobby to avoid a ‘no-deal’ scenario, it is advisable to use the UK Government’s ‘Department for Exiting the European Union’ online resource to ensure that all possible preparations are made. Additionally, businesses currently placing goods on the UK market with CE marking should review the guidance regarding the possible need to replace this with UKCA marking.
Machinery Directive (MD). The impact assessment study is underway with the final report expected in February 2020. No major revisions are expected, but there will be a number of improvements and clarifications. The impact of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and Human-Robot Cooperation are the main focus.
Outdoor Noise Directive (OND). The EC evaluation of the OND is still to be released. Any new proposals will fall under the mandate of the new commission, so the proposal is not expected until the end of 2020, with finalised revisions to the directive not expected before 2022.
Pressure Equipment (PED) and Simple Pressure Vessels (SPVD) Directives. There has been a long, drawn-out discussion (since 2015) regarding the applicability of the latest SPVD 2014/29/EU revision to oil separators. The matter has now been resolved by Pneurop Committee PN06 and the clarification is that oil separators fall within the scope of SPVD, not PED.
Digitalisation. Pneurop have created a new Working Group to address the approach and expectations of the market. The first WG meeting was held in February 2019 to set the agenda and begin the information gathering process. It was agreed that the focus of the WG will be to focus on EU level legislation, with topics including free flow of data and data security and International Standardisation (eg OPC UA). The next meeting date will be confirmed shortly.
Circular Economy. The global focus on the reduction of ‘single-use’ plastics is still very much on the agenda. To that end, the European Commission has created a “Circular Plastics Alliance” with the intention of increasing the amount of recycled plastics in products to 10 million tons by 2025. Pneurop / Orgalim are part of this industry alliance.
EcoDesign Directive. For the compressed air industry, the focus remains on Ecodesign; Lot 31, which potentially incorporates components of energy efficiency and labelling directives. The European Commission has appointed a new ‘desk officer and the project, which was building momentum, doesn’t appear any closer to completion. Final adoption of the Lot 31 Ecodesign measure is expected for the beginning of 2020 at the earliest.
Alongside ‘standard air’ products, the measure will include ‘oil-free’ and ‘low pressure’ compressor packages within a single item of legislation, but with different requirements for each group. As energy saving potential is relatively low, it is likely that product information requirements will be the primary concern.