A bit of clarity on the new Radio Directive

Radio equipment

Sicom is receiving many requests about the upcoming EU Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU: here is a summary in response to the most common requests about the application of the RED.

What radio equipment is covered by the RED

The directive covers any electrical or electronic equipment which intentionally emits and/or receives radio waves in order to:

  • communicate (radio communication);
  • determine several characteristics of an object, for example its position and velocity (radio determination).

Compared to the Directive R&TTE 1999/5/EC, the RED introduces some changes and it now includes sound and TV receive-only equipment, and equipment operating below 9 kHz.
Conversely, the directive does not cover telecom terminal equipment, radio equipment used by radio amateurs (unless it is made available on the market), marine and airborne equipment (Annex I, RED 2014/53/EU).

When the application of the RED is required

Starting from the 13th of June 2017 only the application of the RED is allowed. Up until that date, both the old and the new radio directive can be used. This means that all products placed on the market, that is to say that are supplied for distribution and use for the first time in the European market, must comply with the RED after the 13th of June 2017.

The route to follow in order to comply with the RED

The safest approach is to apply the harmonized standards listed on the EU Official Journal, which give the “presumption of conformity”. Since the standards are undergoing a major revision, there is not a complete published list, hence the difficulty to decide how to proceed in the certification process of a radio product.
One way is to wait until the applicable standard for the product compliance is officially published.
Another route that the manufacturers can undertake is to test their product in a competent laboratory and then apply for a EU-Type Examination Certificate, issued by a Notified Body, who evaluates the technical documentation of the submitted product and compares the test results to the available standards.

Additional tests required by the RED

Some products may require additional testing, however this varies from case to case, and can involve aspects of effective and efficient radio spectrum sharing for transmitters, and of immunity for receivers especially, which are now required to be resilient against harmful interference.
In all cases, radio devices still have to satisfy the requirements of electromagnetic compatibility and safety, and manufacturers can apply standards from the EMC directive 2014/30/EU and the LVD 2014/35/EU.

Who is responsible for ensuring the conformity of the product

Under the RED, all economic operators in the supply chain have clearly defined responsibilities for ensuring that radio equipments are compliant with the Directive.
Manufacturers have the most responsibility, and the RED contains a list of obligations they have to follow in order to put their products on the market. They need to ensure that their equipment is manufactured in such a way that it meets the essential requirements laid down in the Directive, by performing the conformity assessment procedure, by preparing and keeping the technical documentation and the EU Declaration of Conformity, and then by guaranteeing the ongoing compliance of the product.
Also authorized representatives, importers and distributors are responsible for ensuring the conformity of the equipment and they need to make sure that the manufacturer has carried out the appropriate conformity assessment procedure, that the product bears the required labelling (for example CE marking) and that it is accompanied by the relevant documentation, including instructions and safety information in a language which can be easily understood by the end-user.

Need more help?

The transition to the new Radio Directive brings several changes in the test and approval requirements of equipments and it may create uncertainty on how to proceed in the certification process.

With its extensive experience in certifying radio products and the ongoing work of updating, Sicom can help economic operators understand the compliance requirements of their radio equipment, providing guidance and consultancy services, and take care of the whole certification of the products, from testing to preparation of the technical documentation.

For the certification of your products, contact Sicom staff at info@sicomtesting.com

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