Drive Users may be Breaking The Law

  • March 27, 2015
  • Control Techniques, an Emerson Industrial Automation Co.
  • News

March 27, 2015 - EU Regulation No. 428/2009 and subsequent amendments covers the export of goods, software and technology normally used for civilian purposes but which may have military applications, or may contribute to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With this in mind, the EU controls the export, transit and brokering of these items as a key instrument contributing to international peace and security.

The amended legislation came into force in the EU in December last year and, among other things, concerns the supply of HF capable drives, e.g. drives capable of producing an output frequency of greater than 600 Hz. Regulations controlling the export of high frequency drives are already in force in the United States, and similar regulations were introduced to China earlier this year.

In order to comply with the new legislation, businesses which export goods or machines that incorporate goods that are controlled under the terms of the EU regulation to locations outside the EU must apply for the relevant export licences from their respective governments. The changes also have an effect on the documentation required in any transaction, as well as the measures which are taken to securely store the controlled goods. Potential sanctions for failing to comply with the legislation range from financial penalties through to trade restrictions and even prison sentences for individuals. Exporting controlled goods without suitable authorisation is a customs offence.

High frequency drives are used in a number of applications, including automotive testing, turbine test benches, grinding, where speeds in excess of those which can be achieved by a ‘standard’ variable speed drive are required. However, as well as civilian applications, drives operating at higher output frequencies can also be used in the process of refining nuclear materials, hence the stricter export controls brought in with the amended legislation.

OEMs and machine builders which incorporate HF drives in their designs should know that it is they, not the drives manufacturer, who are responsible for checking and evaluating whether or not their machines comply with, or contravene, the relevant legislation. It is also important for businesses to identify whether any existing machines and systems are affected by the directive, as it could affect their ability to export their machines.

The Control Techniques Unidrive M range was limited to 550 Hz since its introduction in 2012, and older drive models were revised to be limited to 550 Hz. Servo and DC drives are not affected. In anticipation of the new legislation, Control Techniques has specifically developed a range of HF drives to meet the requirements of the civilian applications that are an important part of its business.

Enrique Minarro Viseras, president of Control Techniques, added: “It is crucial businesses are aware of the amendments to the dual use legislation. We pride ourselves on our ability to make things as easy and trouble-free as possible for our customers, and have worked hard to ensure our products and processes comply with the new legislation. 

About Control Techniques Control Techniques, a business unit of Emerson Industrial Automation, is a world leader in the design and production of electronic variable speed drives for the control of electric motors. The company’s strategy is to concentrate on delivering drives and servo products that enhance the productivity of its customers’ machines and processes. 

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