Mr. Merkt, the term “Directive 2004/22/EC” does not exactly sound exciting. What does it mean?
It means that, in the future, all European companies that deal with cables must archive their measurement data. This means that after November 2016, only measuring instruments with appropriate European approval may be marketed for this purpose. All member states of the European Economic Area must implement Directive 2004/22/EC at the national level by April, 19th 2016.
What does this mean in practice?
In the future, all cuts must be precisely and permanently documented in a storage module, i.e. a mass storage device. This will ensure tracking of all measurement readings. Archiving the data in this way will pay off, particularly in the event of complaints. The new law also requires cuts to be labelled with the measurement readings such as date, time, cut length, metre number and measurement identification number. As mechanical engineers, we have had to bring our current linear encoders equipped with electronic displays up-to-date with a data storage solution that meets all the requirements.
How did you manage toimplement all the necessary requirements?
As the introduction of the directive was already decided at the end of 2006, we have had plenty of time to look into all the details – and we needed it. Integrating a data storage device is not exactly easy. The files containing all the necessary information (from safety aspects to software functions) piled up until all the requirements of the EU directive were put into practice. For almost four years, our Electronics Department worked on producing an optimum system solution, which would be affordable for our customers. We succeeded in getting the current linear encoders approved by the Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (PTB). With the EC type-examina certificate, our devices are authorised throughout Europe.
What does that mean for your customers?
New customers have the assurance that our system solution can be used with all Kabelmat measuring instruments featuring an electronic display. Thanks to our interface module, established customers can easily retrofit existing Kabelmat devices – from coil and spool winding devices to automatic cable coiling and binding machines. In addition, we also offer our customers a complete solution including software and label printers.
So does that mean that Kabelmat is well-prepared for the legislative change?
Yes, absolutely! We are one of the few mechanical engineering companies to have already received European approval. In the meantime, certain linear encoders are already being used by our customers.