Application of European standard EN-13814 without the support of the ‘Machinery Directive’ restricts the free movement of transportable rides, consequently limiting the possibility for operators to make investments.
FREEDOM OF CIRCULATION OF RIDES ON THE EUROPEAN MARKET
by Enrico Fabbri
Many operators of transportable rides are interested in purchasing large, spectacular, attractions, involving major investments. In these cases, the payback is determined considering operation of the attraction at the largest and most profitable funfairs, which often are not all in the same country. Depending on the countries in question, the cost and feasibility of such movements may hold several surprises, with the costs being quite high indeed.
A hypothetical customer who wants to operate a new ride, for example, in Germany, France and the Netherlands, needs to have it certified in all these countries, thus tripling the costs and having to go through 3 different ‘first inspections’. Consequently, transportable rides, even if straight out of the factory, are not free to be used in different countries, as is the case for other machinery or industrial equipment. If then the same hypothetical customer, a few years later, decides to operate the ride in Great Britain, this may not be possible, especially if the reference standard EN-13814 has seen significant amendments.
To avoid creating excessive alarmism, it is worth underlining that these problems can be currently solved if using a certifying body that is approved in all the countries in question. However, the point I would like to make is that operators should not, as a whole, have such problems. The reason why this ‘barrier’ against free movement of portable rides throughout the European Union still persists is that rides are not covered by the ‘Machinery Directive.’ This is the directive that introduced CE marking and establishes the minimum requirements for the safety and marketing of fixed and transportable ‘machinery’ in Europe.
This directive does not include certain categories of products, such as trains, planes, nuclear power stations, and, to everyone’s surprise, also amusement rides. Currently, this exclusion represents more a disadvantage than an advantage.
If this directive were to be applied to newly-built rides, the result would be that an attraction that is certified for the first time in any European country would then be able to be used, without further certification, in any other; only requirement would be to carry out the annual inspections. In this case, certification could only be carried out by leading certifying bodies, such as RINA, TÜV and Veritas, and only the first unit (prototype) would need to be certified; subsequently, the manufacturer would not need to repeat the whole procedure for other units that are identical to the certified prototype. Undoubtedly, such liberalisation may alarm some more conservative voices (some players would lose the ‘power’ of their positions on the market), however it is certain that sooner or later itwill happen.
There are Italian manufacturers who sell rides in China, and in that country the certification procedure is similar to what would happen in Europe if the ‘Machinery Directive’ were applied to rides. In this case then we could say that China is the model that we need to ‘copy.’
Written by Mr. Enrico Fabbri firstname.lastname@example.org
Article originally published in Games Industry (Italy) magazine
Original date: October 2015
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