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Europe's Vending Machine Producers Concerned About Liability of Refurbished Products
Aug 28, 2013
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The European Vending Association, at a meeting in Hamburg earlier this year, made a point of clarifying that the liability of vending machine manufacturers does not apply throughout the entire life cycle of a vending machine.

During the meeting, European vending machine manufacturers expressed their concerns about the conformity of refurbished machines with regards to European legislation.

Vending machine refurbishment is common practice in Europe, and when technical problems occur that could affect human safety, there needs to be an assignment of liability.

EVA made several points in its statement regarding this issue.

EVA said that all vending machines placed on the market by its member companies conform to the different EU directives and regulations. These may include the Machinery Directive, Low Voltage Directive, Food Contact Materials Regulation, and others.

Before placing the product on the market, manufacturers carry out conformity assessments with a series of technical checks and actions. Risk evaluation must be carried out and a technical file must be generated in place in order to issue a declaration of conformity and to affix the CE marking to a product. This technical file contains:
* an overall drawing of the machine, along with detailed drawings
* risk assessment documentation
* the standards and technical specifications
* the results of the technical risk assessments
* the user manual and the CE Declaration of Conformity

EVA noted that the European Machinery Directive applies not only to new vending machines, but also to used machines that have been substantially transformed or rebuilt and are therefore considered to be new machines.

Refurbishers need to be aware of this legal obligation, the association stressed, because the original equipment manufacturer is no longer liable for a machine that has been refurbished with different components. The refurbisher becomes the de facto "manufacturer" of the newly designed machine and therefore is legally responsible for the machine's conformity when it is again placed on the market.

A substantially refurbished vending machine may still carry the original manufacturer's brand, but it still must be considered a new machine that was produced by a new manufacturer.

Refurbishers, as they are acting essentially as vending machine manufacturers, need to comply with EU Directives, need to issue a new CE Declaration of Conformity, and should be aware of their liability as "manufacturers."

EVA advises that refurbishers of vending machines take into account several points:
* environmental and job regulations
* health and safety inspections
* the loss of certification and quality marks
* risks that may come from using non-original components
* testing should guarantee the functionality of the machine, but also its safety according to EU legislation.

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