~ How the transition from EU RED to UK RER affects radio equipment ~

Between 2018 and 2020, the UK government made about 80,000 changes to the retained EU legislation, which affected some of the most regulated industries in the country. One area affected was the sale and operation of radio equipment, following the transition from the EU Radio Equipment Directive (RED) to the UK Radio Equipment Regulation (RER). This means that from 1 January 2023, all new products must include UKCA safety markings. This is Ian McNeelyge, an engineering manager at wireless telemetry specialist Omniflex explores the latest developments and how businesses can achieve compliance.

In highly regulated industries such as nuclear, cabling is not always possible. Installing such as optical cables, especially on larger sites, is extremely expensive. Any need for excavation or drilling may also take time to be approved. Here, radio-based communication can help facility managers retrieve critical data from the field wirelessly, securely, and efficiently. Wireless communication is also useful for utility providers that connect to electricity, water and gas and collect billing and control data.

Two years after the UK left the EU, the new legislation requires both manufacturers and equipment managers to ensure that their radio equipment is up to standard.

Regulatory changes

As an EU Member State, the United Kingdom has been bound by the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53 / EU (RED), which requires OEMs to assess their products for essential requirements – including safety, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). and radio performance.

In 2017, the UK government introduced the Radio Equipment Regulation (RER) to replace RED. The new regulations apply to all radio equipment and, like RED, require a high level of safety, adequate EMC capability and efficient operation in the radio frequency spectrum. Any product that complies with EU rules can be placed on the market in the United Kingdom until 31 December 2022, but new products must include the UKCA marking and label and an EU declaration of conformity. There is now a greater emphasis on EMC and the frequencies that the equipment transmits.

Radio frequencies

The UK radio spectrum is extremely crowded and radio frequency (RF) efficiency is key to RER compliance. One possibility is for companies to operate in a licensed band, where they pay a fee for the exclusive right to broadcast on certain frequencies. However, the application process is difficult as the relevant tape must be available. So OEMs of radio equipment often choose unlicensed tapes to ensure wider compliance across the spectrum. Unlicensed tapes are non-exclusive and can be used by anyone. In the United Kingdom there are two main bands – 2.4 GHz, which is the same frequency as WiFi and Bluetooth, and 868 MHz.

Although these tapes are unlicensed because they are used by other people, they are still regulated to prevent interference. Therefore, any equipment is subject to a fair use policy that limits their power to give other people in the band opportunities for equality. Amplifying the signal to block others is strictly prohibited and, in order to remain compatible, the devices must not affect the surrounding sensitive equipment.

We are getting ready to start

Once manufacturers have evaluated their products and RER compliance has been confirmed, facility managers and operators can implement this technology. When integrating a remote terminal (RTU) or any other radio-based communication system, companies that are new to RER can work with an experienced remote monitoring specialist to get the insights they need. In addition to delivering the necessary technology, a good partner will adapt to the customer, his site and the needs for remote monitoring.

Omniflex offers Teleterm M3R, a small programmable RTU that can be configured and allows users to choose between analog and digital inputs and outputs depending on the application. The company has also developed a series of protocols to help with a variety of applications, including the Modbus protocol and custom plug-in protocols that businesses can use to retrieve data from third-party devices.

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, there is now more pressure to comply with the new RER. While this may seem daunting, working with an experienced professional and ensuring RF efficiency can help.

To learn more about Omniflex radio terminal modules for wireless telemetry and communication, visit the company’s website.

Is your radio device compliant with post-Brexit regulations? #Engineering #RadioEquipment @Omniflex

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