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Eumabois: choose the original - choose success: safety
trade associations

26 May 2010

Eumabois: choose the original - choose success: safety

It’s the second year of the communication campaign promoted by Eumabois – the European federation grouping the leading national Associations representing the manufacturers of machines and accessories for woodworking – to safeguard original products.
Now more than ever, it is essential to identify the key elements that clearly separate those who pursue research and innovation, developing solutions that create quality, from those who just “follow” with poor imitations. Eumabois is sending out a strong message to industry operators: before you choose a tool, machine, plant or equipment, make sure that it is the result of an industrial process based on a correct sequence of stages, of constant commitment to consistent improvement and knowledge transfer into final products.
In a very complicated economic scenario, the price factor has a very strong appeal, but when the gap is clearly too wide, it is no longer just a matter of competition: you have to think about “what you don’t see”. The Eumabois campaign is casting a spotlight on those apparently intangible values that are actually the foundations of quality production. Seven concepts, seven plusses that distinguish original European technology, values that often cannot be seen, cannot be easily measured.
Before you choose a production line or even a single bit, a disk blade or a router, you have to analyze it in relation to concepts like quality, hi-tech, know-how, reliability, safety, efficiency and experience. These are the seven keywords of the Eumabois campaign.

This time we are focusing on safety, on the increasing commitment to produce equipment, tools, machines and plants that are safe and take into consideration the health of operators. We cannot deny that woodworking machinery has always been mostly dangerous, also because the workpieces could be handled manually, allowing hazardous proximity between the operator and the moving tool, i.e. the hazardous area. This situation dates far back in time and, to be honest, applies to most production equipment, although accidents have been particularly frequent in the woodworking industry, as shown in the European statistics on industrial accidents.
Safety is one of the most critical factors that must be taken into account when designing any woodworking equipment. For many years now, the laws of all European countries have introduced strict and specific obligations and/or have fixed the essential features and specifications to obtain safety certifications and markings. This action has certainly contributed to a massive and consistent reduction of accidents in furniture factories and joiner workshops.
Another step forward was made in 1995, when all these rules and regulations were combined in a European directive, the Machinery Directive, which was then updated and upgraded in 2009 with the introduction of the 2006/42/EC regulation, coupled with a specific set of standards that provide for clear interpretation and indicate applicable technical solutions to increase the “safety degree” of machinery.

It is worth noticing that this huge “corpus” was created with a significant contribution by European manufacturers, who were involved in the final draft with their tangible experience based on daily work, their skills and the results of research carried out by companies for many years: now, 35 European standards regulate the universe of woodworking machinery, defining and ensuring their compliance with the highest safety levels. Today, safety is no longer a matter of sensitivity of individual entrepreneurs or companies, but rather a set of actions, rules and procedures to be complied with.
The safety culture has taken giant steps and new laws have played an important role, not only because they define clear and precise rules, but because they promote a culture that puts operators, their health and their working conditions in the forefront. Responsible entrepreneurs now have a set of rules that give full dignity to the behavior they have always adopted for the sake of workers and their health. And, at the same time, they can count on tools that prevent those who cannot or will not abide by the law from spoiling the market.
And figures prove it: woodworking technology has been recording a strong reduction of accidents. A new, long-awaited age, for which European manufacturers have worked enthusiastically. A success confirmed by the gradual conversion of European standards into ISO standards, through closer and closer collaboration between the standardization institutes of Europe and the United States, China, Japan and many more non-European countries.
There is still one issue to solve, for which a lot has already been done: all manufacturers now offer training courses for the correct operation of complex machines and plants, and in these courses, safety is always a key topic. If we keep doing all it takes to transfer this expertise, these vital rules for those who will work on the machines and production lines, we will soon be able to say that the woodworking industry is approaching “total safety”. It’s been a long and tiring way, requiring constant and significant investments, to increase the safety of technology exponentially without compromising on its potential or productivity. As mentioned, this is the result of design, experimentation and research, that are carried on only by those who create technology, not those who copy.