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ESPR: Impact on mechanical and plant engineering

With the introduction of the new Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), the EU has established a central component of the Green Deal. As a horizontal product regulation for the European internal market, the ESPR will in future regulate not only energy-related products but also non-energy-related products and consider them over their entire life cycle. The mechanical engineering sector will be affected both directly and indirectly through the value chains.

On 15 May 2024, ProduktionNRW organized a virtual information event for the mechanical and plant engineering industry in North Rhine-Westphalia. The aim was to provide information about the new Ecodesign Regulation with the digital product passport (DPP) and to present initial approaches to the technical implementation of the DPP.

Overview of the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation

Frederike Krebs, speaker at the VDMA European Office, began by explaining the new Ecodesign Regulation for sustainable products. The new regulation is the main instrument for EU circular products and will in future cover not only energy-related products but also non-energy-related products. This also includes intermediate products such as steel, iron, aluminum and chemicals as well as B2B products such as electric motors or pumps. In future, the aim is to achieve requirements for all products in terms of improved durability, reusability and reparability.

The DPP is being introduced to achieve these goals. This enables a structured collection of product-related data with a predefined scope and agreed ownership and access rights, which are transmitted via a unique identifier. A decentralized, European data space based on harmonized standards is being developed for implementation. According to the EU, the first products will be regulated under the new Ecodesign Regulation and with a DPP from 2027.

The mechanical and plant engineering sector will be directly affected by the revision of energy-efficient products such as electric motors until 2027, but also indirectly through the use and further processing of intermediate products such as steel, iron and aluminum as well as via the value chains. From 2027, the impact will extend to other product groups.

Technical implementation of the digital product passport

Richard Merkel, speaker from VDMA Technology Policy and Standardization, presented initial approaches to the technical implementation of the DPP. The focus is on the development of a DPP system that includes the IT architecture for interoperability, storage and processing, for example. It is becoming clear that the more complex the product, the greater the demands on the DPP. In addition, there are already indications that the time frame for implementing the standardization activities for the DPP system is too ambitious on the European side and may not be feasible by 2025.

Exchange of experience and discussion

In the concluding discussion round, the European approach was critically scrutinized, especially for small and medium-sized companies. It is hoped that it will provide more transparency about their own products: for example, it will be possible to track where a product is at the end of its life cycle or which components are particularly susceptible to wear and tear. The DPP is a prerequisite for placing affected products on the market in the EU – both for EU and non-EU companies. It is therefore recommended that mechanical and plant engineering companies address the issue at an early stage.


​​​​​​​The event was organized by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the cluster for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is organized by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks with each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia.