View Full Version : European Import

08-18-2004, 06:06 AM

Urgent help needed with import of new alpha into europe...

Shipping agent is asking for a homologation number, which I think is the CE number attached to all electrical devices, assuring that they comply with safety standards. Shopbot say they do not have this number, nor do they know how other machines have cleared customs into europe. They have given me two other customers to call in Spain ( who have already imported ) however both
of them are not answering the phone, a lot of Spain closes for August. The shipping agent insists that they need this number today or they will start charging for storage....

With the time difference to the states I can't wait to pester shopbot direct so.......

Anyone awake out there who has any ideas?

Steve Lendon

08-18-2004, 06:57 AM
I don't know if this will help but here's dictionary.com's meaning of the word. I never heard it before


\Ho*mol`o*ga"tion, n. [Cf. F. homologation.] (Civ. & Scots Law) Confirmation or ratification (as of something otherwise null and void), by a court or a grantor.

08-18-2004, 07:19 AM
Maybe a local "Rigging" company can help you. I recently shipped a machine to Thailand through one and they handled all of the paperwork.

08-18-2004, 02:02 PM
Message removed by admin. Per Gerald's request that an explanation be posted as why it was removed - messages recommending or offering illegal activities are not allowed. In this case, we offered to remove the particular comment and leave the rest of the message; the poster requested that it be removed. Admin 8/20/04

08-18-2004, 03:26 PM
Steve, sorry can't help, but would appreciate if you could post the outcome of this problem. I was about to launch my third attempt at purchasing a SB and hadn't forseen this hitch.

(This will be a Europe wide problem not just Spain. CE = Certificate Europe. All electrical goods have a CE mark.)

08-18-2004, 05:34 PM
Must say that I recently brought a benchtop into UK and was amazed at the lack of any questions about CE compliance (especially after another USA CNC outfit said that they did not export to europe because of it).
Maybe they are tightening up. I think SB needs to get its finger on the pulse with this one.

Good luck.


Bruce_clark (Unregistered Guest)
08-19-2004, 12:36 AM

If this an PRTAlpha, you might see if there is a "CE" number on the Alpha step drivers/motors. This would be a "number" that you could use, since this is the "major" electric part of the electrics. This will not be the "right" number, but it just may be enough to get your machine out of customs.

On ShopBot's defense, from my understanding, getting a CE certification is like/similar to getting a "UL" certification. Unfortunately, with equiptment like a computer controlled routers, getting a UL approval would be next to impossible. You would need so much extra "safety" equiptment, it would double the cost of the machine, if not more.

As for the CE certification, I don't know if the European market is large enough to justify the expense of getting a CE certification.

Just my two cents (.016 Euros)


08-19-2004, 01:35 AM
I'm paddling in the dark here, but...
Maybe if you emphasised it was a kit of parts for your own consumption it would help. I suspect anyone who was selling them as a trade would have problems though.
I'm ok because I work on my own, but there could be issues with the health and safety squad if you employed folk.
BTW, Europe is a pretty damn large market now, especially as we've just taken in half the old eastern block...

08-19-2004, 02:09 AM
Getting a CE mark on your equipment is not always a big problem. And sometimes the manufacturer can "self-certify" ie. issue their own "certificate of conformance". In this case, there is no need for homologation.

What is supposed to happen during an import into the "Community European", is that a customs inspector is supposed to check if the goods are potentially harmful, and if so, to look for the CE conformance label and certificate. If he thinks there is no CE label and certificate, then he asks for proof of homogolation.

To self-certify, you have to be very sure that you understand all the laws/rules that apply to your equipment in the foreign market. You need to have copies of those laws in your office, and you need to have done a checklist that every single point is okay. Then you write a statement that everything is fine, and you put on your own label.

If there is an accident in Europe, the authorities will send someone to visit your office and you have to show them that you did your homework. If not, they throw the book at you and ban all your products entry to every part of the Community European.

We produce equipment that we export to Europe, and we self-certify. We are confident that we will survive a challenge that we have done our homework properly. In fact we believe that we do more than our competitors who actually produce inside Europe - one proof of this is that they are not challenging our entry into their market. Our equipment however does not use electrical voltages over 24V, nor contains parts that move faster than 2.5 meter/second, so we have a lot less rules to satisfy.

08-19-2004, 11:01 AM

Many many thanks to everyone for the postings.

The situation at present is that shopbot have provided me with a list of all the seperate parts that have any sort of certification, CE, UL etc.Which I have passed on to the shipping agent, he seems happy that he has plenty of numbers to fill the form with, and is expecting to be able to deliver to me on Friday. This is a route that was suggested from many sources, including this forum.
Practicaly, I think it will work, however should a customs officer decide to inspect the shipment I think he would rule that the machine needs its own CE number. As Gerald points out Shopbot could self certify and I beleive that Gordon at Shopbot is going down this route. I have to say I was a little peeved at Shopbot for their lack of diligence in selling into Europe without the correct export documentation, and indicating that it was my responsibility to ensure that the machine complied with "local" codes. (Europe hardly seems like a "local" area)

However, to give them credit, their response in providing the list of part approvals has been pretty quick.

As in all things ...Buyer beware

The up side of all this is that the paint on my new table is getting a chance to cure more completly!

Thanks all


08-20-2004, 12:33 AM
I bought an Italian Mini-max (SCM) shaper from a local retailer. The electrical inspector wouldn't pass it because it wasn't CSA certified.

SCM is a whole lot bigger than Shopbot.

08-21-2004, 12:43 AM
"Message removed by admin. Per Gerald's request that an explanation be posted as why it was removed - messages recommending or offering illegal activities are not allowed. In this case, we offered to remove the particular comment and leave the rest of the message; the poster requested that it be removed. Admin 8/20/04"

May I respectfully point out that I used the word bribe in a light-hearted way together with beg and grovel.

Would Admin please be so kind as to remove all my posts from the whole Forum?

08-21-2004, 10:10 AM

08-21-2004, 09:21 PM
Come on Gerald. Please re-consider. Your past contributions, and hopefully future posts have been a big help to a lot of us.

Dan B. (Unregistered Guest)
08-22-2004, 04:59 PM
I too hpoe you stay. I have learned a lot from your posts.

08-22-2004, 08:19 PM
Seems a bit strong to me that Geralds post be removed for merely (and I agree, lightheartedly) suggesting an illegal activity. When to be blunt shopbot are actually engaged in the illegal activity of selling into Europe without the legally required documentation (CE numbers)

I also hope that Gerald is being lighthearted in his request to have all his posts removed. As they consistantly sound a reassuring note of experienced, practical usefulness, and his (and others) part of this forum are one of the shopbots strongest features, and influenced greatly my purchasing decision.

By the way my machine is not through customs yet, although I have been given a third delivery date of Monday...

Hope to hear from you soon Gerald.

Steve Lendon

08-22-2004, 10:07 PM
I second what Steve said.

I don't know what kinda of inducement
needs to be offered. Maybe I can induce the Wallabies to let the Springboks win the Tri-Nations cup....

WOW! Reading the paper today the Springboks DID win. How about that.


PS finally got my flippin table completed. Thank you for your input and ideas.

08-23-2004, 03:34 PM
I want to weigh in my support for Gerald and the usefulness of this forum. I can say without a doubt that Gerald's posts are some of the most useful and accurate on the forum. Please don't lose that-- for the benefit of us all. I am a fanatic about ethical conduct, but I also think we all need a sense of humor. Gerald's comments were clearly lighthearted! Even his highlighting of the text made it clear that he was not seriously promoting anything illegal. In my opinion, a forum like this is based on people feeling free to exchange ideas and learn from each other. If we start taking ourselves too seriously, we will constrain this to a proper, legal, politically correct, useless forum. I bought my ShopBot partially because of the support and community that this forum provides. Losing Gerald's posts is like losing a tangible part of that community and support!

08-23-2004, 03:58 PM
Enough with the messages of "don't go" already!

I have battling with the question of why I post so much at this Forum, and for a while I have been looking for signs that I am making a nuisance myself here. It comes as a surprise that I perceive this signal to be coming from the ShopBot support staff, rather than from other users. What gets to me is that there are ShopBot support staff who find such petty issues with my posts while they ignore pleas for help on real support issues.

Let's not clutter this thread while I clear my head.

Dick, it was a sweet victory - thanks for letting us win the southern hemisphere rugby cup!

08-23-2004, 07:55 PM
"What gets to me is that there are ShopBot support staff who find such petty issues with my posts while they ignore pleas for help on real support issues."

I think one thing should be made clear though. Shopbot support is available by calling their number or e-mailing them directly. I have never failed to get a timely response from them doing this. They state quite plainly that this forum is for shobotters to share ideas and have discussions. This is NOT the place to expect them to monitor for troubles, they have an established track for that. From what I know of their operation they are busy enough with day to day operations to spare extra time here. It was, after all, designed for US to use, not them to monitor.

Now occasionaly they look in and saw a statement that could be looked at in the light they interpreted or as a joke. The rules are the rules and they have to be applied evenly and impartially. I can't believe all the rucus everyone, including Gerald, has made of it. If you don't like it, anyone is free to go and start up, administer, and pay for the server space for their own board.

Better yet they can design, manufacture, market and support their own line of affordable CNC equipment and deal with the general public to boot!

Lighten up folks and take it for what it is, a board for users, not really manufacturers, not factory tech support, with a few minor rules and a good source of information.

If these views bother you, sorry, but I call 'em like I see 'em. It's easy to complain about what you percieve them doing but a hell of alot harder to do what they do for real.


08-23-2004, 08:45 PM
I second Eric on this one... But I too profit MUCH from Gerald's posts!

08-24-2004, 01:31 AM
May I suggest that the thread drift goes to Let's Talk about the ShopBot Forum (http://www.talkshopbot.com/forum/messages/312/4518.html)?

09-16-2004, 03:17 PM
Steve, did you get the SB through customs okay?

09-18-2004, 03:44 PM
Hi John,

Yes, machine cleared customs OK, now fully set up and running my first few files.

So far, apart from some software bugs (or my ineptitute), I'm really pleased with the Alpha.


09-27-2004, 12:52 PM
Steve, For those of us teetering on the edge of ordering a shopbot, can you assist at all, in anyway, with information to ease the machine through UK customs.
Any help at all would be appreciated.

09-28-2004, 03:54 AM
Hi Mike,

As per my last post, my machine cleared customs by using a whole batch of numbers supplied by shopbot. These were the non european certifying numbers, issued by various authorities. Plus a few component parts CE numbers.

My last contact with shopbot (Gordon) left me with the impression that he was working on getting the machine CE certified. Making the import paperwork completly regular.

Whilst I understand that it is "custom and practise" to have, and use, workarounds, I was clearly told that should a customs officer choose to look closely at the paperwork he could refuse entry to Europe without a CE number. In your position I would ask shopbot to underwrite the passage of the Bot through customs.
Or come up with the CE number.


09-28-2004, 04:51 AM
Thanks for that Steve.
One final thing.
How pleased are you with your purchase of a Shopbot?

04-04-2005, 05:21 AM
What seems like eons ago, I promised to add my experiences to this thread about importing into Europe, specifically into the UK.
I was helped greatly by John Hesp, for which I publicly thank him here.
ShopBot use a company called DFDS for freighting and they were very helpful.
The total charges for me for VAT, duty and clearence charges was almost exactly 20% of my ShopBot invoice total (including shipping and crating), of which about 85% is re-claimable VAT (even if you use the flat rate system).
You will need a TURN number (if VAT registered) or a pseudo TURN if not. Go to www.hmce.gov.uk (http://www.hmce.gov.uk) and type 'pseudoTURN' into the search box.
Jamie at ShopBot provided me with much of the information I needed, the rest came from DFDS. My 'bot came by sea. I was missing the container number when I first applied for my TURN. This was suplied by phone from DFDS. Apply for the TURN by 2.00pm one day, it should be available after 4.00pm the next. Mine hit up against Good Friday, but was available when the phone lines opened at 09.00am Tuesday. I phoned the number through to DFDS immediately, but it took until 1.00pm to get on the system.
To sum up this part.
As soon as you can assemble all the information for the TURN,or pseudo TURN, make your aplication, which can be done by email or fax or snail mail.
Now, I did have a couple of problems. DFDS have a number of offices in the UK, and I was handed around 9 times by email before the right person could deal with it. This was done fairly promptly, with much apologise, and with copies to me of the internal emails they were sending. The crate was coming into Thamesport (London), and that is where I was told to collect it. (DFDS are 2 minutes from the M25, first junction north of the Dartford Tunnel).
When I was 5 minutes from their depot I discovered that it had cleared customs OK, but was in Manchester! They sent it down overnight, and I was able to eventually collect it next day. They do take cash, but prefer other payment methods.
Mine weighed 260kg, and was 10'6" long.

It does fit in a small van, just!
Anyone contemplating doing an import are welcome to contact me if they feel I can assist.

04-04-2005, 06:17 AM
I hope that DFDS didn't charge you "cartage" from Manchester to London. We routinely have ships changing their ports at the last minute (congestion, storms, etc.) but all the re-arranging costs are carried by the shipping company.

"The total charges for me for VAT, duty and clearence charges was........" But, on top of the SB's list price you also had to pay for crating, transport (from SB to London), insurance, etc. What was your total expense compared to buying a (hypothetical) machine built in the UK?

04-04-2005, 10:40 AM
I've been meaning to write something along the lines of Mike's post for a while, but havn't got round to it. So here goes.

I ordered my SB on 15/11/05. At least that's the day I transfered money from my bank account to SB's (I got my bank to transfer via TIPANET - cost 8.). I had "ordered" by email a day or two before . I recieved no response or invoice from SB for this. An invioce arrived shortly before the SB.

The SB arrived at my workshop in a DFDS lorry on 7 March 05. It came by sea, and I suppose would have come a few days earlier if I'd arranged to have it flown over, but what's a day or two when you've waited 105 days? I hope this doesn't sound to negative, I wasn't in a hurry anyway, I'm just pointing out that these things take time. If you hope to get set up and running pronto, then give some thought as to what will happen if the SB doesn't appear quickly.

To be fair to SB, I and many others ordered in mid Nov before the price increase which must have put a heavy work load on SB. Nonetheless, I was told it would ship mid Dec and arrive mid Jan. Manufacturing and shipping have plenty of potential for delays, but not much scope for speeding up.

To answer Gerald's questions re costs:

SB costs for intl order:
Crating fee............. $350
International shipping.. $861

Costs in UK were 1413 of which:
VAT 1172
UK delivery 130 from Tilbury to my workshop
LCL service charges 35
UK Customs clearance 45
Customs presentation fee 12.50
DFDS deferment fee 18.50

With delivery at 130 I don't think it's worth making a trip to pick it up from the docks yourself. It's certainly not worth making two trips. With the back doors open.

I don't know what happened to the craziness that is import duty in the above list. Let me backtrack a bit. After I had ordered, our resident forum jokers Mike John & Gerald put the fear of God into me with tales of import problems - I can't find the thread now; the threads suffer from subject drift. This was in Dec. I emailed Jamie at SB (a big thanks to Jamie) asking him to send me info so that I could start sorting out importing at this end. He got Kevin at DFDS Bristol to phone me (a big thanks Kevin) who was able to calm me down and tell me to get a psuedo TURN (who invents these names?) (Traders Unique Reference Number) and an import duty or commodity code.

I couldn't get the Psuedo TURN until the SB had left the US, because some of it is not known till then (port of entry etc). You can request a Psuedo TURN or TURN application form by emailing here turn@hmce.gsi.gov.uk (mailto:turn@hmce.gsi.gov.uk).

To get an commodity code you ring this number - 01702 366077. After answering the most obscure questions - is it made of cast iron?, does the controller have it's own memory? - you will be given a code. Or two in my case. I bet Mike got a different code. The system is crazy. I was supposed to pay 2.1% on the controller and 1.2% on the machine itself.

A few loose ends. The box weighs 300kg and is 9' long. If you get it delivered to your workshop you'll need a means of getting it off the lorry. It's to long to get off the back of the lorry - tail lift or no. You can get it off the side if it comes on a curtain sider, and if you have the means. Otherwise you'll have to follow SB's advice and unpack the box whilst it's still on the lorry. I imagine this would take some time, there are a lot of bits and some of them are fastened down. Have a safe place ready to put the bits.

As Mike hinted, if you're not VAT registered it might pay to register for a while in order to get the VAT back, and I'm considering doing this. You're likely going to be buying other stuff too at this time - router, bits, dust extraction etc, so the VAT adds up. I didn't know you could reclaim under the flat rate scheme.

Finally, if you need any help, remember that Mike says "Anyone contemplating doing an import are welcome to contact me if they feel I can assist." under a suitably encouraging photo.

Good luck,


04-04-2005, 10:47 AM
The ship actually docked and unloaded in London, but the container in which the ShopBot travelled went to Manchester to be unpacked! (They knew this on the 23rd, told me on the 29th) They didn't have the cheek to charge the London-Manchester - London cartage.
The ShopBot was 3643 pounds, which attracted 637 VAT (as a UK machine would have been charged). ShopBot charged 654 for crating and freight My total UK charges were 890 pounds. Subtract the 637 VAT you get 253. Add the 654 and you get an 'extra' cost of 907.
I guess there would be delivery charges in your hypothetical case. So I paid about $1741 over the odds.
If I can make only one more rocking horse using the ShopBot, this will be covered.
I will tell you in a couple of months if I feel I have value for money


04-04-2005, 11:07 AM
One further note. We will cerainly try to get as definitive a position on the whole business of importing a ShopBot in time for a small presentation at the European camp.
September 16th 17th and 18th 2005

10-27-2005, 12:23 PM
As from July 2006, products containing lead may not go into Europe. Soldered PC boards have to be RoHS compliant (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&rls=GGLD%2CGGLD%3A2005-07%2CGGLD%3Aen&q=RoHS%2Bsolder).

10-27-2005, 01:34 PM
The above is also included in the WEEE waste regulations covering all electrical goods. Items will have a waste surcharge added to pay for its disposal at the end of its life....In Ireland when you buy a fridge you will pay the cost of goods + 23% sales Tax and then something like 35 euro's disposal.....At some point I can see this surcharge will be added in the UK

10-28-2005, 01:43 AM
Thats messed up the grouse shooting on my Scottish estates come the "Glorious 12th" next year

10-28-2005, 03:06 AM
For the Glorious 12th (http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=17832) you can buy lead-free (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&rls=GGLD%2CGGLD%3A2004-43%2CGGLD%3Aen&q=lead-free%2Bammunition) shot.

This site (http://www.tintechnology.com/soldertec/soldertec.aspx?page_id=272&SelectedMenu_ID=35) has a nice summary of the issues. It is clearly not just a Europe thing.

10-28-2005, 05:19 AM
From your 'Glorious 12th' link.
"The grouse are then airlifted to swanky London restaurants for other folk to eat, complete with shotgun pellets."
They just don't taste the same with lead-free shot!

10-28-2005, 05:23 AM
Actually, there is little humour in this subject.
A program on the BBC recently highlighted the dangers to workers in India (Mumbai I think), dismantelling computers in back yard set ups.
The measurable polution was 14 times higher than would be expected from the worst traffic pollution.
I am 100% for a cleaner world.