International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies

May 2011


High-voltage show

Swiss Electrotechnical Committee celebrates its centenary

In the company of national, regional and international representatives from the world of standardization, CES, the Swiss National Committee of the IEC, celebrated its hundredth anniversary on 14 April 2011 in the Swiss Science Centre of Winterthur, the unique technorama of Switzerland.

Electricity at the origin of many Swiss industrial developments

IEC President Klaus Wucherer was an illustrious speaker at the CES event in Winterthur. It is fitting to celebrate 100 years of electrotechnology in such a place, he told his audience.


"Electric power has been a cornerstone in the evolution of the Swiss economy, and broad electrification has brought prosperity to Switzerland," he said. "Indeed, since the foundation of the NC (National Committee), CES and Electrosuisse (the Association for Electrical Engineering, Power and Information Technologies of which CES is a commission), have played an important part in Swiss energy history and have from the beginning been closely involved in the IEC."


The technorama where the event was held gives younger people a glimpse into some of the hidden aspects of electricity. In the electronics laboratory visitors can experiment with magnetic forces to get a better grasp of how the moving charges of electric currents generate magnetic fields of varying frequencies and strengths. They are invited to attend a daily lightning show and superconductivity demonstration and learn about Eddy currents and the Faraday effect.

Electrotechnology vital for economy of Switzerland

Describing how CES, with over 80 technical committees, organizes and ensures electrical engineering standardization in Switzerland, Wucherer said, "Their work provides some of the basic building blocks for industry in this country and beyond. Without electrotechnical standards, technology could not evolve as smoothly and rapidly as it does. Global trade would be nearly impossible."


In addition to its safety and compatibility role, standardization facilitates market access, encourages innovation and promotes cooperation and networking.

Martin Reichle,
President CES,

Wucherer congratulated CES on its first hundred years and wished it a continuing fruitful cooperation.


"Switzerland holds the secretariat for a number of important Technical Committees, including steam turbines, electronic power conversion and switching, low voltage DC power and safety of microwave applications," he said. "Engineers make technology accessible to all, encouraging its broad roll-out, and allowing millions of devices and systems to work together safely, anywhere in the world. Swiss technical and scientific contributions have and continue to influence technological development well beyond the country’s borders. Many hundreds of Swiss experts have participated and continue to participate in international standardization, and as a result Swiss industry is able to develop and export its electrotechnical know-how to Europe and the world."

IEC Past President was also President of CES

Joining in the celebrations was IEC Past President Mathias Fünfschilling, also a former President of CES. Looking back at some of the history and politically dynamic times of the past, he commented on how difficult it had become to promote national interests. He underlined the importance of a unified voice in standardization matters and the consequent shift made by Switzerland in the 1990s towards a regional involvement in CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, and international ties with the IEC.

Increased involvement

"The future will be technology driven," said Fünfschilling, "and the time to market will play an increasingly important role. There can be no relenting for CES if it is to retain regional and global market share. CES needs to address these challenging trends."


  • Klaus Wucherer, IEC President.
  • Jörg Weber, General Secretary, CES, presents a typical Swiss chocolate to Klaus Wucherer.
  • Martin Reichle, President, CES, pointed out the advantages from which companies benefit if they are actively involved in the standardisation process.



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