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

IEC e-tech – July 2011

IEC e-tech: July 2011

July 2011 edition

pdf file 3.58 Mb



Managing Editor e-tech :

Philippa Martin-King


Editor in Chief:

Gabriela Ehrlich


Articles may be reproduced in whole or in part provided the source, "IEC e-tech" is mentioned in full.

Robot guarding system

Editorial – from automation to robotic assistance


Today, it comes as no surprise to find fully automated production lines in most manufacturing plants. Electromechanical devices carry out a broad variety of sophisticated repetitive actions. But until quite recently, the role of robots barely went beyond this mechanical automated functionality.


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IEC Global Visions

How Conformity Assessment helps reduce complexity


IEC Global Visions recently interviewed Wolfhart Hauser, Chief Executive Officer, Intertek Group, a world leading provider of auditing, inspection, certification and testing services.


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Taming the ocean's energy


While oceans are an enormous source of renewable energy with the potential to satisfy an important percentage of the world's demand for electricity, technologies developed to harness the energy from waves, tidal and water currents are still at early stages of development. Reducing production costs through efficient design and reasonably-priced quality materials and components is crucial to improving the overall economic viability and acceptability of wave, tidal and water current energy converters. This is where standards, IEC International Standards in particular, can play a major role.


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Robotic submersible

Robotic applications in Ex environments


Potentially explosive environments are obvious terrains in which to choose to deploy robots. During the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, robotic submersibles were sent underwater to contain and ultimately cap the spill on the sea floor, where direct human intervention was impossible. But most robots used in Ex atmospheres don't operate in such difficult and extreme conditions.


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Electric robot

Use of robots in electronics assembly lines accelerating fast


There are all types of robots loaded with electrotechnology. The electronics and semiconductor industries are relying increasingly on robotics for their product assembly processes. According to data compiled by the US Robotic Industries Association, the volume of robot sales to the electronics and semiconductor industry rose by nearly two-thirds during the first quarter of 2011.


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IECEE certificate statistics

Number of IECEE CB Test Certificates issued has soared


IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, held its annual series of meetings in Istanbul, Turkey, during the last week of June 2011. IECEE Executive Secretary Pierre de Ruvo made a presentation on the System's activities over the past 12 months and highlighted the good results obtained by CB Test Certificates.


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Robot in hazardous circumstances

Robots help deal with hazards, emergencies and disasters


Recent events throughout the world have shown that robots are proving extremely valuable, even irreplaceable, in dealing with the consequences of industrial or natural disasters and other dangerous situations. They can help prevent problems or monitor risks, carry out tasks in hostile or polluted environments and support search and rescue operations.


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Medical equipment

Robots are revolutionizing healthcare


Robots open up many possibilities for patient care: from operations to rehabilitation, from remote diagnosis and treatment to assistance and care for elderly and disabled patients. Robotics is set to play a central and growing role in future healthcare everywhere. International Standards are being prepared for medical robotic systems.


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Vacuum cleaner

Domestic robots challenge remaining household chore strongholds


The demands of modern life mean that households rely more and more on appliances to carry out a variety of tasks. Furthermore, a rapidly ageing population in all developed countries needs aid, particularly to keep homes tidy. Dusting and washing floors are essential but laborious undertakings. Over the last decade, service robots have been developed for this purpose; International Standards have been central to their introduction.


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Service robot

Service robots in figures - opportunity for new educational strategy in engineering


The international summit on robolution held from 23-25 March 2011 in Lyon, France gathered together hundreds of the world's leading expert robot manufacturers, designers, developers and government representatives. Innorobo provided a good indication of how important this new engineering sector is to certain world-leading technology economies and how much possibility still exists for future growth.


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Service robots in education


The service robot opens up a whole new world of possibilities for engineers and developers, both in terms of imagination and return on investment. Various Asian economies, already intent on robotic growth, have gone so far as to include the service sector in their strategy plans for national development and government-led initiatives.


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Paro robot

Robots provide tranquillity and care


For many severe health conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or autism, which statistics seem to indicate are on the rise, it has been shown that robotic assistance can help tremendously if not in supplanting human care, at least in supporting and supplementing it. Robots can help too in other areas of costly institutional care such as coaching for weight loss.


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LVDC – the end of the plugs and sockets dilemma?


More than 100 years after the war of currents between Edison and Tesla/Westinghouse, low voltage direct current is being discussed as the possible next evolution of electricity distribution. With distributed energy generation on the rise, this approach may hold significant advantages, not least in terms of energy efficiency.


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WTO meeting

WTO delegates visit IEC Central Office


Delegates from 25 different countries representing 26 separate organizations came to visit the IEC Central Office in Geneva on the morning of 8 June 2011 in what is now part of an on-going training programme within the WTO.


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Janette Kothe

Ubiquitous sensors – versatility in a smart world


Janette Kothe, one of the three 2010 IEC Young Professional Leaders is a sensor developer carrying out research on optical biosensors for industrial applications in a German academic institution, the Technical University of Dresden. She writes about her area of work and some of the consequences that standardization has had on this emerging field.


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AFSEC capacity building event for Africa


An important capacity building event is to take place in Kenya, Africa in support of the harmonization of electrotechnical standards to facilitate the interconnection of the African power grid.


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Buergin & Jan

Nominations of Officers of IEC National Committees


e-tech announces the nomination of two Officers to IEC National Committees.


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Nominations in IEC committees

Nominations of Officers of IEC Technical Committees


The IEC Standardization Management Board has announced the nomination of three Officers to IEC Technical Committees:

  • IEC TC 28: Insulation co-ordination;
  • IEC TC 31: Equipment for explosive atmospheres and
  • IEC TC 76: Optical radiation safety and laser equipment.

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Denise Duret

40 years with the IEC


On 30 June 2011, a central figure in general administration, Denise Duret, retired after a career of just over 40 years with the IEC.


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Bernard Dumortier

Automation driving growth in China


ITEI's 10th annual Forum in Beijing, China, provided the opportunity for some of the IEC's international TC 65 experts to talk about their projects and the work being undertaken at an international level. They were able to present some of their key strategies while exchanging ideas and information with their Chinese counterparts.


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Industrial automation

Measuring and controlling data at a distance


Data acquisition and monitoring are important elements of industrial processes and plant management since they help improve operational efficiency. The sensors, cameras and other hardware that are used to accomplish these tasks communicate with each other through standardized protocols, which increasingly enable wireless transmission.


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Coping with the need for increased energy


Concern about energy sources and political awareness of the need to ensure safety has encouraged lobbying for an urgent adoption of renewable sources of energy with lower CO2 emission levels. But while talks are on-going, there are few concrete commitments yet.


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