Industrial automation certified
IECEE responds to market demand
From the wheel that helped transport heavy loads to the fire that provided heat, inventions and discoveries have made life much easier. The advent of electricity was a turning point in the industrial world. Automated operations were introduced that could be performed without the need for human intervention. The development of automation throughout the 20th century brought enormous changes: some jobs disappeared, others underwent major transformations and new ones were created.
Clear advantages of automated processes
The advantages of having automated systems were soon recognized by industry. Human operators can be replaced in tasks that involve hard physical or monotonous work, or those that are performed in hazardous environments such as fires, nuclear facilities, underwater and so forth. Automated systems can also undertake jobs that cannot be performed by human beings because of demands such as speed, size, weight or endurance. Automated processes often result in higher end quality and reliability in the assembly chain.
The automotive industry has been transformed radically by the development of automation, but it is not the only one. Over time, the food industry, pharmaceutical and other manufacturing companies have relied heavily on automation to produce more and at lower cost. Today, it can be said that most sectors of industry use at least some element of automation.
The rapid evolution of IT (information technology) in the second part of the 20th century has also enabled engineers to create more and more complex control systems integrating the factory floor.
The IEC has a number of TCs (Technical Committees) that prepare standards that deal with specific areas of industrial automation. IEC TC 65: Industrial-process measurement, control and automation, provides many of the standards that are relevant for industry. IEC TC 17: Switchgear and controlgear, IEC TC 22: Power electronic systems and equipment and IEC TC 44: Safety of machinery - Electrotechnical aspects, all play important roles in this field.
Certification for industrial automation
Most of the standards developed by these IEC TCs are already integrated in services provided by IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components. However, IECEE WG (Working Group) 2: Business Development, identified a market need for a specific service dedicated to industrial automation and has put in place the development of a new service that will provide manufacturers not only with a list of IEC International Standards that are essential in industrial automation, but also enable them to have their products and systems tested and certified by IECEE TLs (Testing Laboratories) and CBs (Certification Bodies).
Benefits of the IECEE System
The IECEE System is open to any manufacturer anywhere in the world. Today, more than 50 000 manufacturers benefit from the IECEE CB Scheme, enabling them to trade their products on the global market. More than half a million IECEE CB Test Certificates have been issued over the last 10 years.
In most countries IECEE Test Reports and Test Certificates are proof of compliance to regulatory requirements. Retailers, buyers and vendors are happy to import electrical goods that have been tested and certified by the IECEE System.
How the IECEE works
Over 70 NCBs now participate in the IECEE System. More than 370 independent CBTLs (Test Laboratories) and 2 000 MTLs (Manufacturers' Testing Laboratories) test millions of electrical and electronic products, which are commuted into IECEE CB Test Certificates by the IECEE NCBs.
Any CB and testing laboratory can seek IECEE membership. However, they must comply with the strict rules and procedures of the IECEE System and successfully pass the IECEE peer evaluation based on ISO/IEC Guide 65 and ISO/IEC 17025 and specific IECEE procedures. ISO is the International Organization for Standardization.
Examples of products tested include: household appliances, batteries, cables and cords, household equipment, luminaires, office and IT (information technology) equipment, electrical equipment for medical use, electric toys, portable tools, electronics and home entertainment and photovoltaic components, products and systems. The IECEE System also covers switches for appliances, transformers, fuse boards, tests for electromagnetic compatibility, hazardous substances in products and much more.
- Automation combines the use of control systems and information technology applications to provide solutions to different industrial needs
- Automated production line in solar silicon factory
- Control systems tie together production, material ordering, consumption monitoring, process supervision, costing, maintenance and more