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

August/September 2011


Sustainable manufacturing

Increasing production efficiency

The face of manufacturing is changing. The Western world is confronted with economic and monetary constraints that make it harder to maintain the production levels of the past few years while the developing world is seeing a rapid increase in output. The result is that for those industrialized countries looking to remain competitive, one element, often neglected in the past, but now an integral part of a BOM (bill of materials) calculation, is the cost of the energy used to produce the goods.

Developing economies account for over 80 percent of global population

Economic activity is the principal driver of demand for energy, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency). Population growth is also an important driver of energy use. In excess of 80 % of the world's population belongs to either developing or emerging economies. These countries make considerable use of raw materials such as steel and copper and emit a great deal of CO2.


In its 2010 World Energy Outlook projections, the IEA predicts that worldwide electricity demand generation will increase by an average of 2,2 percent per year from 2008 to 2035. By the year 2035, the quantity of electricity used by non-OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries is expected to rise by 80 %. And, while overall electricity demand diminished in 2009, the IEA projects that growth in demand for electricity will continue to outpace that for all other forms of energy.


Since the industrial sector – which uses between roughly 30 % and 40 % of world energy – is highly sensitive to changing economic conditions, so it follows that cost reduction measures such as those that IEC International Standards enable, and that result in more efficient use of energy, can make a noticeable difference.


The IEC produces International Standards relating to all forms of manufacturing. These include the Smart Grid, energy generation and transmission, electric motors, wiring, cabling, sensors and information technology, to mention just a few. International Standards allow systems to work safely with each other, help improve energy efficiency and lessen CO2 emissions while reducing costs, opening up greater possibilities within markets and partners and providing faster access to markets.


The September issue of e-tech looks at some of the ways in which International Standards can help industry achieve its task of becoming more cost efficient, both financially and in terms of cost to the environment.


  • The industrial sector uses between roughly 30 % and 40 % of world energy.
  • Economic activity is the principal driver of demand for energy.
  • Philippa Martin-King, Managing Editor, e-tech.