IECEE developments to meet industry demand
IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Testing and Certification for Electro-technical Equipment and Components, is a truly international conformity assessment system. The IECEE CB Scheme opens up access to the global market, while the IECEE CB-FCS (Full Certification Scheme) takes testing and certification a step further with a complete factory inspection process. IECEE is also the exclusive provider of the PV (photovoltaic) Quality Seal and Quality Mark. Technological innovations and environmental issues have prompted the setting up of additional services to meet specific demands from industry and governments worldwide.
One test, one certificate, opening many doors
Products tested and certified in one country will be accepted in all other IECEE member countries. But it doesn’t stop there. Global acceptance of the CB Scheme through the CB Test Certificates and associated CB Test Report is also effective in countries that are not part of the IECEE community. A CB Test Certificate is a global passport for the product.
The IECEE CB Scheme provides assurance that tested and certified products meet the strictest levels of safety, reliability and performance as per the requirements of the relevant IEC International Standards. It helps reduce costs and time to market, eliminates duplicate or multiple testing and offers a high level of confidence for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.
Factory inspection – global proof of consistent quality
The CB-FCS Scheme for Mutual Recognition of Conformity Assessment Certificates for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components is an extension of the IECEE CB Scheme that also includes factory surveillance. This scheme goes beyond product testing. It covers Type Test and regular surveillance at the factory that manufactures the relevant certified product. This is of value to manufacturers who need to provide proof that products manufactured in a given factory offer a consistent level of quality over time.
With CB-FCS, the manufacturer can complete all certification and factory surveillance steps in the country in which the factory operates. They include product sampling, testing, assessment and surveillance of assembly lines and management processes, surveillance and regular sampling and retesting of products both at the factory and/or in the market place.
CB-FCS provides proof that each product from a certified factory offers consistent levels of quality and safety. All members participating in CB-FCS mutually recognize the CA (Conformity Assessment) Certificates and associated CA Reports, including Factory Surveillance Reports, as the basis for national approval or certification. In many cases they will be sufficient for direct acceptance by the market. CB-FCS also helps reduce trade barriers caused by the application of different national certification criteria and speeds up certification and market access.
Factory Surveillance Reports can also be used as stand-alone proof of compliance of the factory where the product is manufactured and/or assembled whenever the national authorities and/or retailers, buyers and vendors require such a report.
Exclusivity of PV Quality Seal and Mark
The PV Quality Seal and Quality Mark are the internationally recognized quality benchmarks for PV products and the worldwide reference model for manufacturers of PV products and systems, as well as for suppliers of components used in PV products. They ensure that solar equipment and components are compliant with IEC International Standards in terms of safety and performance. The PV quality system is exclusive to the IECEE. PV Certificates are issued by an approved IECEE NCB (National Certification Body).
The World Bank recognizes the PV Quality Mark and recommends that it be included in every tender.
Australian regulation for PV modules
In Australia, PV modules sold and installed in the country must be tested and certified to the relevant IEC International Standards by a laboratory accepted by the IECEE System. The first CEC (Clean Energy Council of Australia) regulation was enforced in June 2009. It was complemented in March 2011 by an even stricter clause stating that certificates will be accepted only where periodic factory inspections are carried out by the NCB to ensure ongoing compliance with International Standards. Similarly, imported PV modules must be approved for use in Australia. NCBs and test laboratories must be on the IECEE list posted on the CEC website.
New services in the pipeline
IECEE is developing new services to respond to demand from industry: industrial automation and automation devices, Smart Grid – with focus on the smart home, the smart building and the smart factory – electric vehicles and energy efficiency.
How the IECEE works
Over 75 NCBs now participate in the IECEE System. More than 366 independent CBTLs (Test Laboratories) and more than 2 000 MTLs (Manufacturers’ Testing Laboratories) test millions of electrical and electronic products and components, which are commuted into IECEE CB Test Certificates by the IECEE NCBs.
Any NCB and testing laboratory can seek IECEE membership. However, prior to their Registration as IECEE NCB and CBTL, 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.
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 also covers switches for appliances, transformers, fuse boards, tests for electromagnetic compatibility, hazardous substances, electrical vehicles chargers, and stations and much more.