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

IEC e-tech – April 2012

IEC e-tech: April 2012


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Editor in Chief:

Gabriela Ehrlich


Managing Editor e-tech :

Claire Marchand



Morand Fachot

Philippa Martin-King

Zoé Smart


Flying, driving and navigating safely


Cars, airplanes, ships all rely heavily on electrical equipment and systems Onboard computer systems provide invaluable information on performance, status and safety.



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Electrical installations in the maritime environment


Ships and offshore units rely on electrical installations for safe and reliable operation. Two IEC TCs prepare standards for all types of equipment, including navigation and communication systems, used on these. Standards are being constantly updated to reflect the changing pace of current technology and increased power and computing requirements of ships.


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Adoption of xenon and LED lighting


Visitors to the 2012 International Motor Show in Geneva were able to see the culmination of many years of research and development destined to make the driving experience safer and easier. Many of these developments concerned lighting.


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Modern technology improves vintage car performance


The story of a family team of enthusiasts who set out to win a vintage car race. Integrating modern technology into their 1929 car they were able to record and analyse precisely data about its performance, make additional adjustments and thus gain the necessary track advantage to win the speed race.


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50 years ago: First American in orbit


On 20 February 2012, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first manned orbital mission of the United States, launched from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Since 1962, the IEC has established several technical committees that deals with electronic components, assemblies and systems, as well as with avionics.


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Electric cycles gaining ground worldwide


Sales of electric cycles are soaring in Asia and several European markets, and expected to reach 47 million units in 2018. Models now include scooters and motorbikes as well as mobility scooters for the elderly and the mobility impaired, and e-powered rickshaws. Electric bike batteries should last three years on average, and while still quite expensive are expected to fall sharply in price in coming years. Several IEC TCs prepare standards for e-bikes components that include batteries, drives, connectors, and micro-electromechanical systems, to name just a few.


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Electrical installations in the maritime environment – a dynamic domain


Ships and offshore drilling units, subjected to very harsh operating constraints and environmental or chemical hazards, rely on electrical installations for safe and reliable operation. The International Maritime Organization acknowledging the IEC's expertise, established a formal relationship with TC 18 to collaborate in the preparation of standards for electrical systems in the maritime environment. Most of the industry's bureaus or registers of shipping, rely on IEC Standards as their preferred choice, rather than opting to develop their own.


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Standardization for safe global shipping


Carrying around 90% of world trade and millions of passengers, international shipping represents the life blood of the global economy. Safety, always a major concern for the industry, has made huge advances in the last century. thanks to international treaties and new or better communication and navigation solutions. In agreement with the International Maritime Organization and other organizations, TC 80 prepares international standards to ensure these equipment and systems always get better.


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Wheeling along quietly, without interference thanks to CISPR


One of the IEC TCs that deals with EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) is CISPR, the international special committee on radio interference. CISPR is facing new challenges in a world of increasing electrification where the use of EVs (electrified vehicles) is becoming more widespread.


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Taking developing countries onboard


To help developing countries that have an interest in participating in conformity assessment activities, IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, has now decided to grant IEC Affiliate Countries observer status in the IECEE System.


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IEC, ILAC and IAF cooperation bears fruit


The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the IEC, ILAC and IAF in October 2010 is bearing fruits.Recognizing the importance and reach of this agreement, SCC (Standards Council of Canada) announced in February 2012 that, following discussions with the IEC and other accreditation bodies, it would accept, under its Product Certification Body Accreditation Programme, the use of IECEE CBTLs (CB Scheme Testing laboratories) for product testing,


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Building on experience - IECEx international conference in Dubai


The 2012 IECEx International Conference on Equipment and Services in Explosive Atmospheres took place in Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates) on 20-21 March. Organized by IECEx and ESMA, in conjunction with UNECE, it brought together more than 200 participants. Organizers, speakers and participants all agreed that the event was a major success.


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Managing electronic components in avionics systems


Avionics — a blend of aviation and electronics — comprises all electronic systems for use on aircraft, satellites and spacecraft. It includes communications, navigation, flight and engine control, collision-avoidance and weather systems. IECQ has a programme specifically designed for avionics, the IECQ ECMP (Electronic Component Management Plan) Scheme.


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Getting to know Frans Vreeswijk


Frans Vreeswijk became IEC Deputy General Secretary on 1 March 2012. He will assume his full role as General Secretary and CEO at the 2012 Oslo General Meeting in October. He talked to e-tech about his background in industry and past experience as Dutch representative in the IEC CB and SMB.


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Putting regional standardization in a global context


CANENA, the Council for Harmonization of Electrotechnical Standards of the Nations of the Americas, held its annual meeting on 29 February-1 March 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. One of the major outcomes of the meeting was that CANENA’s efforts to harmonize requirements across Canada, USA and Mexico have proved to be very successful.


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Call for inspiration and creativity


A competition open to all has been launched to design a poster for World Standards Day 2012 on the theme, “Less waste, better results – Standards increase efficiency”. The deadline for submissions is 10 May 2012.


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Down under – very much on top


At the beginning of 2012, Ralph Craven, already one of the 15-Member IEC Council Board for the three-year period from 2010-2012, was appointed President of the Australian IEC NC. Here he talks to e-tech about his role in the world of standardization and electrotechnology: from teaching to electricity generation and distribution.


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Superconductivity – removing resistance


One of two IEC TC Chairmen who began their term of office on 1 April 2012 is responsible for a technical area that has tremendous development possibilities in removing the resistance from the flow of electricity: IEC TC 90: Superconductivity.


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First Chairman of printed circuitry


Increasing demand for competitive methods to produce low-cost high-performance electronics makes printing an attractive solution with enormous future potential. April 1 2012 saw the start of the term of office of the IEC's newest TC Officer, the Chairman of TC 119: Printed electronics.


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Paul Sandell, former Lord Kelvin Award recipient dies


At the end of February 2012, the French IEC NC (National Committee) announced the death on 9 February of one of their countrymen, a former Lord Kelvin Award recipient whose association with the IEC dated back to 1946.


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Tackling copyright infringements


It has never been easier or faster to find and obtain International Standards as it is today. But their widespread availability on the internet has also made them susceptible to copyright infringement. The IEC is taking action to tackle the problem.


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Drilling deeper but safely offshore


Offshore drilling, a fast expanding industry driven by the global demand for fossil fuels, is a particularly dangerous activity in which a harsh environment is combined with hazardous substances and operational equipment that is capable of causing fires or explosion. IEC TC 18 develops standards for offshore units to ensure electric installations used on these are safe. It has released two revised standards in its seven-part IEC 61892 series for the industry. They contain updated provisions for equipment and all aspects of system design for offshore installations.


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IEC standards for search and rescue at sea


Safety on ships depends on natural, human and technical factors. If shipbuilding technology has made great advances in the last century guaranteeing crew and passengers sail more safely, ensuring their swift rescue in case of accident is still paramount. This means access to instant, reliable and accurate communication equipment, a relatively recent possibility thanks mainly to satellite technology. The IEC prepares standards for all aspects of a global maritime distress and safety system that makes search and rescue at sea much more efficient.


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