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

IEC e-tech – August/September 2012

IEC e-tech: August/September 2012

Interrupters and connectors
Review of the year

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Editor in Chief:

Gabriela Ehrlich


Managing Editor e-tech :

Claire Marchand



Janice Blondeau

Morand Fachot

Zoé Smart


Message from IEC General Secretary and CEO


IEC General Secretary and CEO Ronnie Amit will hand over the reins to his successor Frans Vreeswijk at the IEC General Meeting in Oslo, Norway. Amit talks about the IEC and how it has evolved since he joined 17 years ago.



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AV connections between copper and fibre


Multimedia content and computer data can be transmitted and received through many channels. In spite of the spectacular expansion of wireless distribution and reception in recent years, cables and connectors still remain central to the production, transmission and reception chain of such content. Several IEC TC/SCs prepare International Standards for these.


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IEC endorses four USB specifications


Connectors and interfaces allow computer and multimedia devices to communicate and exchange data and content. With an installed base in excess of 10 billion units, the USB is by far the most successful interface. The IEC has just endorsed 4 specifications prepared USB-IF, the umbrella body that facilitates and promotes the benefits of USB.


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Omnipresent interrupters


Interrupters are used for many applications and in many devices. They are essential to protect equipment, such as transformers and, in the case of residual-current devices, to save lives by disconnecting a circuit whenever they detect an imbalance resulting from a leakage current. Several IEC TCs prepare International Standards for various types of interrupters.


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Rechargeable power for portable and stationary applications


Rechargeable batteries offer the greatest flexibility for many applications, whether mobile or stationary. They make up the fastest growing segment of the battery market and are rapidly evolving with the introduction of new materials. This expansion is well supported by the work of IEC TC 21: Secondary cells and batteries.


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Primary batteries: disposable yet irreplaceable


Access to power whenever and wherever it is needed is essential. The relative share of disposable or primary batteries in the global battery market is diminishing as their rechargeable counterparts are gaining ground. In spite of this, they are still essential and irreplaceable in countless applications and systems. International Standards for these devices are prepared by IEC TC 35.


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Developing standards for safer navigation


Safety at sea, always a major concern for seafarers, has made huge advances in the last hundred years, particularly where navigation and communication systems are concerned. International Standards for such types of equipment, which have firmly moved into the electronic, satellite and computer age, are prepared by IEC TC 80: Maritime navigation and radiocommunication equipment and systems.


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IEC International Standards: the key to safer shipping


Merchant ships are the lifeblood of the global economy, transporting around 90% of international trade (in terms of volume), as well as some two billion passengers a year. Continuous efforts are made to improve safety, which is dependent on equipment that relies entirely or to a great extent on electrical systems. Standards for electrical installations in ships and mobile and fixed offshore units are prepared by IEC TC (Technical Committee) 18 and its SC (subcommittee) 18A.


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Heat without fire for manufacturing


Electroheating, the high-power heating of various materials using electrical energy, is used to make countless products we use, consume or even eat. Steel or aluminium ingots, ceramics and ready-made meals may be produced using this method. New technologies, such as nanotechnology, are increasingly using this industrial processes such IEC TC 27: Industrial electroheating and electromagnetic processing, prepares International Standards for the many installations used in the sector.


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Small but powerful


MEMS (Micro electromechanical systems), were invented in the 1980s and have been used for years by the car, computer and medical industries as well as for industrial applications. Now, thanks to falling cost and size, they are also being incorporated in consumer electronics.


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An internationally trusted partner


The last 12 months have been extremely successful and fruitful for IECEE. Increased collaboration with international organizations, outreach to developing countries and the introduction of new services and product categories have contributed greatly to confirming IECEE as the leading global certification system for electrical and electronic products.


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Global and mobile


IECEx has had a very good year. Increase in the number of certificates issued by all its Schemes, participation in events at the international, regional and national levels, new market openings, introduction of an IECEx application for mobile devices are elements that have contributed to the growing success of the System.


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First IECEx-AFSEC seminar in Africa


IECEx and AFSEC are planning an international seminar that will take place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 28-30 November 2012. The event is organized in collaboration with several African organizations -AFREC, UPDEA and CODINORM – and in partnership with two Ivoirian utilities - CIE and CIPREL. The seminar will have sessions in English and in French.


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Safer electronics


Electronic components play an ever increasing role in our lives. They make our lives easier and provide better communication in a world that has become global and interconnected. IECQ provides certification at the international level for a wide variety of electronic components and is continuously expanding to address industry’s needs: hazardous substances and avionics for example, or more recently ESD (electrostatic discharge).


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IEC Regional Centres represent the IEC at key events


The work carried out by IEC-LARC and IEC-APRC is essential to promoting the work of the IEC in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Throughout the year, Amaury Santos, Regional Manager IEC-LARC and Dennis Chew, Regional Director IEC-APRC organize and participate in a number of events, raising awareness of the IEC’s work and engaging stakeholders.


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Smart Grid events


The IEC regularly lends its support to key global and regional industry events allowing them to put forward IEC endorsement on their website and materials. This month we would like to attract your attention to two Smart Grid related events.


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Building markets and industries


IEC Global Visions enables industry leaders such as Eaton Corporation and Haier Group, and institutes such as NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), to express why they support active participation in IEC work. Over the past months, the IEC has continued interviewing global leaders from industry and governmental institutions about the challenges they face and how their involvement with the IEC helps them to run their businesses more efficiently.


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Young Professionals - 2012 workshop


IEC NCs (National Committees) have selected their 2012 IEC YPs (Young Professionals) who will represent their country at the third YP workshop to be held during the 76th IEC General Meeting in Oslo, Norway, on 1-3 October 2012. The workshop agenda is now available on the IEC website.


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Succession planning for standardization


This article, written by Stephanie McLarty, 2010 Young Professional Leader, was first published in Standards Engineering, the official Journal of SES – The Society for Standards Professionals, Vol. 64, No. 2, March/April 2012. It is re-published in e-tech with their permission.


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IEC Young Professionals move ahead


In May 2012, Tania Cerda of Mexico was invited, as an IEC Young Professional, to participate in ConnectivityWeek 2012, held in Santa Clara, California, USA, an event that brought together experts from all around the world. She talked to e-tech about ConnectivityWeek and her involvement in the YP programme.


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Share your work


Nearly 10 000 experts work in the IEC. They may only be aware of the activities of the particular TC/SC in which they work. One of the goals of e-tech, the IEC’s monthly publication, is to change that. In 2013, the e-tech editorial team will be reaching out to TC/SCs to get their stories.


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2012 Awards - Recognizing commitment to the IEC


Every year the IEC honours the commitment and work of a select number of individuals who, through their leadership and technical expertise, have contributed to making products and electrical systems safer, more energy efficient, more reliable and more compatible.


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Welcome to the Bahamas


In July 2012, the IEC Affiliate Country Programme welcomed the Bahamas as its newest participating country. With 82 Members and 82 Affiliates, the IEC Family now numbers 164 countries.


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Training and IT tools development


If you are part of the IEC community, whether in an NC or TC/SC, you most probably have already been in contact with TISS, the IEC Technical Information and Support Services. IEC Community Business Coordinator Jan-Henrik Tiedemann outlined the major TISS activities and developments for e-tech.


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IEC training sessions in Asia


As part of its strategy to increase awareness of, and enhance participation in standards development work, the IEC made the decision to have regular training sessions for its members, experts and for the community at large. The first set of trainings and workshops took place in Asia in May 2012.


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Latest nominations


SMB (Standardization Management Board) has approved the nomination of Kobi Yahav as Israeli member of SMB SG (Strategic Group) 3: Smart Grid as well as the extensions of terms of office of several IEC TC/SC Chairmen.


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Fighting product piracy


Earlier this year IEC published a new brochure, Piracy in electrical and electronic products: Anti-counterfeiting best practice and strategies. Prepared by CAB, the publication provides an overview of the current situation concerning counterfeiting of electrotechnical products and provides concrete advice on tackling the issue.


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Cleaner shipping with shore to ship power


IEC TC 18 was at the origin of an International Standard aimed at cutting noxious emissions from docked ships through HVSC (High Voltage Shore Connection). ISO and IEEE later joined the IEC in preparing what has been released as an International Standard for the supply of HV electric power from shore to berthed ships. Crews, dockside workers and people living near harbours should all benefit from a wider adoption of HVSC.


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Consolidated standard for safer medical equipment


The safe operation and performance of medical electrical equipment are central to the management of risks in the medical environment. IEC SC 62A has released the consolidated version of a landmark International Standard for the basic safety and essential performance of such equipment.


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