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

IEC e-tech – March 2013

IEC e-tech: March 2013

Natural phenomena


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Editor in Chief:

Gabriela Ehrlich


Managing Editor e-tech :

Claire Marchand



Janice Blondeau

Aliyah Esmail

Morand Fachot

Zoé Smart


Natural and transient phenomena


The forces of nature have to be reckoned with at all times. Whether a solar storm, water, dust or a heat wave, they can cause major damage. For centuries, inventors, scientists and engineers have been devising protective and mitigating measures to counter the effects of these natural and transient phenomena.


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Sun to Earth: time for standards?


Solar flares can provoke severe geomagnetic storms that can have a serious impact on high-voltage power grids. It may be time to consider the development of standards to mitigate this high-impact, but low-probability threat to protect power installations.


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Clearing up misconceptions


Audiovisual products and ITC equipment are found everywhere and used by billions of people on a daily basis and must be safe to use by all. A safety standard, introduced in January 2010 to cover both categories, is gaining wider international acceptance. Some clarifications regarding its positioning in relation to standards published earlier are required.


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Mitigating the impact of natural phenomena


Electrical installations and supply can be directly and adversely affected by natural phenomena and disasters such as solar storms, hurricanes, extreme cold or heat, bad weather conditions, lightning, etc. A number of IEC TCs prepare International Standards to mitigate or prevent the severity of the impact of such phenomena.


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Safer work on live installations


Electrical equipment cannot always be powered down for maintenance or repair work and work must therefore often be carried out on live installations. IEC TC 78 prepares International Standards for tools, equipment and devices used for work on, and in the vicinity of, live parts of electrical installations and systems. This includes their performance requirements, care and maintenance.


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TC work to help thwart potential threats


Cases of electromagnetic (EM) fields from geomagnetic storms caused by solar activity disrupting and damaging power grids have been known for a long time. Another type of EM field known as HEMP (high-altitude EM pulse) was discovered when nuclear devices were detonated at high altitudes in the 1950s and 1960s. IEC SC 77C: High power transient phenomena, develops environment, protection and test standards for commercial equipment that might be exposed to HEMP.


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Safer entertainment and work


Audiovisual and information and communication technology equipment can be found in virtually all homes and working environments. The widespread presence of such electricity powered devices means they must be safe to install, operate and maintain for users and technicians alike. IEC TC 108: Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communication technology, prepares International Standards to ensure this is the case.


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A CA System for marine energy?


Oceans are an enormous source of renewable energy with the potential to satisfy an important percentage of the world's demand for electricity. Marine energy however has not evolved at the same rate as other types of renewable energy and the technologies used to harness the energy from waves, tidal and water currents are still in development. IEC TC 114 was established to develop standards for marine energy industry and CAB set up a working group to explore the CA needs of this sector.

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Protection against electromagnetic effects


Electronic devices can be damaged by lightning, as harmful overcurrent can reach them through the phone jack, Ethernet cable, or electricity outlet. Close strikes can also generate EMPs (electromagnetic pulses). All electronic devices are highly susceptible to these electromagnetic effects. As the market in electronic goods has increased rapidly and steadily over the past 30 years, there was also a growing need for protective measures against such effects.


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IECEx certificates go mobile


IECEx, the IEC System for Certification to Standards relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres, has launched the first mobile application to show international certificates for equipment used in explosive atmospheres. The free app is available for iOS and Android tablets and smart phones


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Understanding electrostatic discharge


Static electricity has been a serious industrial problem for centuries. Electrostatic discharges can severely damage or destroy electronic devices and create failures. IECQ offers assessment and Process Approval Certification as a means of providing independent verification of compliance to IEC 61340-5-1, the IEC International Standard on Electrostatics and the protection of electronic devices from electrostatic phenomena.


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World Smart Grid Forum 2013


There is an urgent need for the development of robust, low-carbon energy systems to address global issues of long-term energy security. Despite this unanimous target, Smart Grids are still failing to move beyond the project stage. Three neutral, global partners – IEC, SGCC (State Grid Corporation of China) and VDE, one of the largest technical and scientific associations in Europe – with a strong interest and know-how in Smart Grids but without commercial motivation, have now joined forces for the first World Smart Grid Forum in Berlin, Germany, on 24-25 September 2013.


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Spotlight on the Fully Networked Car


The 8th FNC (Fully Networked Car) Workshop, held on 6 March 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland, raised the fundamental question: 'How can international standards provide even greater support to the global automotive industry for developing FNCs integrated with ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems)'?


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The safety perspective in standardization


Adam Murdoch became the Chair of IEC SC 61H: Safety of electrically-operated farm appliances, on 1 March 2013. He was an IEC 2010 Young Professional. e-tech spoke to Murdoch about his vision for this subcommittee, his work in standardization and what lies ahead.


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The SMB (Standardization Management Board) has approved a number of nominations as well as the extension of the terms of office of existing Chairmen.


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IEC shows a new digital face


From the beginning of April, the IEC website homepage has a new look, designed to provide an improved user experience for existing and new users.The page has a simplified navigation with tabs for Home, Work, Learn, News and Buy, which bring visitors directly to the content they are most interested in.


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Information security and service management processes integration


Integration of security best practices and service management processes helps lower the total cost of maintaining acceptable security levels while effectively managing risks. A new ISO/IEC International Standard provides organizations with guidance on when to use two existing Standards which address very similar processes and activities..


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