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

IEC e-tech – May 2013

IEC e-tech: May 2013

Medical equipment


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Editor in Chief:

Gabriela Ehrlich


Managing Editor e-tech :

Claire Marchand



Janice Blondeau

Aliyah Esmail

Morand Fachot

Zoé Smart

Laurianne Trimoulla


Keeping healthy and safe


This month, e-tech focuses on standardization work and conformity assessment for certain types of medical electrical equipment and systems.

From robotic technology to major advances in the performance of hearing aids, several IEC TCs are at work to provide International Standards while IECEE ensures that all equipment operates in the safest possible way.


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Dr Robot needs standards too!


The introduction of electrical equipment and systems using robotic technology in the medical environment carries the obvious need to ensure safe usage for patients and medical staff alike. This has led to the creation of a Joint Working Group for the preparation of International Standards for such equipment.


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Silence is not always golden


Hearing loss affects the lives of hundreds of millions in the world. Hearing aids help those suffering from this disability live a nearly "normal" life. IEC TC 29: Acoustics, has prepared more than a dozen International Standards to ensure hearing aids and related equipment meet the needs of users and practitioners.


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Making Internet transactions more secure


As more and more PCs, mobile phones and PDAs go online increased security is necessary for the compact devices which provide their Internet connections. IEC and ISO have developed and adopted ISO/IEC 29192 on lightweight cryptography which helps meet the needs for low-power, low-cost secure encryption


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TC work supports medical equipment market


The global electrical equipment market is a huge one. It is expanding rapidly as an aging population needs more care and as millions more people gain access to medical services in the developing world. A number of IEC TCs prepare International Standards to ensure this equipment is safe to use for patients and staff that operate it.


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Trust your doctor and his equipment


International Standards in the health-care environment are critically important to guarantee the safe operation of electrical medical equipment for the well-being of patients and staff. IEC TC 62 and its SCs ensure these are constantly kept up-to-date and improved when needed.


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Tackling noise effectively


Noise represents a health risk for wide sections of the population in many countries, in particular in the industrialized world. IEC TC 29: Electroacoustics, prepares International Standards for instrumentation designed to measure sound levels and for medical equipment intended for hearing-impaired people.


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Legal sharing of digital media content


As consumers become increasingly mobile, digital media solutions need to deliver flexibility across technology platforms and devices, while protecting content producers rights. Combining DRM (digital rights management) technology and interoperability has been a priority of the digital media industry for several years. Cooperation between IEC and ITU has produced a new standard that allows multimedia content to be legally used across different platforms.


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Trust is the keyword


Trust is essential in the doctor-patient relationship. But it doesn’t stop there. Any medical practitioner has to trust the performance of the apparatus he uses to make a diagnosis. Any surgeon has to trust the reliability of the instruments and equipment used in the operation room, be they surgical lighting, lasers or magnifiers, to name but a few.


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Mining: A high-risk activity


Miners, especially in underground mines, risk their life at all times. From cave-ins to explosions to dangers they cannot see, such as carbon monoxide and methane gas. Modern mining techniques, machinery and equipment provide better protection than ever before. IECEx certification ensures that equipment used in the mining sector is as safe as possible and provides the required level of protection.


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Hearts are not meant to be broken


From the simplest to the most complex, medical devices increasingly rely on electronics. From the digital thermometer and blood pressure kit used at home to tele- and micro-surgery, the possibilities are infinite. In the next few months, four countries will be testing out the first fully artificial heart. This heart and other fully artificial organs would not be possible if each part did not work exactly as planned.


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Profiling Dr Shu Yinbiao


e-tech profiles Dr Shu Yinbiao, Convener of the IEC MSB (Market Strategy Board), and recently appointed as third Vice-President of the IEC. In this role he has the responsibility of fostering the IEC’s efforts to remain close to the market.


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Look ahead...New Delhi calling


National Committees have until the end of June to register participants, selected at national level, for the IEC Young Professionals Programme 2013 workshop. The workshop will be held in New Delhi in October during the IEC General Meeting. The IEC YP programme, now in its fourth successful year, provides a springboard for further involvement in electrotechnical standards work.


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Latin America on IEC map


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. Three broad geographical regions were defined: Asia, the Americas and Europe. In March 2013, workshops took place in Argentina, Brazil and Chile.


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The IEC family grows


In April 2013, the Affiliate Country Programme welcomed South Sudan as its newest participant. This brings the total number of countries in the IEC family to 164. South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011 and has since struggled with developing its infrastructure and advancing industry after decades at war. One of the steps that the Ministry of Electricity and Dams has taken is to join the Programme as the country will have greater need for electricity than ever before.


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IECEE certification takes stage in Africa


IECEE and AFSEC are planning an international seminar that will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on 26-27 August 2013. The two day event will include a general presentation of conformity assessment at the IEC, as well as three specific sessions on electrical safety for refrigerators, luminaires as well as audio and video electronic equipment.


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Latest nominations


The SMB (Standardization Management Board) has approved a number of nominations to Technical Committees, Advisory and Strategic Groups, as well as the extension of the term of office of TC Chairmen.


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SADCSTAN committed to standards


For several years now, the IEC has been represented at SADCSTAN, the SADC (Southern African Development Community) Cooperation in Standardization. There are close ties between the two organizations and all 15 SADC countries are in the IEC Family.


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Constructing sustainable infrastructure


The IEC was represented at the annual DCMAS Network meeting that took place on 12 April 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. The network helps to bring together specialized organizations that operate at an international level and that are active in promoting and implementing MAS activities (metrology, accreditation and standardization) as a tool for sustainable economic and infrastructure development.


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Ensuring safer design for hearing aids


Hearing aids are essential to improve the lives of millions of hearing-impaired individuals. IEC TC 29: Electroacoustics, has issued more than a dozen International Standards for such aids in the 60118 series. Its latest publication, covering Particular requirements for the basic safety and essential performance of these devices, has been released in the 60601 series of Standards for Medical electrical equipment.


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Tougher cyber-security for financial sector


A new IEC and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) Technical Report, ISO/IEC/TR 27015, aims to provide additional support to the finance industry to set up an appropriate information security management system for financial services. At the same time it will provide more confidence to customers.


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Ada revision provides greater reliability and security


Originally developed for the US Department of Defense to consolidate programming languages in military applications, highly reliable Ada programming language is also used in medical applications, air traffic control, banking and other high-risk industries. Recently Ada has become more flexible and secure with the publication of the third edition of ISO/IEC 8652, Information technology - Programming languages – Ada.


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