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

IEC e-tech – April 2014

IEC e-tech: April 2014

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


The healthcare revolution


Healthcare is undergoing nothing short of a revolution with key advances in long-established technologies and major development in new areas which all depend on electrotechnology.


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Sound of silence


Ultrasounds, which cannot be heard by humans, are used extensively in healthcare and other domains. They are found in diagnosis, surgical, therapeutic and cleaning environments, as well as in other medical and dental applications. The IEC has been preparing International Standards for ultrasonic medical (and other) equipment since the mid-1950s.


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Treating the body electric


Mentions of treatment using electricity were first recorded in ancient Greece and Rome. In more modern times, the introduction of X-ray equipment in the early 20th century, was quickly followed by a myriad of other electric medical devices. Entirely new electrotechnologies being rolled out are likely to have a significant impact in medicine.


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Taking a clear and safe look inside...


Medical imaging, used to visualize the interior of patients' bodies, is an indispensable tool that allows doctors to diagnose and treat internal illnesses and traumatic injuries. International Standards for the performance and safe operation of imaging equipment are prepared by several IEC Technical Committees and their Subcommittees.


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Health-watch on the move


Some wearable electronic devices such as hearing aids, performance monitors (for measuring activity, heart rate, etc.) and headsets have been around for a while. Other electronic wearables are now widely found in the social, health, wellness and medical domains in guises such as smart glasses, smart watches and glucose monitoring and drug delivery devices. Most rely on IEC International Standards to operate reliably and safely.


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Eavesdropping on health matters


Most pieces of electrical medical equipment are used in only a limited number of procedures. This is not the case in the ultrasonic domain, which has a very wide range of applications. IEC TC 87 was created specifically to address standardization for equipment in this area.


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Standards the heart of safe medical equipment


International Standards for equipment in the healthcare environment are critically important and cover a wide spectrum of devices, systems and domains. The IEC ensures these are kept constantly up-to-date and improved when needed through the work of several of its TCs, primarily TC 62.


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Medical equipment advances at lightning speed


Since 2007, IECEE (IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components) has been managing the risks surrounding medical electrical equipment. Its task has become more important as technological changes and enhancements have radically increased the complexity of the sector.


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Exploding silos


IECEx provides certification for areas where there is a risk of fire and/or explosion due to flammable gases, liquids and dusts. Ex areas are a part of almost every industry, from transport, food production and textiles to petroleum and mining. And of course farming. Wherever cereals are grown in large quantities, there are silos to store grain. In these silos, or with any of the food processing equipment likely to be found alongside them, the thin layer of dust resulting from the processing has the potential to make a farm go up in flames.


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Health-giving robots


Though the use of artificial intelligence is not yet widespread, robots are moving into sectors that seemed unlikely even a decade ago; for example, assisting in surgical procedures. IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, helps to ensure the reliability of components used in any robots that care for us.


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Tomorrow’s experts step up


This issue of e-tech showcases the UK national Young Professionals programme, which was established in 2010. e-tech spoke to Martin Danvers, Secretary to the British Electrotechnical Committee, who is responsible for the programme.


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Workshop as catalyst for change


The first training workshop of 2014 took place in Belarus, at the end of January. The event was of particular importance to the Belarusian National Committee, which will host the 2015 IEC General Meeting in Minsk. While preparations for the event are well underway, the NC felt it was essential to have some specific training to help improve the technical level and skills of their experts so that they can be more deeply involved in the standardization work performed by IEC TC/SCs.


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Happiness as key performance indicator


After the IEC General Meeting in New Delhi, India at the end of October 2013, IEC Affiliate Executive Secretary Françoise Rauser, accompanied by IEC-APRC (Asia-Pacific Regional Centre) Regional Director Dennis Chew, paid a visit to Bhutan to meet with stakeholders, regulators, utilities and government representatives.


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April 2014 nominations and extensions


SMB (Standardization Management Board) has approved the nomination of Thomas Hähner as Chairman of IEC TC 46: Cables, wires, waveguides, R.F. connectors, R.F. and microwave passive components and accessories, for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2020.


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EU vote on phone charger e-waste


The IEC welcomes the recent near-unanimous vote by the European Parliament to embed the universal phone charger Standard for data-enabled mobile telephones into law in the EU by 2017.


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Keeping interference at bay


A Subcommittee of CISPR (the Special Committee on Radio Interference) has just published the second edition of an International Standard for Radio disturbance and immunity measuring apparatus. This Standard is available also as Redline version with track changes.


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Electric vehicles charging advances


A milestone towards a global framework for introducing safe, interoperable solutions for the fast charging of EVs (electronic vehicle) has been reached with the publication of an International Standard for EV d.c. (direct current) fast charging.


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