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

TC News - Archives

 

2001

Reorganization of the Central Office Standards Development Department June

Development Department

The IEC has definitively gone electronic. Today, working documents are all available in electronic form and standards are also distributed in this form.

 

The Central Office has been the prime mover in implementing this change and to put it into a better position to meet this challenge its "Standards Development" Department has been reorganized into three Teams having comprehensive means for progressing standards projects from the proposal stage to the BAT stage (ready to print).

 

The Standards Development Department does not act alone. It works in close collaboration with the Publishing Department which has the main task of putting the drafts approved into their final form and turning them into saleable products (as explained below a new task has also been entrusted to the Publishing)

 

Processing the future standards (or technical specifications or reports) arriving at the Central Office as electronic manuscripts represents a significant task where quality and efficiency are to be best conciliated and this has led the Central Office to define the new policy described below.

 

The electronic manuscripts are checked on arrival, first of all by the Technical Officer responsible for the TC/SC concerned, who initiates a very strict procedure for the evaluation of the manuscript on the basis of three criteria :

 

1. Quality of the electronic file (conformity with the requirements of the IT tools guide)
2. Quality of the files containing the drawings (ditto)
3. Quality of the text (conformity with Part 3 of the Directives, consistency with the previous stage and consistency of the two languages).

 

A joint decision is then taken enabling the manuscript to be put into one of four streams :

 

1. Manuscript rejected and referred back to the Secretary of the TC/SC concerned
2. Manuscript of poor quality handled on a subcontracting basis with the agreement of the TC/SC Secretary
3. Manuscript of medium quality requiring action by the Editing Service
4. Manuscript of excellent quality that can be dealt with directly by the relevant Team.

 

The Editing Service attached to the Standards Development Department has an essential role in this checking process and, after checking, works on the manuscripts put into stream 3. It also provides help to TC/SC Secretaries in preparing or modifying the manuscripts.

  • Stream 1 is relatively rare. The reasons are clearly stipulated to the TC/SC Secretaries concerned, who are also given advice on preparing a new manuscript.
  • Stream 2 is chosen to help TCs/SCs to finish a manuscript either because they do not have the necessary resources and tools or because their knowledge of IEC rules is still inadequate. This stream, denoted "Subcontracting", is placed under the responsibility of Publishing which has the adequate ressources; it necessitates a considerable effort and may delay circulation of the project by 4 to 6 months depending on the current workload and the volume of the document.
  • Stream 3 is the normal process which was used until the end of 1999 for good manuscripts and which should allow an average processing time of less than 3 months.
  • Stream 4, known as the "fast stream", is restricted to manuscripts of medium volume which require only minor editorial changes. Their processing by the Teams enables most of the stages of stream 3 to be skipped and permits circulation in less than 2 months, thus favouring the projects that have been well prepared.

Workload management June

TC 88 -Wind turbine systems, met last October and its report to the Committee of Action includes a revised SPS. Special attention is drawn to Section C -Work programme / Current work, which contains an interesting analysis of the workload of this committee. C1 may be summarized as follows :

Work priorities

Next stage
of project
Subject
Target
date

CD

Safety of wind turbines, Ed.3

2001-12

CD

Power performance measurements of grid connected wind turbines

2000-12

CD

Verification of power performance of individual wind turbines

2001-12

CD

Design requirements for offshore wind turbines

2002-06

 

 

Resources needed

Number of meetings needed by WG to complete a document :

10

  4 X 2 X 10 X 1,5 = 120

Number of WGs simultaneously active over a year :

4

Number of times a year WGs convene :

4

Number of days necessary for a WG meeting :

2

Number of members in a WG :

10

Factor to take account of preparatory work :

1.5

 

Thus, the annual time spent for each WG is 120 man-days.


In view of the workload, TC 88 has planned its next meeting in 2002-04.

 

This example, in which priorities are first allocated and then the resources necessary to complete the work are evaluated, is exactly what is required from TCs/SCs prior to preparing the project plans for the new work items.

P-Members’ participationJune

At its last meeting, held in October 2000, TC 78 -Live working, discussed the level of active participation of P-Members in the work of the committee and its working groups. This resulted in the following table which is an appendix to TC 78 report to the Committee of Action :

Work priorities

Countries

Participation to the Plenary meetings

Number of experts
in WGs/MTs
or PTs

Participation to the votes
(NP,CDV, FDIS)
%

Montréal
00-10

Mulhouse
99-05

Birmingham
97-10

Richmond
96-05

1999

1998

1997

BELGIUM

1

100

100

100

CANADA

X

X

X

X

15

50

75

17

CHINA

X

X

X

X

-

25

75

67

CZECH REPUBLIC

X

X

X

X

1

100

87

100

DENMARK

-

100

100

100

FINLAND

X

1

100

100

83

FRANCE

X

X

X

X

10

100

100

100

GERMANY

X

X

X

X

8

100

100

100

ITALY

X

X

X

X

2

100

100

100

JAPAN

-

75

0

50

NETHERLANDS

-

100

100

100

NORWAY

X

X

X

X

-

100

37

83

RUSSIAN FED.

-

75

87

100

SLOVAKIA

-

100

87

83

SOUTH AFRICA

-

75

87

83

SPAIN

X

5

100

100

83

SWEDEN

X

2

100

100

100

UK

X

X

X

X

10

75

87

50

USA

X

X

X

X

15

50

87

83

 

This exercise has been considered as very interesting and useful by the Committee of Action when discussing the report of TC 78. As a result, all the other TCs are warmly encouraged to follow this example.

Measuring the performance of TCs/SCsMay

By its decision CA 110/13, the Committee of Action reaffirmed the importance of assessing the efficiency of the Technical Committees’ work.

 

When defining the project plan of each new project, TC/SC Officers shall use the matrix which provides guidance for the setting up of target dates. This matrix prepared by an Ad Hoc Group of the Committee of Action takes into account the various types of standards (semantic, horizontal, products,…) and the degree of difficulty which may be encountered when developing the standard.

As the milestones given in the matrix (please, refer to documents 35/AC [2001] and CA/1363A/R [1999]) are for guidance purposes, TC/SC which cannot meet these target dates are requested to provide the Committee of Action with a justification for the obtention of a derogation.

 

This will enable the Committee of Action to better understand the various challenges the TC/SCs are facing and to review the matrix if necessary.

Convergence of European and International StandardsApril

In an attempt to reach a certain level of harmonisation between regional and international standards, CENELEC provides every month the C.O. with a list of all the standards issued and sometimes modifications to IEC standards.


In a first step the C.O. sends a list of those standards – identified by their reference number and title – to all the TC/SC Secretaries concerned. They are invited to indicate – within one month – whether they are interested in receiving the standard(s), for further consideration. When no response is provided in the time frame given, the conclusion is that there is no interest.

 

Those TCs/SCs which show an interest receive, in a second step, an electronic copy of the standard(s) in view of a possible discussion during a meeting or a circulation among WG members. The Secretary is then invited to inform the C.O. – within five months – whether the document is planned to be included into the programme of work or has no interest to the committee.

 

In the case where the committee decides to undertake a development based on the document, various ways are possible :

  • NP;
  • fast-track procedure (CDV);
  • incorporation into a maintenance work.

CENELEC is informed of all the standards which have no interest to the IEC.

 

The standards originated by CENELEC and used by the IEC bear the indication « CENELEC ORIGIN » when submitted to vote (CDV or FDIS). This prevents the project from being submitted to the parallel vote (boomerang effect).

 

TCs/SCs are strongly recommended to take carefully the standards offered by CENELEC into consideration. Adopting those standards or incorporating amendments into the IEC standards, whenever applicable, indeed upgrades their value and saves a lot of development time.

TC/SC Officers’ workshop - Stockholm, September 2000March

The above workshop was attended by approximately half of all the IEC TC/SC officers. The results and recommendations arising from the Stockholm TC/SC Officers’ workshop are summarized in AC(2001)/7 which constitutes an initial report.

 

It was a unique opportunity for IEC management to listen to the remarks and suggestions made by those who carry out the IEC work.

 

One of the clear messages that stands out is the need perceived by many of the participants for targeted information. The IEC will be organizing during the course of 2001, in a number of locations, a series of seminars which answer the issues raised during the workshop.

 

Several of the issues raised will require discussion by the Committee of Action or by other IEC management committees. A document will be prepared with a series of recommendations for discussion by the Committee of Action or other management committees, as appropriate.

 

We have the intention sometime this year of using electronic discussion fora to permit discussion by a broad number of people of certain issues. Keep your eyes on the IEC web site.

SC 45A questionnaire applies to all of IECFebruary

We believe that the result of this survey, conducted among the experts of TC 45 , is of interest to all IEC TCs and SCs.

 

Ernesto Corte

Ernesto Corte, chairman of SC45A (Reactor instrumentation) produced a series of questions that are seen as being of particular value to IEC TCs and SCs. Corte drew up his questions in response to a request by Richard Schomberg, chairman of TC45 (Nuclear instrumentation), who was seeking suggestions and advice on issues related to preparing standards for the nuclear industry.

 

The questions prepared by Corte helped SC45A to evaluate its situation in terms of developing its strategic policy. The answers provided by the experts are seen by IEC management as being of great relevance to the work in SC45A. The IEC sees this self-examination as particularly useful because it will go a long way to help give greater focus to the efforts of TC45 and its two subcommittees.

 

The various responses that Corte received from those who participate in the work of SC45A were grouped and summarized by SC 45A Secretary Jean-Paul Bouard to provide a single, focused answer.

 

Question
In your opinion, are all the standards we generate in SC45A specific and unique to the nuclear power industry?

Response
SC45A standards are specific for technical or for historical reasons. Even in the past, the nuclear industry appeared to be one of the most advanced industrial sectors in some domains and was seen as a good example to be imitated. Today things are changing.

 

Question
Are there other industry standards that could be adopted for use in the nuclear industry?

Response
There are others that are already used (from the IAEA, ISO, IEEE, and from other IEC TCs). There are more which could be used for some common aspects (newly developed or revised generic standards, for example IEC 61508).

 

Question
Who is funding the development of SC45A standards?

Response
Generally the three main actors of the nuclear industry participate in funding: vendors/suppliers, utilities, and government. However, it appears that experts, working within a shrinking market, are finding it increasingly difficult to find support for their participation in the IEC.

 

Question
How widely are IEC standards for reactor instrumentation used?

Response
IEC standards are widely known as references and are used when it comes to international contracts. At the national level, IEC documents are mainly considered as complementary references, except for some of the really well known ones such as IEC 60880, IEC 61226, and so on.

 

Question
In the working groups of SC45A, is there a good cross section of the nuclear power industry? That is, are utilities, vendors and so forth adequately represented?

Response
It differs from one country to another, and the differences can be quite large, but considering the subcommittee as a whole, all major actors are represented. It goes almost without saying that the ones who are making money in the instrumentation and control systems field are sometimes over-represented (vendors, consultants, etc.). But all agree there is a need to bring greater numbers of young experts into IEC work.

 

Question
How would you recommend that we expand this representation and increase the number of experts in SC45A?

Response
Proposals to launch an information campaign have to be considered and carrying out such a campaign would involve careful targeting. Nevertheless, it’s clear today that the market drives standardization. Experts from the nuclear industry will be involved to the degree that the market accepts and recognizes SC45A standards, and their presence on SC45A working groups will be directly related to the volume of business that goes on in this domain.

 

Question
What major challenges face SC45A in the next several years?

Response

Our ability:

  • to survive during the coming years in a shrinking market with fewer experts because of diminished funding, and with a reduced amount of expertise because of retirement due to ageing;
  • to focus efficiently on core activities;
  • to adopt generic products/components or safety methods and to develop good alliances;
  • to build a consensus to use in safety systems, in a cost efficient manner, commercial off-the-shelf products such as software or hardware.

Question
How can we best meet those challenges?

Response

We should:

  • in technical terms, focus on the core technologies;
  • in geographical terms, focus on the needs of those who are building nuclear installations;
  • manage our resources with the greatest care;
  • undertake publicity campaigns;
  • remain very aware of changes within our industry and adapt our activities accordingly.