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CISPR limits, special procedures and watermarked collection December

CISPR limits, special procedures and watermarked collection

In this month’s edition, we continue our report of some of the Standardization Management Board’s most recent decisions taken in October 2004 during the IEC 68 TH General Meeting, in Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Development of limits by CISPR and IEC product committees
Taking into consideration the Australian NC’s request for clearer guidelines for the joint development of limits by the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) and IEC product committees, the SMB reminded TCs and SCs developing standards with electromagnetic compatibility requirements that they should seek the assistance and consent of TC 77 (Electromagnetic compatibility) and CISPR for any change in the emission limit and/or measurement requirements as specified in Guide 107 (Electromagnetic compatibility – Guide to the drafting of electromagnetic compatibility publications).
As a result the SMB decided not to make Guide 107 a standard. It did agree to reinforce its use and to monitor closely the situation so that more concrete measures can be considered if need be.


TC 100 Special Procedures
The SMB decided that TC 100’s special procedures could not be included in the ISO/IEC Directives. The SMB also noted that the essence of TC 100’s procedures could be considered for inclusion in the Directives and has thus asked the Directives Maintenance Team (DMT) and SMB ad hoc Group 17 to examine this possibility.


Withdrawal of the term “Principal” standards
At its meeting in Geneva in June 2004, the SMB had agreed with the IEC community that the term “principal” standards was misleading and decided to withdraw the term “principal” standard.


Watermarked collection available to TC/SC officers
In Seoul, the IEC Council Board (CB) approved the SMB’s recommendation to make all IEC publications listed in the ISO/IEC Directives available to TC/SC officers from the watermarked collection of IEC publications.


The following decisions will be further described in the next edition of TC News :

  • SMB/121/08 (Horizontal and basic standards as well as JTC 1 Directives);
  • SMB/121/18 (on CENELEC BT’s approval of proposals concerning the handling of new work item).

The SMB’s full decision list is available at SMB/2924/DL.

New IEC/ISO Directives December

New ISO/IEC Directives

Published in November 2004, an updated version of the ISO/IEC Directives is now available on the IEC web site.


The Directives, which are jointly developed by IEC and ISO’s Directive Maintenance Teams, describe in great detail the entire standards development process and are mainly intended for all those involved in this process, such as experts on national committees, technical committees and subcommittees, project teams, working groups and maintenance teams.


Though this new version of the ISO/IEC Directives does not contain major changes from the previous edition, it includes updates based on decisions taken by the Standardization Management Board and ISO’s Technical Management Board.


You can access the new ISO/IEC Directives.


For more information regarding the ISO/IEC Directives, please contact the technical officer responsible for your committee.

SMB welcomes creation of new technical committeeNovember

SMB welcomes creation of new IEC technical committee

The Standardization Management Board (SMB) held its most recent meeting during the IEC 68th General Meeting which took place in October 2004 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The following is a summary of two of the SMB’s main actions taken during its day-long session in Seoul.

With environmental issues being an increasingly major concern around the world for many industries, the SMB approved the establishment of a new technical committee, namely TC 111, to cover environmental standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems. The secretariat of TC 111 has been allocated to the Italian National Committee, which proposed creating the new TC.

TC 111 is expected to focus its efforts on material declaration, environmental-conscious design and test methods for revealing the presence of dangerous substances while taking as far as possible into account the European Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances such as lead in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS Directive).


The session also enabled the SMB to examine how the IEC can begin to prepare standards for nanotechnologies, which are developing rapidly. To keep abreast of technological innovation in this area, the IEC plans to invite an expert to the next SMB meeting in February 2005 to make a presentation on the status of this technology and for possible future standardization work that would support this industry.


The SMB also noted that IEC TC 71 (Electrical installations for outdoor sites under heavy conditions - Disbanded, Work taken over by TC 44 ) has been in stand-by status for several years and requested IEC Central Office to survey National Committees about their interest in this subject and the use of IEC 60621. The results of the survey are scheduled to be considered by the SMB at its next meeting in February 2005.


Regarding the submission of technical reports to the SMB, t he SMB has requested that Central office informs NCs when TCs/SCs under their responsibility are not submitting their reports in a timely manner, that is within six months after TCs/SCs meetings.


Other SMB decisions worth noting are:

  • SMB/121/08 regarding the IEC Directives Maintenance Team’s four recommendations to SMB;
  • SMB/121/16 regarding the Australian NC’s request for clearer guidelines for the joint development of limits by CISPR and IEC product committees;
  • SMB/121/18 on CENELEC BT’s approval of proposals concerning the handling of new work item.

These decisions will be further described in future editions of TC News.

The SMB’s full decision list is available at SMB/2924/DL.


TC 100's special procedures found highly effective November

TC 100's special procedures found highly effective

Following the positive results of a recent internal evaluation regarding its special working procedures, TC 100 recently asked the Standardization Management Board (SMB) to allow them to become regular practice. The procedures were approved by the SMB on October 8, 2004.


Because of the rapid and constant developments taking place in the field of multimedia and due to the nature of its scope, TC 100 was encouraged some three years ago to propose and follow special working procedures to accelerate its standards development process with the approval and under supervision of the (SMB).


 At the time, it was also decided that if the effectiveness of TC 100’s special working procedures were confirmed, they may be considered for general application and for inclusion in the ISO/IEC Directives.

 According to TC 100, its fast track procedure has proven to be highly efficient. Some of the following advantages have emerged:

  • Shortened standards development period.
  • A smaller number of experts needed (one expert is allowed if there are more than two-thirds vote; this does not apply for project leaders).
  • Special procedure for the circulation of Committee Draft for Vote, Final Draft International Standards and Publications (IS) in English only contributes to reducing the amount of time taken to develop standards.

Regarding the shorter standards development process, TC 100’s evaluation notably also showed that, under its fast track procedure, six standards had been developed during a period of approximately 15,5 months compared to 21 during a time period of about 19 months since the year 2000, while an average of 29 standards had been developed until 1999 over approximately 42 months.

For technical enquiries, please contact IEC Technical Officer Matei Cocimarov.


TC 100 originally consisted of a number of subcommittees that were eventually replaced by several Technical Areas (TAs). At present, these are:

  • TA 1: Terminal for audio, video and data services (Digital receiving equipment)
  • TA 2: Colour measurement and management
  • TA 4: Digital system interfaces and protocols
  • TA 5: Cable networks for television signals, sound signals and interactive services
  • TA 6: Higher data rate storage media, equipment and systems
  • TA 7 (Disbanded -Work taken over by TC 100/TA 6): Moderate data rate storage media, equipment and systems
  • TA 8: Multimedia home server systems


IEC regional office developments October

IEC regional office developments

In the October edition of TC News, we informed you of recent developments occurring in the IEC Regional Centre for North America (IEC-ReCNA). In this edition, we focus on recent developments taking place in the IEC’s other regional centre, IEC-Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (IEC-APRC).


APRC, which is located in Singapore, has been active in a number of regional activities since its creation in 2002 by notably undertaking a largely promotional role. Two years after its opening, the centre is not only growing in size but is also set to take on new technical responsibilities. Two technical committees (TCs) and related subcommittees – TC 47 (Semiconductor devices) and TC 110 (Flat panel display devices) – are to be transferred to IEC-APRC over the coming months and are to be handled by IEC-APRC Officer-in-Charge Dennis Chew.


Jacqueline Ong

In July 2004, Jacqueline Ong joined the APRC as Administrative Assistant.

She obtained her diploma in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the Ngee Ann Polytechnic in Singapore in 1993. Ong then worked for international corporations such as Epson and Matsushita prior to joining SPRING Singapore in 1996 where she was responsible for managing TCs and supporting the national standardization programme. Ong also helped facilitate their participation in the international standardization process.




Dennis Chew

Chew holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) Honours Degree from the University of Aberdeen. Since 1994, he has worked for SPRING Singapore , a national agency whose mission is to sustain Singapore's productivity growth and competitiveness.From 1996 to 2001, Chew was Secretary of the Singapore National Committee of the IEC. Chew was appointed Officer-in-Charge of the IEC-APRC in 2001.


More information.



Database for graphical symbols for diagrams now complete October

Database for graphical symbols for diagrams now complete

In September 2004, the IEC released parts 12 and 13 of its online Graphical symbols for diagrams database (IEC 60617). The database is now complete. Although the paper version of IEC 60617 will no longer be available, advantages of the completed database include the possibility of instantly accessing some 1 750 symbols online. The completed database should also make it easier to use the symbols in computer aided design (CDA) programs.


Technical Committee 3 (Information structures, documentation and graphical symbols) was in charge of the completion of the project under the guidance of TC 3 Secretary Per-Åke Svensson. The final database was approved by TC 3’s validation team.


For technical inquiries, please contact IEC Technical Officer Jack Sheldon.


Sales inquiries can be made to IEC Customer Service.


ReCNA expands and welcomes new staff on board September

ReCNA expands and welcomes new staff on board

Since the beginning of 2004, the IEC Regional Centre for North America (IEC-ReCNA) has seen growth not only in office size, but also in personnel and responsibilities within the IEC.


In late May, IEC-ReCNA Technical Officer in Charge Tim Rotti ─ who is responsible for some nine IEC technical committees and subcommittees ─ and administrative assistant Beth Vautour, moved from their former offices to a more spacious suite of offices located at the same address.* The new space consists of four private offices, a reception area, two conference rooms and a storage room.


Regarding IEC-ReCNA’s new personnel, two more staff members have joined the team. Marlene Maillet was hired last April as administrative assistant and, on August 2nd, Peter Lanctot was hired as new technical officer.


Marlene Maillet

Marlene Maillet holds an Associate degree in applied science and administrative office technology. She has many years experience working as an administrative assistant for several companies in the Unites States, such as Tyson Foods and Eaton Corporation in Sanford , North Carolina .


Apart from working closely with Lanctot, Maillet’s responsibilities at ReCNA include providing support to the secretaries of the technical committees and subcommittees that are assigned to the regional office. She also ensures that documents are processed correctly and in a timely manner. Maillet made a visit to the IEC central office in June for training.




After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and a Masters degree in Business Administration, Lanctot worked for many years as quality control engineer and project manager, most recently in the field of fibre optic display systems.


Following a period of transition, he will be responsible for handling the day-to-day issues of a number of technical committees (TCs) that are to be officially assigned to him towards the end of 2004.

IEC-ReCNA’s main role is to provide additional support to TCs, principally those with secretariats in North America.


The North American centre acts as an extension of the normal operations of the Central Office in Geneva . It operates under its direction, independently from the US National Committee.


*Located in Boxborough, Massachusetts (40km west of Boston ), ReCNA processes all documents for the committees for which it is responsible. Some of the centre’s activities include receiving and processing working documents for distribution to the National Committees and preparing documents at the Committee Draft for Vote and Final Draft International Standards stages and managing the database entries in the IEC’s project management system.

Dresden agreement- simplification of proceedings September

Dresden agreement-simplification of proceedings

To ensure that the provisions of the Dresden Agreement relating to new standardization work are applied in a smooth and efficient way, representatives of IEC and CENELEC took part in a joint meeting on 9 July 2004, in Brussels.


Held at CENELEC, the meeting brought together five participants, most of them from CENELEC central secretariat. Technical Director Raymond Cordelier represented the IEC.


The meeting provided the two organizations with an opportunity to develop several joint proposals for the practical handling of the Dresden Agreement’s provisions that mainly concern the new work proposal process and the submission process of European standards to IEC as a fast track procedure.


The new proposals are to be considered primarily by the CENELEC Bureau Technique in September. If approved, these are to also be considered by the IEC’s Standardization Management Board in October. The proposals should be effective by the end of 2004.


Note: Ratified in 1996, the Dresden Agreement is the co-operation agreement between the IEC and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC). The agreement relates to common planning of new work and parallel IEC/CENELEC voting. The main goal of the agreement is to avoid duplication of efforts, accelerate the standards development process and ensure the best use of resources available.


For more information, please contact IEC Technical Director Raymond Cordelier.


Seoul to see EMC workshopAugust

Seoul to see EMC workshop

Continuing its series of workshops and conferences on electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) around the world, the Advisory Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility (ACEC) is organizing an EMC workshop which is scheduled to take place on 18 October 2004 during the 68th IEC General Meeting in Seoul , Republic of Korea.


Intended primarily for IEC delegates from product committees, the workshop aims to let experts know what EMC resources are available to them when developing product (EMC) standards and to help them perform their work in an efficient manner. To that end, the Guide 107 and other resources that offer guidance for drafting electromagnetic compatibility publications will be emphasized.


Speakers are to include William A. Radasky, of Metatech Corporation, who is chairman of ACEC and of Subcommittee 77C (High power transient phenomena), IEC Technical Director Raymond Cordelier and IEC Technical Officer Rémy Baillif. The workshop’s organizers have also scheduled substantial time for questions from the audience.


In June 2004, ACEC also helped organize two electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) workshops in Japan and Malaysia . The goal of these workshops was to provide local electronic industry with information on EMC standardization work in the IEC (please see article in the August edition of e-tech).


To register for the workshop in Seoul , or for any other information regarding this event, please contact William Radasky.


For National Committees and industrial organizations interested in scheduling an EMC workshop or conference, please contact ACEC Secretary Rémy Baillif.

1906 Award July

87 experts nominated for first IEC 1906 Award

A total of 87 experts from 26 different technical committees (TCs) and subcommittees (SCs) have been nominated to receive the new 1906 Award, which recognizes exceptional and recent achievement ─ a project or other specific contribution ─ related to the activities of the IEC and which contributes in a significant way to advancing the work of the Commission.


For this first edition, TC chairmen were invited to send their lists of best candidates for the prize by the end of March 2004. Nominees were chosen by TC officers who could also take into account advice from subcommittees officers (SCs). TC officers could nominate up to five experts per TC, including project leaders and working group convenors. Each year, a maximum of five awards will be granted per TC, including its SCs.


Recipients of the award will receive a special pin as well as a certificate signed by the IEC General Secretary and the SMB Chairman. Awards will be presented by the relevant National Committee president at an appropriate occasion at the national level.


Though the second call for nominations will only open at the beginning of 2005, TC officers are encouraged to start thinking of who they would like to nominate for this distinctive award.

Created in 2004, this award was established in commemoration of the IEC’s year of foundation and honours IEC technical experts around the world whose work is fundamental to the IEC.


For more information on the 1906 Award, please contact Gisèle Pomel, Assistant to the IEC Technical Director.

SMB decisions July

SMB decisions

The recent Standardization Management Board's (SMB) meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 16 to 17 June 2004, led to a number of decisions of particular concern to technical committees and subcommittees. The following is a summary of the main actions taken during the meeting.


List of principal standards
The SMB has chosen not to create a new category of standards called "principal" standards. During its previous meeting in Florida in February 2004, the SMB had agreed to circulate a list of "principal standards" as proposed by the Directive Maintenance Team (DMT) for National Committees (NCs) to comment on. However, three NCs were not in favour of the term "principal standards" and found the list too long. For example, one member did not agree for IEC 61360 to be included in this list. Other requests for additions to the list had also been made.


According to the SMB, the term "principal" appeared to be adding confusion and was misleading for the IEC community. But due to the many implications that could arise from removing the term "principal", it was suggested to ask the IEC DMT to propose measures on how to deal with this issue.

The SMB also strongly recommended that the IEC standards listed in the ISO/IEC Directives be made available free of charge to TC/SC officers. This request will be submitted to IEC Council Board for consideration.


Global relevance of IEC standards
The SMB decided to set up an ad hoc group (No. 18) whose task will be to review the comments submitted by Subcommittee 23H (Industrial plugs and socket -outlets) on a first Essential Differences of Requirements (EDR) in IEC standards (document 23H/156/INF).


These comments pertain to comments from P-members of SC 23H submitted to SC 23H for the acceptance of an EDR. IEC Technical Director Raymond Cordelier suggested that, as it was the first proposal for an EDR in the IEC, it would be appropriate to establish a small group from the active SMB members of the former Global Relevance Task Force. This ad hoc group will be determining whether or not the comments in (document 23H/156/INF) are in line with AC/70/2003, and possibly also offer guidance to SC 23H on how to deal with these comments.


This group is scheduled to report to the SMB in October, during the 68th IEC General Meeting in Seoul , Republic of Korea.


Environmental aspects for product TCs
The SMB reminded all TCs that, in accordance with Guide 109, their work should automatically include environmental aspects for the subject(s) within their scope.

New field of activity

In accordance with item 1.5 of the ISO/IECE Directives, the proposal for a new technical committee on Environmental standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems, with a proposed title and scope, will be circulated to IEC NCs during a three month vote period.


Interpretation of standards
The SMB approved the recommendation from the joint SMB and Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) task force regarding the interpretation of standards given in document SMB/2846/R with slight changes. The SMB also agreed with CAB to apply the proposal for a trial period of two years. The procedure should be implemented and monitored by Central Office.


Loss of expertise in IEC work
It was also seen that National Committees could look at the problem of critical loss of expertise and participation from utilities in IEC work. The SMB suggested this issue could possibly be addressed by IEC Management.


IEC and ISO common database June

ISO joins IEC graphical symbols database

With its Graphical Symbols for Use on Equipment online database (IEC 60417) available since October 2002, the IEC has invited ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, to participate in offering even greater service to industry. The new IEC/ISO database on Graphical Symbols for Use on Equipment combines with ISO 7000 and provides a one-stop shop for all graphical symbols used on equipment, covering both IEC and ISO fields of activities.


It is primarily intended for end-users in industry who need to know what a symbol looks like and may need to make it part of a product. This also includes IEC and ISO standards developers, particularly any product technical committee needing to incorporate a graphical symbol into a product standard. But it has also been developed as IEC 60417 a tool for those who create or maintain the graphical symbols. For example, IEC Subcommittee 3C (Graphical symbols for use on equipment) uses the database as a working environment for developing new symbols.


Customers can search online across the combined IEC and ISO collections containing at present some 3 500 items. Users can also download the graphical symbols in vectorized PDF format for use in computerized systems. What's more, and now for the first time, people who are interested in ISO graphical symbols may search for them in an online database and download them.


The IEC created and made available its first online database, Graphical Symbols for Diagrams (IEC 60617), available in June 2001, followed by IEC 60417 in October 2002. It is with the latter that ISO's graphical symbols have been combined.


Access to the database is by subscription, which is sold by the IEC, by ISO and by members and sales outlets. The offer comes in three versions: IEC-only, ISO-only, and the joint IEC/ISO collection.

For more information please contact the IEC Customer Service Centre.


TC 65 renaissance June

TC 65 renaissance

The great effort to standardize the so-called "fieldbus for digital data communications for use in industrial control systems or industrial automation" has been described by some as "one of the most delicate episodes in international standardization." In the end, the various parties involved opted for compromise and cooperation, and agreed to standardize several automation protocols under the generic name "fieldbus".


Subcommittee 65C (Digital communications) is notably responsible for the IEC 61158 series and its accompanying IEC 61784-1. Today, the SC is undergoing what may be called a renaissance. Since publication of the IEC 61158 series in 2003, SC 65C has undertaken several steps to reorganize.

The SC has proposed three new work items to complete the existing standard in response to the evolution in market needs during the past 15 years. SC 65C's proposal to focus on four areas - real-time Ethernet, functional safety for communications, cyber security and Ethernet industrial cabling- produced a very favourable response:


"As Secretary, I had never seen so much enthusiasm," said TC 65 and SC 65C Secretary Bernard Dumortier. "There were nominations of experts from at least 10 National Committees. As a result, we decided to reorganize SC 65C by creating four new working groups, one of which is related to SC 25 of ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (Information technology). We also created a new technical coordination position."



The first meeting following reorganization was held in Pauillac, France , in January 2004 and brought together more than 45 international experts. A second meeting recently took place in Beijing . Other meetings are scheduled to take place this year in Copenhagen , and Houston as well as in Catania ( Italy ) and Ottawa in 2005.


Also, SC 65C has been designated to carry out a pilot project with TC 86 (Fibre optics) to develop tools for online collaboration.


IEC glossary May

IEC glossary

While it might at first glance seem that definitions for technology are fairly straightforward and uniform, a second look may actually reveal far more nuance than you might initially guess. Most IEC publications contain definitions for the key concepts in a particular area, and various technical committees (TCs) can sometimes give different meanings for the same term.


The IEC glossary, which is available free of charge and without the need for a password, is a new online tool primarily for the IEC community of experts. It was created to make the standards development process more efficient, although academic institutions, industry and anyone else with an interest may also find it useful. The IEC glossary allows people to compare definitions given by different TCs for the key concepts used within IEC standards. The IEC glossary is available at:


The inspiration behind the glossary was the desire to capture emerging language by extracting terms and definitions from IEC publications and putting them into a single database. To that end, definitions from all IEC publications published in 2003 were compiled by the IEC Central Office and work on doing the same for standards published in 2002 has begun. As new standards are being issued, their terms and definitions also become part of the glossary. At present, it contains about 10 000 items drawn from about 500 IEC publications. This often represents emerging terminology or older concepts that are being redefined.


The glossary’s terms and definitions are in English and French (where available). The glossary complements the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (IEV) published by IEC TC 1 (Terminology). Whereas the glossary defines concepts used within a particular publication, the IEV is of a more general and authoritative nature and is the source for standardized IEC terminology. The IEV also gives equivalent terms in up to 11 different languages. Together, the IEV and the glossary provide a good basis for understanding the meaning of electrotechnical terms.


Best practices forumMay

Best practices forum

Would you like to share your work experiences and best practices with other TC/SC officers online but don't know go where to go?


If so, you may want to visit the best practices forum that was created just for you following a proposal made during the TC/SC officers' workshop held in Montreal in October 2003. This project was created by using the IEC's discussion forums.


The best practices forum is an area where you can discuss ideas and issues informally. On this matter, a list of some of the issues raised during the workshop in Montreal is available on the forum as a way to initiate discussion. Posting messages and creating new discussion topics is restricted to TC/SC officers but reading the content of this forum is open and no password is required.

SMB most recent decisions May

SMB opts for new ad-hoc study groups and may create new TC

The most recent meeting of the Standardization Management Board (SMB), held in Florida , USA , from 18 to 19 February 2004 , led to a number of decisions of particular concern to technical committees and subcommittees. The following is a summary of some of the main actions taken during the meeting.


After some remarks on how to improve the work of TC 1 particularly regarding guidance for vocabulary, the SMB decided to set up an ad-hoc group to look into the working procedures of the semantic technical committees 1, 3 and 25 with the aim of improving them. It also agreed to the request from the Directives Maintenance Team (DMT) that Administrative Circulars announcing decisions of the SMB should make reference to the relevant clause/sub-clause of the ISO/IEC Directives. A new edition of these directives should be available during the second or third quarter of 2004.


Addressing proposals of TC and SC officers
The SMB also addressed three issues of concern for TC and SC officers that originated from the TC and SC workshop held during the 67th IEC General Meeting in Montreal in October 2003.


1) Flexibility in time for standards development stages:

The SMB agreed to create an ad-hoc group to study the whole standards development process from its initial phase to publication with the aim of improving it. This ad-hoc group is scheduled to meet in Geneva in June 2004.


2) Reconsideration of inactive P-members:
According to the SMB, this is a complex subject that requires further study. Because of the potential confusion that introducing a new class of participation would create, the SMB decided that it would not be judicious to restrict voting rights of P-members at present. However, the ad-hoc group mentioned above has been requested also to re-consider the procedure regarding membership status of the National Committees.


3) Commenting directly on SMB documents:
The SMB did not agree to allow TC and SC officers to comment directly on SMB documents. It felt that as the majority of its documents are available to all IEC National Committees on the IEC document server, NCs should be encouraged to give TC and SC officers under their responsibility access to the IEC general document.


Creation of a new technical committee
The proposal of the Italian National Committee to create a new technical committee on environmental standardization for electric and electronic products was met with much enthusiasm. The SMB will decide at its next meeting in June 2004 whether or not to create this new TC.


The full Summary Report of the SMB meeting is available as SMB/2800/RM.


New news for IEC experts April

New news for IEC experts

Welcome (or welcome back) to IEC TC News. It is an online publication principally for those who contribute directly to the standards development work of the Commission, although anyone with an interest in IEC International Standards and the IEC’s standards-making process is welcome to subscribe.


TC News is now to be published on or about the 15th of every month and, for the most part, articles will explain, in an informative way, those decisions by the IEC’s Standardization Management Board that affect the experts who do the hands-on work of preparing our standards. Because IEC experts come from all fields of electrotechnology and from all corners of the world, TC News is truly a publication with a global reach and a global audience.


From time to time, other articles that we think are of interest may also appear. This month’s edition carries two of these: one explains specification systems and the other – of direct interest to IEC technical committee and subcommittee chairmen – covers the IEC’s Lord Kelvin Award and who is allowed to nominate candidates, including TC and SC chairmen.


I sincerely hope you enjoy TC News and that it fulfils a need in delivering directly to you, in an easy-to-read manner, information that is directly relevant to you as an IEC expert. Subscribing is easy (simply click here and follow the instructions). Every month subscribers will receive an email notice telling them of the most recent edition of TC News. If you know of anyone else whom you think might enjoy receiving TC News, please feel free to forward to them the following hyperlink:

Raymond Cordelier
IEC Technical Director


Lord Kelvin Award April

Nominate your ideal candidate for the Lord Kelvin Award

Did you know that since 2002 a new rule in the nomination process for the Lord Kelvin Award enables all chairmen of technical committees and subcommittees to join all National Committees in nominating candidates for this prestigious award?


Created in 1995, the Lord Kelvin Award has established itself as a landmark within the electrotechnical community . It is named after the famous British scientist and engineer who played a vital role in the founding of the Commission in 1906 and became its first president. The award marks exceptional contributions by individuals to IEC work. A maximum of three awards may be granted each year for qualities such as leadership, remarkable contribution to the growth, development and promotion of IEC systems and standards, and outstanding services rendered to the IEC over a long period of time (at least five years)."


A few practical guidelines:

  • Candidates nominated by National Committees do not necessarily have to be of the same nationality as the proposing NC;
  • Only candidates active in IEC work over the past twelve months (12 March 2003 to 12 March 2004) are eligible;
  • Nominations must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae.

You are invited to submit names and qualifications of anyone you wish to nominate by sending an e-mail to the Council Secretariat, Mrs. T. Perret by 07 May 2004.

The winner(s) will be announced at the Council meeting during the 68th IEC General Meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea.


For those who have password access, the rules concerning eligibility for nominees may be found in this year's Administrative Circular AC/10/2004 (to access it online, click here).


Specification systemsApril

Specification systems - A constructive sub-categorization

Professional standardizers may often have to provide for a multitude of electronic components and one of their goals of their endeavour is to make quality assessment comparable. To achieve this, testing criteria have to be standardized and the different standards have to be organized in a hierarchical system. Within a family of products most specifications will pertain to all the different products, however, each element will also have its particular specificities and requirements.


In the same way as these products are related, the IEC experts and standardizers have created a series of interrelated documents whose content will help in making the technical comparison of electronic components for determining their performance against specified requirements and thus permit a quality assessment.


In a quality assessment system a certain number of documents are necessary so that products may be approved. Technical committees concerned with electronic components are responsible for examining the extent to which it is economically possible and desirable to develop the required documents for quality assessment of components. That is, they decide whether their work should be restricted to terminology, test and measurement methods, or to preferred values or to both, or whether to include test schedules and inspection requirements and, if so, to what extent.


IEC Technical Committee 40 (Capacitors and resistors for electronic equipment) is an intensive user of specification systems. The IEC 60384 series of publications covering fixed capacitors for use in electronic equipment is a remarkable example to present the interdependence of this standards family, which consists of four categories: generic, sectional, blank detail and detail specifications.


Generic specification
Generally specifies terminology and methods of measurement and tests. Applies to all the components of a family. Example: publication IEC 60384-1: Fixed capacitors for use in electronic equipment - Part 1: Generic specification, establishes standard terms, inspection procedures and methods of test for quality assessment or any other purpose.


Sectional specification
Gives test schedules applicable to a sub-family of products. It is not always necessary to create sub-groups. Example: publication IEC 60384-20: Fixed capacitors for use in electronic equipment - Part 20: Sectional specification - Fixed metallized polyphenylene sulfide film dielectric chip d.c. capacitors describes preferred ratings and characteristics and relates to the generic specification.


Blank detail specification
Blank detail specifications may be provided to make preparing detail specifications easier. They let users know what information must be stated in the detail specification. Example: publication IEC 60384-20-1: Fixed capacitors for use in electronic equipment - Part 20-1: Blank detail specification - Fixed metallized polyphenylene sulfide film dielectric chip d.c. capacitors - Assessment level EZ is a supplementary document to the Sectional Specification. It contains requirements for style, layout and minimum content of detail specifications.


Detail specifications
Detail specifications are generally more self-contained than the specifications described above. They provide all necessary information directly or by reference to other documents. Example: publication IEC 60393-2-101: Potentiometers for use in electronic equipment - Part 2: Detail specification: Lead-screw actuated preset potentiometers - Stability class 5 % - Assessment level E.


This method of sub-categorization is used by standardizers of various components of electronic equipment and proves to be a powerful tool.


Depending on the technical committee (or subcommittee), the purposes can vary. Some technical committees may wish to prepare detail specifications while others may wish to limit themselves to blank detail specifications.


The advantage for the end user is the clear criteria of testing given by these International Standards help to choose the most appropriate product.


The information outlined here is purely descriptive and refers to work being done at present. The indications given above have no value of a rule of standardization. It is designed to help customers to understand the structure of this type of publication. For a general introduction to types of IEC publications please refer to


For more detail, refer to IEC Guide 102 (1996), Electronic components - Specification structures for quality assessment (Qualification approval and capability approval).