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New ad hoc group to review TCs' structure efficiency and "In some-country" clauses request accepted December

This month, we continue our report on decisions taken by the Standardization Management Board during the IEC’s 69th General Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, last October.


New ad hoc group to review TCs' structure efficiency

To address evolving market needs better and due to earlier observations particularly from the Swedish National Committee, the SMB agreed to establish a new ad hoc group that is to review the structure of all IEC technical committees and subcommittees.


The reason for creating such a group is mainly due to industry’s changes over the years, which appear to not be reflected enough in the IEC’s current technical structure.


It is expected that IEC’s system approach* can make it easier for the new ad hoc group to make IEC TC/SCs’ structural assessment that should lead to changes to improve IEC’s work organization as well as enable the SMB to manage committees more efficiently.


For TCs, incorporating this approach in their work should enable good and coherent cooperation between product TCs and systems TCs, also by taking into account the scope and the responsibilities of each type of TC.


*The increasing importance to include system aspects in IEC standardization reflects today’s constantly evolving market. To keep pace with such developments, IEC’s system approach – which was developed by the SMB – aims to help product and systems TCs to cooperate better with each other, notably by taking into account the scope and responsibilities of each type of TC. (More information on IEC’s system approach is available in AC/7/2004 on the IEC website).


“In some-country” clauses special request accepted

The SMB recently agreed (by correspondence) to a TC’s request for a derogation to put into an informative annex its “in-some-country” clauses related to differing practices of a less permanent nature, instead of in its publications’ foreword. A note referencing the annex should be mentioned in the foreword of standards.


It was also agreed that this derogation be extended to other TCs provided the national committee concerned has no objection.


Although the TC’s request was granted, SMB members stressed that derogations for individual TCs should not be encouraged.


Note: Other decisions will be further described in future editions of TC News.

Highlights of IEC's 69th General Meeting November

Highlights of IEC's 69th General Meeting


As you all know, IEC's 69th General Meeting took place from 17-22 October 2005 in Cape Town, South Africa. This year's annual gathering brought together some 1 400 delegates.


Highlights include:


  • IEC General Secretary Aharon Amit's comments regarding the average development time for IEC standards which has shortened further, to 36 months, calling it a “real achievement” by the entire IEC community.
  • Olivier Gourlay elected as new IEC treasurer.
  • National committee secretaries' workshop to address long-term strategic questions of importance for the IEC.
  • A conference for IEC's Affiliate Country Programme participants.

Please click here for the full report in IEC e-tech.

Shorter deadline for late projects and ACET disbandedNovember

SMB decisions

Shorter deadline for late projects
Following its meeting during IEC's 69th General Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, the SMB decided that TCs' projects are now going to have to move along more quickly. As first announced after its meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, last June, the amount of permitted delay is now four months instead of six months.


This also means that any TC with a project that is more than four months behind schedule will have to justify the delay before the SMB or risk having the project stopped by the SMB.


ACET disbanded
The SMB disbanded the IEC’s Advisory Committee on Electronics and Telecommunications because it did not receive any proposals on tasks to give to ACET.

Note: Other decisions will be further described in future editions of TC News.

Growing interest for real-time ethernet in Japan October

Growing interest for Real-Time Ethernet in Japan

The importance of real-time systems is growing particularly in the industrial automation industry where electronics and digital communications are increasingly used for various machinery applications and for the exchange of data between production machinery divisions. Following the advent in 2000 of IEC’s crucial 61158 fieldbus standard for digital data communications for use in industrial control systems or industrial automation*, and to address new market needs better, SC65C (Digital communications) had decided with its working groups (WG), to focus on four new areas to complete the existing main standard. One of these is Real-Time Ethernet (RTE) technology.


SC65C and WG 11 (Real-Time Ethernet) discussed latest RTE developments with people from Japanese industry and academia during its most recent meeting, which took place in Okinawa, Japan, in June 2005.


Experts discussed the following as added values to RTE:

  • WG11’s new proposals regarding performance indicators** to express delivery times of data, so that in the designing stage application users can compute and/or check if requirements are met; and
  • A new conformance test approach for conformity statements.

RTE, or communications networks, are particularly used in process control and manufacturing industries, such as for fixed commands, control systems to image processing and monitoring systems.

For users, RTE benefits include its reasonably cheap cost, high availability and its easy integration with the Internet. This technology also enables extending fieldbus protocols in global industrial automation. In addition, some experts predict that in the future Ethernet is likely to be the universal bus system in industrial automation that should lead to the next generation of machine development.


SC65C and WG11 experts also attended the “Tokyo RTE forum”, which was hosted by the Japan Electric Measuring Instruments Manufacturers’ Association and which is also the Japanese National Committee of the IEC. The event brought together some 100 participants mostly representatives of the Japanese industrial automation industry, academia as well as end users and device providers. Among the various presentations, the keynote speech of Kazuyoshi Seto, who is director of Japan ’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, focused on Japan ’s international standardization strategy while Akira Kobayashi, chairman of TC65’s mirror committee, spoke about recent RTE developments in Japan.


In addition to TC65 Secretary Bernard Dumortier and WG11 convenor Ludwig Winkel’s presentations on WG11’s activities, nine presentations were delivered by several organizations developing fieldbus protocols: Modbus-RTP, EtherCAT, ETHERNET Powerlink, SERCOS Ⅲ , PROFINET IO, EtherNet/IP, EPA, TCnet and Vnet/IP.


The forum provided an opportunity for both representatives of the Japanese industrial automation industry and IEC RTE experts to discuss current and future market needs***.


* Fieldbus is a generic term for digital data communications networks used in industrial automation and process control that has replaced older systems using analogue signal and requiring centralized control.


**Performance indicators: users of an RTE network have various requirements for different applications, which are known as PIs.


*** Currently, WG11 is refining RTE requirements to define profiles and related network components based on international standards such as IEC 61784-1 and ISO/IEC 8802-3. These are to be referenced to other existing standards. Two IEC draft documents should be ready in the fall of 2005 and a new International Standard in 2007. The main goal of the current revision of IEC 61158 and IEC 61784 is to take into account the needs of the global industrial automation markets regarding RTE.

Singapore becomes participating member of TC 9 October

Singapore becomes participating member of TC 9

Copenhagen, Denmark

In light of the current expansion of Singapore ’s mass rapid transit systems, which was first introduced in 1987, the Singapore National Committee of the IEC recently moved from being an observer member in IEC Technical Committee 9 (Electrical equipment and systems for railways) to a participating member status.


The country has three major railway lines, including a fully automated driverless heavy metro system operating since 2003. The country is also running three light rapid transit systems to serve the housing estate and is constructing a new 33km-long metro line.


With such developments, the NC decided to modify its status in TC 9, as this would offer at least three essential benefits:

  • participate more actively in formulating standards prepared by TC 9;
  • have its needs better taken into account by industry;
  • benefit from IEC work on railway interoperability and driverless systems’ safety requirements.

Three experts have been nominated to contribute to the work of TC 9: Leong Kwok Weng and Chan Wai Samuel for WG 39 (Railway applications - Automatic urban guideway transit) and Weng and Tan Yih Long for WG 40 (Railway applications - Urban guided transport management and command/control systems).


Apart from TC 9, the Singapore NC is a participating member of:

  • SC 17D (Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies)
  • SC 23B (Plugs, socket-outlets and switches)
  • TC 35 (Primary cells and batteries)
  • TC 108 (Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communication technology).

The Singapore NC joined the IEC in 1990.


TC 9’s next plenary meeting is scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan, in November 2005.

1906 Award sees more nominees September

Second edition of 1906 Award sees more nominees

1906 Award

For its second edition, 118 experts from 35 different technical committees (TCs) and subcommittees (SCs) and 19 National Committees were nominated to receive IEC's 1906 Award. Last year’s nominations had totalled 87.


Created in 2004, the IEC 1906 Award commemorates the IEC’s year of foundation and honours IEC technical experts around the world whose work is fundamental to the IEC. The IEC 1906 award also 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.


Just as for the first edition of the award, TC officers were invited to send their lists of best candidates by the end of March 2005. Nominees were chosen by TC officers who could also take into account advice from subcommittees officers (SCs). Up to five experts per TC, including project leaders and working group convenors may be nominated. Each year, a maximum of five awards will be granted per TC, including its SCs.


The call for next year's nominations should open at the beginning of 2006 and TC officers are encouraged to start thinking about who they would like to nominate for this distinctive award.


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

ISO/IEC/ITU-T to keep close eye on emerging medical technologies September

ISO/IEC/ITU-T to keep close eye on emerging medical technologies

One of the main outcomes of the WSC high-level workshop on “International Standards for Medical Technologies”, which was hosted by the World Health Organization in February 2004, is the recent creation of an ISO/IEC/ITU-T Healthcare Technology Task force (HTTF).


With the increasing complexity of medical equipment and systems, the three standards organizations see the need to co-ordinate their efforts in this field notably to better harmonize standards development in the medical technology sector, promote the use of existing standards and avoid duplication of work. The February 2004 Workshop had also provided an opportunity to discuss how present and future challenges could be addressed to meet market and society’s needs.


Norbert Bischof, from Siemens AG Medical Solutions (Germany) and who is Secretary of IEC Technical Committee 62 (Electrical equipment in medical practice), was appointed Secretary of the task force, and Donald Marlowe, Standards Administrator from the US Food and Drug Administration, its Chairman.


The HTTF’s main responsibilities include the application of results that originated at the International Standards for Medical Technologies Workshop, making appropriate recommendations on emerging medical technologies and market trends and developing a report that should include recommendations on ongoing actions.


Emerging technologies highlighted by the Workshop Group included fundamental safety, performance and other risk management aspects. Participants in the workshop had stressed that such standards should be performance-based and not design-oriented to promote innovation.


Members of the HTTF are representatives from IEC’s Standardization Management Board (SMB), ISO’s Technical Management Board (TMB) and ITU-T as well as one representative from the following partner organizations:

With members coming from all regions of the world, the task force’s work is to be conducted essentially electronically, making particular use of IEC’s collaborative tools.


The task force plans to prepare a draft report with recommendations to be discussed at upcoming meetings of the IEC SMB, ISO/TMB and ITU-T equivalent as well as an international healthcare community public review in 2006.


* The World Standards Cooperation was created in 2002 by the IEC, ISO and the ITU with the aim of presenting a united front on issues common to the three organizations.

SMB establishes temporary advisory body on nanotechnology August

SMB establishes temporary advisory body on nanotechnology

During its meeting in February 2005, the SMB had suggested to the SMB Chairman that a nanotechnology body be created. In June, the SMB agreed to establish a temporary SMB Advisory Body on Nanotechnology (SMB ABN No. 20) until the demand for a more permanent structure has been clarified.


The group is to consist of up to five or six experts in this field with the IEC Central Office providing administrative support and liaison with appropriate TCs and SCs. At present, four National Committees have nominated experts and convenor is appointed from amongst them. ABN 20 is tasked with:

  • coordinating nanotechnology standardization activities in product TC and SCs;
  • providing guidance to the SMB on developments as this technology moves from the scientific investigation phase to its application in the market and development of product standards; and
  • establishing liaison with the International Organization for Standardization’s newly established TC that is to deal with nanotechnology, as well as with other organizations involved in this field.

Regarding the activities of ISO’s recently created nanotechnology TC, the SMB invited ISO to agree that standards developed by those TCs that are likely to affect the electrotechnical industry become dual-logo ISO/IEC standards. The SMB also requested that the development of product standards currently within the scope of IEC TCs and SCs be excluded from ISO’s TC work programmes.

SMB issues strategy document August

SMB issues first strategy document

If you’re still in search of additional and more detailed guidelines about your standardization activities, look no more. The Standardization Management Board (SMB) recently produced its first long-term strategic document – entitled SMB Standardization Strategy, – together with an action plan that will guide standards development until the year 2007.


Concisely written and focused, the 10-page document emphasizes ensuring the global relevance of IEC standards and efficient performance by technical committees in preparing them. It parallels the IEC Masterplan in in structure and draws on it for long-term vision and objectives. The action plan lays down specific goals for TCs, which is where the opportunity to measure things comes into play.


IEC Vice-president Frank Kitzantides – who oversaw the project through to publication in July 2005 – initiated the idea for a strategic document when he took office as SMB Chairman in 2004. The two documents were prepared by an SMB ad hoc group that was formed by a select number of people from IEC members.


The following eight issues and goals are addressed in the two documents:

  • relevance of IEC standards;
  • industry involvement;
  • stakeholder participation;
  • emerging technologies;
  • co-operation with others;
  • other deliverables than standards;
  • systems approach; and
  • efficiency.

According to Kitzantides, the strategic document and its action plan should “now allow us to focus our priorities on the efficient development of IEC quality standards that meet the market needs and promote the facilitation of international trade”.


PDF copies are available free of charge at:

SMB disbands TC 71 and sets faster pace for standardization work July

SMB disbands TC 71 and sets faster pace for standardization work

Following the Standardization Management Board’s (SMB) most recent meeting that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 9 to 10 June 2005, this edition of TC News summarizes important actions taken during the two-day session. These concern the future of TC 71 (Electrical installations for outdoor sites under heavy conditions) and changes regarding project management and the development stages of IEC standards.


TC 71 disbanded
During the IEC General Meeting Seoul in 2004, the SMB had observed that TC 71 had been in a stand-by status for several years. As a result, IEC Central Office was asked to survey National Committees on the interest level in the TC’s field of work and the use of its main publication, IEC 60621(Electrical installations for outdoor sites under heavy conditions (including open-cast mines and quarries - withdrawn in 2009) . With results of the survey later showing that IEC 60621 could be transferred to other TCs, the SMB decided to disband TC 71.


The SMB accepted two proposals to take over TC 71’s projects, coming from TC 44 (Safety of machinery – Electrotechnical aspects) and TC 64 (Electrical installations and protection against electric shock). The two TCs are to decide which parts of IEC 60621 each will be responsible for, and which parts will be common to the two TCs. Two new work item proposals are to be circulated with the respective TCs, each drawing attention to the other with the aim of encouraging participation by the same experts in both projects.


Development stages of standards and project management
Specified in AC/27/2005 and AC/30/2005, the SMB approved 18 recommendations concerning standardization work. The most important ones, to be put into effect immediately, are:

  • Preliminary work items
    In reference to the requirements described in the ISO/IEC Directives (Part 1, section 2.2.1), TC and SC officers are reminded that they can introduce preliminary work items in their work programmes that, for example, deal with emerging technologies and when accepted by a majority vote of their P-members, though these may not yet be mature enough for processing to further stages.
  • Voting time for a second CDV
    Though the requirement for a five-month vote for a first Committee Draft for Vote remains the same, the voting period for a second CDV is to be reduced to a two-month vote period. An extension to up to five months is possible at the request of one or more P-Members of the related TC/SC.
  • Distribution of FDIS
    When at the approval stage, the Final Draft International Standard is to be distributed by IEC Central Office to all National Committees within three months instead of four, for a two-month voting period.
  • Publication stage
    Time required to publish a standard should now be reduced to 1.5 months instead of two months.
  • Project monitoring
    Regarding late projects, the SMB is shortening the permitted time from six months to four months and will monitor late projects each time it meets. The objective is to bring attention to the goal of developing a CDV within 24 months. This recommendation will come into effect at the SMB’s next meeting.
  • CDV availability
    Another important objective for the SMB consists in reducing the time it takes for projects to reach the CDV stage. Instead of the current three and a half years, the aim is to reach the goal of two years as stated in the ISO/IEC Directives.


For projects that are likely to take more than 24 months to reach the CDV stage, the SMB may suggest that the TC or SC pursue other options, such as issuing a Publicly Available Specification. TC and SC officers should also inform the SMB of project plans requiring CDVs to be available for more than 24 months. In such cases and when justified, the SMB will consider flexible measures. This recommendation is to come into effect by the end of 2005.


Projects older than five years
Based on the five-year rule for developing IEC standards, the SMB maintains the option of deciding, on a case by case basis, whether a project remains in the TC/SC work programme based on evidence that progress is imminent. When judged necessary and based on the rationale provided by TC and SC officers, derogation to the five-year rule may be granted for a particular project. This recommendation is to come into effect at the SMB’s next meeting.


The SMB agreed to reduce to two months instead of three months the time national bodies may have to appeal decisions related to approving standards and other deliverables.

The list of all recommendations is available at SMB/3027B/INF

Regional offices take on additional TCsJuly

Regional offices take on additional TCs

Copenhagen, Denmark

IEC’s Technical Department recently underwent several organizational changes with the disbandment of its team structure, which was initiated in 2000, at a time when there were no regional centres.


Today, with a number of editors partially or entirely working on TCs and SCs allocated to technical officers in the two regional centres – IEC Regional Centre for North-America (ReCNA) and IEC Asia-Pacific Regional Centre (APRC) – the new organization of the Geneva team structure is to be based on regional and functional activities.


These changes have also led to some modifications in the allocation of TCs and SCs handled by the two regional offices. TCs handled by IEC’s two regional offices are now as follows:



TCs/SCs handled by Technical Officer Tim Rotti:

  • TC 4 (Hydraulic turbines)
  • TC 5 (Steam turbines)
  • TC 7 (Overhead electrical overheads)
  • TC 11 (Overhead lines)
  • TC 42 (High voltage testing techniques)
  • TC 59 and SCs (Performance of household electrical appliances)
  • TC 61 and SCs (Safety of household and similar electrical appliances)
  • TC 89 (Fire hazard testing)
  • TC 93 (Design automation)
  • TC 108 ( Safety of Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communication technology).


TCs/SCs handled by Technical Officer Peter Lanctot:

  • TC 15 ( Insulating Materials )
  • TC 16 (Basic and safety principles for man-machine interface, marking and identification)
  • TC 31 and SCs (Equipment for explosive atmospheres)
  • TC 32 and SCs (Fuses)
  • TC 33 (Power capacitors)
  • TC 35 (Primary cells and batteries)
  • TC 36 and SCs (Insulators)
  • TC 37 and SCs (Surge arresters)
  • TC 39 (Electronic tubes)
  • TC 55 (Winding wires)
  • TC 56 (Dependability)
  • TC 86 (Fibre optics) and SCs



TC/SCs handled by Technical Officer Dennis Chew:

  • TC 47 and SCS (Semiconductor devices)
  • TC 91 (Electronics assembly technology)
  • TC 110 (Flat panel display devices)

IEC creates TC 112 for insulation June

IEC creates TC 112 for insulation

A new IEC technical committee, TC 112, was recently created following the merging of Subcommittee 15E (Insulating materials - Methods of test) and TC 98 (Electrical insulation systems).


The establishment of this new TC was approved by the Standardization Management Board (SMB) during its meeting in February 2005 in Geneva , Switzerland . Two countries – Germany and the United States – had originally offered to take over the secretariat. It was finally decided in May 2005 by the SMB that the German National Committee would handle the new TC.


Reasons for the merger included the growing concerns from product TCs and SCs involved in the use of electrical insulation materials and systems over the respective roles of SC 15E and TC 98.

SC 15E focused on the development of test methods of electrical properties and thermal endurance of electrical insulation materials (EIMs).


TC 98’s work included creating standardized evaluations of electrical insulation systems (EIS). ¹ These evaluations are then used to develop test methods for EIS conditions and performance, taking into account environmental and safety aspects. The TC was also responsible for developing standards of broad application for what are known as single- and multi-factor ageing tests and methods. In cooperation with, or at the request of product committees, TC 98 could also develop various guidance and functional testing methods according to the needs of a product committee.


Bernd Goettert, formerly SC 15E Secretary and now Secretary of TC 112, says that merging the two committees should create more efficiency and cohesion while avoiding duplication of work, enabling experts to make more effective use of their time.


In addition, the establishment of TC 112 is also in line with the SMB’s “ System Approach in IEC Standardization”, a concept finalized during the SMB’s meeting held in February 2004 in Florida, in the United States. The system approach has become more and more important due to the increasing complexity, convergence and interrelationship of technologies.


The system approach was also developed to enable optimal and coherent cooperation between systems TCs and product TCs while also taking account of each other’s scope and responsibilities.

TC 112 is proposing that its title be “Evaluation and qualification of electrical insulating materials and systems” and that its scope be to prepare International Standards on methods of evaluation and qualification for electrical and electronic insulating materials, and electrical insulation systems. These proposals are to be submitted to P-members for discussions and then final approval is to be sought from the SMB.

Future projects

Copenhagen, Denmark

One of TC 112’s most important projects for the coming years include the combined revision of three standards:IEC 60093 : Methods of test for volume resistivity and surface resistivity of solid electrical insulating materials ; IEC 60167: Methods of test for the determination of the insulation resistance of solid insulating materials ; and IEC 60250: Recommended methods for the determination of the permittivity and dielectric dissipation factor of electrical insulating materials at power, audio and radio frequencies including metre wavelengths. Divided into several parts, the new standard will consolidate all existing standards and describe different measuring techniques.


Other projects include:

  • Developing a new Technical Report (TR) project to replace IEC / TR 61026 : Guidelines for application of analytical test methods for thermal endurance testing of electrical insulating materials, which is to be withdrawn. Titled Analytical test methods for relative thermal endurance testing of electrical insulating materials, the new TR may become Part 7 of the IEC 60216 series.
  • Revising IEC 60426 Test methods for determining electrolytic corrosion with insulating materials.
  • Revising IEC 60587 , which covers test methods for evaluating resistance to tracking and erosion of electrical insulating materials used under severe ambient conditions.
  • Developing an electronic and more user-friendly version of IEC 60505: Evaluation and qualification of electrical insulation systems that is to be designed to as an educational tool for users when estimating what is known as the ageing or prevailing degradation mechanisms of electrical insulation systems.

According to Goettert, though it is very difficult to have all the data for the global market in electrical insulation materials, one can estimate that about 8% of the world’s consumption of plastic concerns plastics² used in electrical equipment. It is also estimated that there will be an increase of about 5,5 million tons during the next five years in the overall consumption of electrical insulating materials.

The Chairman of the new TC is to be determined in the near future.


For further information, please contact IEC Technical Officer, Michael Casson.



¹) An EIS is an insulating structure containing one or more electrical insulating materials together with associated conducting parts employed in an electrotechnical device.

²) Plastics represent the most common insulating materials (to this term belong thermoplastics and thermosets). Other examples are: cellulose materials, nylon, and polyvinylcloride or PVC, resins, etc. There are also ceramic and glass products like mica, which are commonly used at high voltage. Though the use of plastics for electrical insulation is greater, these are also very important.

The environment and TC work: strategies and issues May

The environment and TC work: strategies and issues

TC 108’s future environment-related standard
During the Advisory Committee on Environmental Aspects’ (ACEA) most recent meeting in Milan, Italy, which took place on 21 March 2005, the committee agreed that TC 108 ( Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communications technology) should continue to develop an environment-related standard. ACEA however recommended that the project – based on 108/116/NP and on ECMA standard 341 – be developed as a standard specific to TC 108’s product families and in accordance with Guide 114: Environmentally Conscious Design - Integrating environmental aspects into design and development of electrotechnical products (see below - guide replaced in 2009 with IEC 62430 Ed.1.0 (2009)). ACEA also recommended that as TC 111 (Environmental standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems) develops relevant environmental standards, TC 108 should revise its standard to make it consistent with TC 111’s work and eliminate any overlaps. To achieve this, it was also suggested that TC 111 provide sufficient feedback regarding TC 108’s project.


Preparing materials for testing for restricted substances
It was decided that, for the time being, it was premature to send an Administrative Circular to TCs to ask for their cooperation on standards for testing different kinds of products for the presence of restricted substances. Such standards would, for example, define what “homogeneous material” was for the purposes of a test for lead in a product. A participant in the meeting stressed that, as it was not yet clear what regulators will consider as being “homogeneous material”, this made testing useless considering that no company could afford the preparation of material for testing.


Developing an environmental working strategy for TC 59
On 25 April 2005, ACEA Secretary Gabriel Barta attended a meeting in Frankfurt, Germany, of Working Group 10 (Strategy) of TC 59 (Performance of household electrical appliances) with the objective of assisting it with setting up procedures to enable all TC 59 groups to apply for, or, if necessary, ask for the right environmental expertise as regards all of their standardization work. One of WG 10’s projects includes developing TC 59’s strategy for incorporating environmental concerns in its standards. Barta recommended that this strategy be included in the TC 59 Internal Guide to subcommittee and working group procedures and also be mentioned in the committee’s strategic policy statement.


Environmentally Conscious Design
Guide 114 was published in early May and is now available. It provides the basis for product-specific standards to be developed by product TCs, such as TC 108 (see above).


ACEA’s next meeting is scheduled to take place in November 2005, and should include discussion of IEC environmental policy, which ACEA may recommend revising.


ACEA's recommendations will be considered by the SMB at its next meeting in June 2005.

TC 111 first standard planned for 2006 April

TC 111's first standard planned for 2006

IEC Technical Committee 111 (Environmental standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems) is about to begin work on a standard that covers test methods for hazardous substances and another that will help manufacturers declare which materials they are using in their products. Both are significant for the global electronics industry because of increasing legislation around the world such as the California Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 and the European Union’s RoHS and WEE Directives that are scheduled to come into effect on 1 July 2006, as well as similar legislation now under study in China.


The standard for test methods is important because it is expected to give manufacturers a way to prove which substances their electrical and electronic products contain. The second will make importing and exporting those products easier through a uniform means of declaration which customs agents can use to ensure that products entering the market adhere to legislation concerning restricted substances, such as lead and cadmium.


Material declaration of components
With the European Union’s two directives on hazardous substances such as lead and cadmium coming into effect in July 2006, the issue of material declaration on electrical and electronic equipment roused a debate during the TC 111 meeting. While manufacturers will have to declare which materials are contained in their products, opinions diverged on how manufacturers should do so, splitting over cost versus speed. Some focused on how the information related to product environmental aspects could be made available at the most efficient cost while others said that an international standard is urgently needed because there are many national codes or regulations that need to be harmonized to satisfy the global market. TC 111 decided to study the different proposals made by participants – in particular from China, France and the United States – and determine a scope for a future standard.


Test methods for hazardous substances
TC 111’s Working Group 2 (Environmentally conscious design) examined work started by IEC’s Advisory Committee on Environmental Aspects (ACEA), which is about to publish Guide 114 (guide replaced in 2009 with IEC 62430 Ed.1.0 (2009)) on this subject, and plans to develop a standard based on this guide. This could appear as early as 2006, while Working Group 3 (Test methods of hazardous substances) plans to submit a draft document for test methods in June 2005, and a standard is scheduled for 2007.


Scope refined
Some 50 delegates from 20 countries attended the first meeting of TC 111 in Milan, Italy, from 22-23 March 2005. The meeting was hosted by the Comitato Elettrotechnico Italiano, which holds the Secretariat. During the meeting, TC 111 refined its scope so that it can act as a source of information for product committees (and not have the role of assistant to them) while at the same time ensure that it avoids getting involved in regulatory discussions at the national level.


TC 111 is also planning to establish liaisons with TC 3 (Information structures, documentation and graphical symbols), TC 108 (Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communication technology), Subcommittee 62A (Common aspects of electrical equipment used in medical practice) and ISO TC 207 (Environmental management).


TC 111’s next meeting is scheduled to take place in October 2005, during the IEC’s 69 th General Meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.

SMB endorses new TC and gives green light to nanotechnologiesMarch

SMB endorses new TC and gives green light to nanotechnologies

SMB to create new TC
During its most recent meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 9 -10 February 2005, the SMB agreed to establish a new technical committee from the merging of TC 98 (Electrical insulation systems) and SC 15E (Insulating materials - Methods of test). Members of the two TCs have been asked to reconfirm their membership status in the new TC, namely TC 112. At this time, two countries ─ Germany and the United States ─ have offered to take over the secretariat. Additional nominations for the secretariat should be sent by mid-March 2005. The SMB will then decide by vote which country will handle the new TC.


The title and scope are to be considered by the new secretariat for submission to the SMB for approval by correspondence as soon as possible.


Committee restructuring
TC 15 and SC 15C were asked to make a proposal for the restructuring of their committees pertaining to insulation materials before the SMB’s next meeting in June 2005.


IEC to pursue work in nanotechnologies field
In Seoul during the IEC 68th General Meeting last October, the SMB had decided to examine how the IEC could begin to prepare standards for the rapidly growing field of nanotechnogies (full article in the November 2004 edition). In Geneva, the SMB agreed to the IEC pursuing standardization work in this area. Also, following the presentation by two experts on nanotechnology, the SMB asked the chairman ─ in consultation with a few SMB members ─ to propose an “IEC structure” on nanotechnology that could take the form of a new IEC TC. This TC would coordinate the activities in other existing IEC TCs, decide on the allocations of new activities and coordinate these with ISO, which is also engaged in standardization work in the area of nanotechnology.

1906 Award nominations February

1906 Award nominations are open

Nominations for the 2005 edition of the 1906 Award are now open. As in 2004, technical committee chairmen and secretaries ─ taking into account advice from subcommittees ─ are invited to send their lists of candidates to Central Office by end of March 2005. TC officers may nominate up to five experts per TC, including project leaders and convenors of working groups. TC officers are asked to include a short tribute describing the activities for which the award is proposed.


For its first edition in 2004, 87 experts from different TCs and SCs were nominated to receive the newly created 1906 Award, established in commemoration of the IEC’s year of foundation and that honours the work of IEC technical experts around the world. The award recognizes exceptional and recent achievement or a specific contribution related to the activities of the IEC that either advances the work of the IEC or the field of electrotechnology in general.


Recipients of the 1906 Award will receive a special pin and certificate signed by the IEC General Secretary and the SMB Chairman. National Committee presidents are invited to present the awards at an appropriate occasion of their choice.


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

TC 17 website goes live February

TC 17 is first out of the blocks with IEC corporate style

IEC Technical Committee 17 (Switchgear and controlgear) is the first TC to have its own website that adheres to IEC corporate style. It can be found at


The website was created by the Communications Department at IEC Central Office and the design is intended as a template for other TCs that wish to have their own website. Text was developed for three different audiences that might visit the website. The first is the general public with no knowledge of standards or the IEC. The text intended for them explains in very basic terms the nature of switchgear and controlgear, where it’s found and how it’s used.


The second audience is people from industry who know about standards but who don’t know about IEC International Standards and who aren’t involved in helping to develop them. The text aimed at them tells them why IEC standards are important to businesses and why it’s important to participate in developing them. This includes a case study that shows how IEC standards had a direct influence on the bottom line of a specific company at a specific time.


The third audience is the TC/SC experts themselves, in this case experts from TC 17 and its subcommittees. A password-protected bulletin board was created for them so they could carry on discussions about their standards work in a quick and efficient way.


As part of the agreement by the IEC to create this website, TC 17 was asked to nominate one of its members to be the webmaster, who would maintain the site, since Central Office does not have the resources to do this.

Co-operation between IEC and IEEE February

Co-operation between the IEC and IEEE

By Hermann Koch, Secretary of Subcommittee 17C (High-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies)


Gas-insulated switchgear for voltages higher than 52 kV has been available for more than 30 years. Dating from roughly the same time is the former IEC 60517 covering high-voltage switchgear and controlgear, whose most recent edition was published in 1990. In parallel, an IEEE standard was developed, with its latest revision from 1996. To group all standards related to high-voltage switchgear higher than 1 kV, subcommittees SC 17A and SC 17C decided to link all standards, which were then renumbered to the IEC 62271 series. The information given here is intended to share information with other technical committees that might seek to follow a similar path to cooperation and standards production.


Evaluating the differences between IEC and IEEE
In a first step within the IEEE Substation Committee, which had the responsibility of the standard C37.122 Gas-Insulated Substations, a Task Force was established to compare and evaluate the differences of both IEEE and IEC standards in tabular form. A long list was created by the Task Force and discussed in the IEEE Substation Committee. This list was then given to the IEC maintenance team for the next revision cycle of IEC 60517.


It took about two years to finish these preparations and follow the requirements spelled out in IEEE procedures. The result was an informal document available in the IEEE Substation Committee without any of the usual official statuses that are recognized by IEEE, such as standard, guide or recommended practice.


After this work was done the next step was to bring the document, along with evaluation of the differences, into the IEC revision process for IEC 60517. For this, the official liaison type D was used to set up a direct liaison between IEEE Substation Committee and IEC SC 17C. This liaison then was personalized with the chairman of the Task Force responsible for the comparison and evaluation of both IEC and IEEE standards.


What followed next was to start revising IEC 60517 based on the Maintenance Cycle Report (MCR), the comments of the national committees and evaluated comparison of the IEC and IEEE standards.


Obstacles to harmonizing
On one hand the comparison and evaluation table showed clearly that each standard had its own technical fields where it gave detailed advice. In many cases these technical fields were additive, so that in the end a harmonized standard was made avail­able which better covered all technical fields related to gas-insulated switch­gear above 52 kV.


On the other hand, principle differences were found with historical background all the way back to the roots of electrical power transmission. Those principle differences concern high voltage levels and safety. To resolve these principle differences, task forces have been set up in Maintenance Team 16, including other IEC committees such as TC 28 (Insulation co-ordination). The final result turned out to be that most of the differences were resolved and a harmonized solution was found. Only a few differences, shown in Table 1, remain and it is expected that these will be mentioned in the foreword to the IEEE version of the standard.


Copenhagen, Denmark


Table 1: Main differences IEC 60517 and IEEE C37.122

Nevertheless, the obstacles found were basic and meaningful for manufacturing, testing and operating gas-insulated switchgear or substations. The basis for having successfully harmonized the differences was the overall recognition of all aspects related to design, testing, operation and practical experience gained over the past 30 years with these products. The most important among these – and they’re all related to each other – are: rated operation voltages, test voltage levels, test methods and criteria to pass the test (for example, partial discharge measuring), and measuring methods and levels.


Thanks to the competence of the MT 16 experts and their willingness to give fair technical treatment in the evaluations based on physics and individual experience, the obstacles and principle differences were resolved fairly quickly, with committee drafts for comments circulating only twice. The final result in the IEC voting process was 100 % approval by all those NCs which are P-members of SC 17C. This voting on the revision of the IEC standard reflects well on the good work done by MT 16.


Ultimately, when the world is faced with two standards that address the same technology but are not identical, and if the IEC standard is widely used by industry, then there is no real need to create a dual-logo IEC/IEEE standard. But harmonizing such standards is an alternative way to providing added value to industry. The end result of this process is that whether industry chooses to use the IEEE standard or the IEC/IEEE standard, the end user winds up with a product built to exactly the same requirements. Thus, the technical requirements spelled out in these standards are now truly globalized.

Directives, horizontal standards and collaboration January

Directives, horizontal standards and collaboration

In this month’s edition, we finish 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.

JTC 1 Directives
Having been asked by the SMB to look at the approved changes to the ISO/IEC JTC 1 Directives, and the reporting responsibilities of ISO/IEC JTC 1, the DMT noted that a comparison had been made by ITTF (Information Technology Task Force) of the major differences between the JTC 1 Directives and the ISO/IEC Directives. However, this comparison appeared to deal only with ISO practice and had not taken IEC practice into account. The SMB agreed to the DMT recommendation that the comparison should take account of IEC practice, and that in the future all requested changes to the JTC 1 Directives should be reviewed by the Joint ISO/IEC DMT. Discussions are to begin shortly.


Horizontal and basic standards
The SMB approved the DMT’s proposal to revise Guide 108 (The relationship between technical committees with horizontal functions and product committees and the use of basic publications) to ensure coherence with the Directives and SMB decision 120/7, concerning the principles given in AC/6/2004, notably that product committees be requested to approve the designation of “basic” or “horizontal” standards. The SMB also agreed that the evaluation by product committees be taken into account during the maintenance procedure. Assigning horizontal functions and designating horizontal standards falls within the responsibility of the SMB.


Collaboration with CENELEC
The SMB’s decision to endorse the CENELEC BT approval of the proposals contained in (BT/121/DG5865/R) for the handling of new work item should allow a better collaboration between the IEC and CENELEC for such items originating from CENELEC BT. An administrative circular is to be sent to all TCs and SCs regarding this procedure in the near future.


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