Worldwide System for Conformity Testing and Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment and Components (IECEE)
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IECEE - What's New
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IECEE Archives of previous "What's new" items
What's New Archives 2013
What's New Archives 2012
What's New Archives 2011
What's New Archives 2010
What's New Archives 2009
What's New Archives 2008
What's New Archives 2007
What's New Archives 2006
What's New Archives 2005
What's New Archives 2004
What's New Archives 2003
What's New Archives 2002
What's New Archives 2001
Leading Articles 2001
What's New Archives 2000
2014-07-28: CBTL Neutron Engineering Inc., becomes BTL Inc
2014-07-24: CBTL Primara Test- und Zertifizier- GmbH
2014-07-22: NCB Centre Testing International Pte. Ltd.
2014-07-08: ACTL TUV SUD America Inc., San Diego CA (under CBTL Portland)
2014-07-08: Compatibility and interconnectivity - All power grids need IECEE certification for trouble-free operation
Electricity is so deeply entrenched in our lives that we take it for granted ... until there's a power outage. Whether on a small or large scale, power outages may have dire social and economic consequences: no lights in homes, offices, public places; disruption of public transportation services; temporary factory shutdown, to name but a few. In recent years, major power outages have been able to paralyze whole regions or countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia. Can this happen again? Probably, but there are ways of ensuring that energy generation, transmission and distribution occurs in the safest, most reliable and efficient way possible.
Long-standing leading role
Governments, industries and utilities have several tools at their disposal to ensure the optimum operation of their electrical networks. Among these, international standardization and conformity assessment play a major role at all stages of development, from design and manufacture of the equipment to its deployment.
Since the very beginning, the IEC has been at the forefront of standardization in the field of electrical energy generation, transmission and distribution. The first half of the 20th century saw the establishment of several TCs (Technical Committees) that have produced International Standards for electric cables, power transformers, electrical accessories, fuses and other categories of product.
As technologies have evolved, more committees have been added to cover all aspects of energy generation, transmission and distribution, including renewable energies, the Smart Grid, smart cities and buildings, e-mobility and energy efficiency. The millions of electrical and electronics devices used in homes, offices and factories, healthcare facilities and public areas have also had an effect.
Switches and insulators on a transformer in a power plant
Global markets: International Standards more relevant than ever
The emergence of globalization and the firm establishment of today's global markets set the seal on the demise of national monopolies on electricity. End-users can generally choose between several suppliers, while many utilities have expanded and now operate in several countries. It is therefore essential that all players in the energy sector have a common denominator, a universal language that helps avoid disruption in their services. Using IEC International Standards to build and expand power grids and upgrade them for the "smart (r)evolution" makes even more sense today and ensures compatibility and connectivity of networks within a country and across borders.
Building electrical networks, installations, systems and equipment to International Standards is one thing. Making certain that they are of the highest quality and reliability so that they perform well and are safe is another.
This is where IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, comes into play. In its almost 30 years of existence - it was set up in 1985 - IECEE has established an unsurpassed worldwide reputation for the testing and certification of electrical and electronic equipment.
The IECEE CB Scheme provides the assurance that tested and certified electrical equipment - and its components - meets the strictest levels of safety, functionality and performance in compliance with the relevant IEC International Standards.
Switchgear testing with multimetre probe
Addressing specific needs
IECEE has several product categories that list the relevant IEC International Standards in one particular field. These are of the utmost importance to the energy sector, and focus on specific aspects of it. Relevant categories are: Cables and cords (CABL), Safety transformers and similar equipment (SAFE), Installation protective equipment (PROT), Installation accessories and connection devices (INST).
IECEE is also preparing for the future and developing a new service. A Working Group, PSC (Policy and Strategy Committee) WG 2A, was set up in 2011 to explore the potential for and practicality of conformity assessment applications in the areas of smart homes, smart buildings and smart industry. IECEE is working closely with industry to ensure that the upcoming service meets all market needs. (see article in e-tech November 2013)
Electrical control panel
Whether smart or traditional, the energy sector can only benefit from the use of IEC International Standards and IECEE certification.
For manufacturers, the advantages of having their equipment tested and certified to IECEE Schemes are manifold. Equipment tested and certified in one country will be accepted for national certification in all other IECEE member countries. Even better, global acceptance of the IECEE CB Scheme through CB Test Certificates and the associated CB Test Report is also often effective in countries that are not part of the IECEE community. In effect, an IECEE CB Test Certificate is a global passport. This also means that equipment, installations and systems will be compatible. Because they "speak the same language", power grids operated by different utilities can be interconnected, thus eliminating any disruption in the transmission and distribution of electricity to their customers within a country or across borders.
IECEE certification also means speed to market, a reduction in costs and the elimination of duplicate or multiple testing. It provides equipment manufacturers, National Certification Bodies, regulators and utilities with a high level of confidence in terms of the universal applicability of their products.
2014-07-08: CBTL Digital EMC Co., Ltd.
2014-06-23: Medical equipment advances at lightning speed - IECEE focuses on its safety and reliability
Since 2007, IECEE (IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components) has been managing the risks surrounding medical electrical equipment. Its task has become more important as technological changes and enhancements have radically increased the complexity of the sector.
Medicine has come a long way since the days when so called medical miracles were advertised by means of shouts thrown down the back streets: miracle cures were then the province of quacks with strong voices. Since the appearance of the first sticking plaster in the 1920s and the first MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) devices in the 1970s, any number of other developments have also helped move medicine forward. Medical equipment too has changed drastically, to the point at which, with the aid of robots, doctors can diagnose patients who may be located on the other side of the world.
Given that medical equipment is developing and changing at lightning speed, it becomes more and more important that manufacturers of medical electrical and electronic equipment ensure that their products meet the safety, reliability and performance requirements of the industry as well as adhering to the IEC International Standards that apply to them.
IECEE Certification complies with IEC International Standards
IECEE ensures that electrical and electronic devices and equipment are reliable and meet expectations in terms of performance, safety, reliability and other criteria. The scheme applies not only to the medical electrical equipment itself but also covers risks to patients, those who operate the equipment – doctors, nurses and technicians, for instance – and maintenance personnel. IECEE has placed special emphasis on this sector in the last few years.
Medical equipment has its own product category, MED or electrical equipment for medical use, comprising dozens of IEC International Standards against which products are to be tested and certified in the IECEE CB (Certification Body) Scheme. It includes the IEC 60601 series of Standards on the safety and performance of medical electrical equipment.
Greater focus on managing risk
Medical technology may be speeding ahead but IECEE is close behind in terms of managing the risks associated with new technologies. In 2007 it set up the IECEE MEE (Medical Electrical Equipment) Task Force whose responsibility is to deal with the implementation of risk management requirements as set out in the third edition of IEC 60601-1, Medical electrical equipment - Part 1: General requirements for basic safety and essential performance, published in 2005 (Consolidated edition 3.1 of IEC 60601-1 published in 2012).
Task Force moves forward
This Task Force meets once a year and at the end of 2013 it finalized the Guidance for the Evaluation of Risk Management in Medical Electrical Equipment, which will become an IEC Guide in the coming months. This document helps to provide a uniform approach for Certification Body Testing Laboratory and manufacturer alike on how to assess and document compliance with the relevant clauses in the IEC 60601 series as they relate to ISO 14971, Medical devices - Application of risk management to medical devices.
The Task Force is also responsible for:
•establishing a consensus with acceptable methods for determining compliance with all the relevant clauses (in relation to ISO 14971) of IEC 60601-1
•developing a checklist aimed at assisting the medical equipment industry, official authorities and stakeholders around the world to test appropriately
•acting as an Advisory Group on the common understanding of ISO 14971 with respect to IEC 60601-1
•organizing specific training sessions dealing with risk management issues
IECEE focuses on the marketplace
Showing the marketplace that a product is tested and certified can help well-established multinational companies as well as SMEs (small and medium enterprises) as IECEE is recognized in all member countries and beyond, thereby aiding in reducing costs and time to market and in eliminating the need for multiple testing.
IECEE certification, based on the principle of mutual recognition (reciprocal acceptance) by its members, is also essential in facilitating international trade and allowing direct access to the marketplace for regulators, vendors, retailers and buyers.
Since 1985, the IECEE has positioned itself as the global testing and certification system for electrotechnical equipment, issuing more than a million certificates that are recognized worldwide. The System is still developing new programmes to provide manufacturers and consumers alike with the highest possible levels of safety, performance and reliability.
IECEE administers third party conformity testing and certification schemes that address the safety, quality, efficiency and overall performance of components and goods for the home, office and health facilities. Members of the System issue test reports and certificates that are mutually accepted by all other members of the System.
IECEE operates the CB Scheme and the Full Certification Scheme. The latter includes factory inspections. More information on IECEE is available at www.iecee.org
2014-06-12: CBTL Guangzhou MCM Certification & Testing Co.
2014-06-11: CBTL Perfectlink International Corp.
2014-05-01: CBTL IST Co., Ltd.
2014-04-24: CBTL TUV SUD Product Service GmbH Consumer Products Laboratory Garching
2014-04-23: IECEE welcomes Nigeria as its 54th Member State
The IECEE community welcomed Nigeria as its newest and 54th
Member State in April 2014. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) joined the IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components.
2014-04-23: ACTL Guangdong Testing Institute of Product Quality Supervision-Dongguan (GQI-Dongguan) upgraded to CBTL
2014-04-23: NCB SAI GLOBAL
NCB SAI GLOBAL is now a recognizing NCB only.
2014-04-23: CBTL COMTEST
CBTL COMTEST has been withdrawn from the IECEE CB Scheme, as per request of the NCB SAI GLOBAL.
2014-04-11: Getting to know Kerry McManama
A mind open to all possibilities
e-tech talks to Kerry McManama, the new Executive Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of IECEE (IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components) to find out how he arrived at this point and the challenges he sees in his new role.
Engineering is the choice
e-tech: How did you decide to become an engineer?
McManama: Coming out of high school I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I wasn't sure what field I wanted to pursue or where my passion was. I joined the US Navy and it trained me in electronics and in electricity, specifically as they relate to missile systems and gun fire control systems. I operated and maintained the computers and radars associated with those systems aboard ships.
When I got out of the Navy I was hired by a local college to teach basic electronics. That kept me in the field of electronics. Then I changed jobs and went to work for a US defence contractor. I worked for them for about a year, helping them to design and manufacture electronic countermeasure (radar jamming) equipment. At the time of my first performance evaluation I was told: "well Kerry, you've plateaued already. You're in the top position in terms of your training and you can't go any higher". I decided that I wasn't ready for my career to plateau at that point so I went back to school to get my Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (BSEE) from the University of Illinois.
Work that led to Conformity Assessment
McManama: Coming out of university I was hired by UL (Underwriters Laboratories Inc.). I found the work fascinating enough to keep me there for 21 years. It was different all the time. You saw all kinds of products coming through the door. The work was never boring and monotonous and I was able to do a number of different things, both on the technical side and the business, or management, side.
After those 21 years, this job became available. I had greatly enjoyed working with the IEC tangentially in my work at UL. This prospect really excited me as it was a smaller company. UL was about 12 000 people and here we have about a hundred. Going from a large corporation to a smaller company was something I found interesting and alluring. Having worked with Chris Agius as the Chairman of IECEx (IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres) I was able to see the type of things that he was doing – business development in the Ex field of Conformity Assessment, working with stakeholders from all around the world – and that was something I wanted to do so I made the decision to try for this job.
e-tech: What did you expect when you applied for this job?
McManama: I didn't have any major expectations per se. I wasn't sure that I would be viewed as the right person for the job, but I was hopeful given my past work and my expertise in the industry. I guess my expectation was that I would be able to do the job and do it well otherwise I wouldn't have applied to begin with.
I expect it to be difficult. I expect the learning curve to be long and steep. Coming from a business management and Conformity Assessment background and coming from being the Chairman of IECEx it certainly isn't something that is new to me: I am very familiar with what IECEE is. And I know it is going to be a challenge to do it well - but I think I am up to that challenge.
More to do and more to believe in
e-tech: Why did you want to do this job?
McManama: The vision and mission of the IEC are very interesting to me and I embraced it. This allows me to jump in with both feet, rather than play a tangential role.
Because we're a smaller organization I feel I will be able to provide input into different areas of the organization. I've got my finger on everything here. This is certainly not going to be a job where I am just focused on one thing and I am just putting a nut on a bolt on a conveyor belt.
The importance of IECEE
e-tech: Tell me why you think IECEE is important.
McManama: We deal with safety standards and primarily with electrical safety. Electric shocks and electrical fires kill and injure people all around the world every year, as well as cause untold millions of dollars in property damage. IEC International Standards are used to set the minimum bar of what a safe product is.
IECEE Conformity Assessment System sets the bar in terms of the basic requirements for certification and evaluation to IEC International Standards. It means that everybody comes in at the same level. This is hugely important in facilitating international trade and cooperation.
Goals for the future
e-tech: When you heard that you had got the job, what things did you set out to achieve?
McManama: I came with an open mind. I didn't have any preconceived notions of what I wanted to do. I am still assessing where everything's at and what's going on. I don't want to make changes arbitrarily or too quickly. I understand that IECEE has been operating for a decade and a half or more and for the most part it seems to be serving its members well. My desire is not to muck that up. First I want to finish my assessment of where we're at then I'm sure I'll apply my little touch here and there. Sometimes it will be visible and sometimes it won't be visible.
It's a system that has been operating for a long time. Most of the players who have been coming to meetings and participating in working groups have been here for years and years and years. They know every requirement, every comma and period in our Rules and Procedures. I have to get myself to that point so as to be able to be taken seriously and to be able to contribute. Right now I'm doing a lot of listening rather than talking. I would hope that in the near future I will perhaps be able to start putting my mark on things.
New role brings greater responsibility
e-tech: What challenges do you see in your new role?
McManama: There are challenges that come along because of changes to International Standards - and I don't even know if I want to classify them as challenges. Our certification bodies and test laboratories have to comply with ISO/IEC 17065, Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services and ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. As International Standards change, the assessments that we perform also necessarily have to change to a certain degree because new requirements now exist. Our documentation has to change, our processes on how we function have to change, and it is a challenge to meet the new International Standards that come on board.
We have to stay up to date with technology. We have our own internal IT challenges that we have to work to improve. Our membership expects us to be efficient and cost effective, and they want us to provide value for the money that they pay to the IEC, and specifically to the IECEE System.
We constantly have to show them that we are providing that value with fast responses to emails and questions and we have to do it in a cost effective way. They're being challenged in their companies to cut costs or be more efficient and they expect the IEC and IECEE to do the same thing. Our challenge is always doing more with less at the same time as we are trying to provide better services and faster responses to the needs of the System. That's the kind of juggling act that is difficult to perform sometimes. And we have to be fair and consistent in how we apply the rules as the Secretary is often the arbiter for various aspects of such rules.
McManama: The IEC is a fairly known commodity in the marketplace and so too is the IECEE for the main part. Our biggest challenges are with the differing regulatory systems around the world. Where I, in my position, can step in is in assisting the regulatory agencies with any needs they may have in terms of regulations and Conformity Assessment as they relate to electrotechnology equipment and components. There have been some successes in doing that, certainly at IECEx.
I think that IEC is viewed as a fair partner, a neutral player in terms of International Standards and Conformity Assessment. Because of that sense of neutrality and the mission and goals of the IEC, the IEC can help open doors to governmental agencies. The fact that we're a non-profit organization and that we're looking to facilitate global trade helps us get through doors and have discussions with regulators and users.
Understanding the technological future
e-tech: What technological challenges do you see in the future of IECEE?
McManama: It is difficult to predict future technological changes. I think our main challenge is that we know change is coming - but sometimes we just don't know where it will occur.
If you had asked me that question 15 years ago, I perhaps would not have thought of renewable energies. Wind energy, marine energy and solar are things that have grown over the past 15 to 20 years to the point that we're now looking at a new system for those industries.
What's going to happen over the next 15 to 20 years in terms of technology? I'm not sure. If it continues along the line of renewable energies we'll see some new developments in terms of energy storage whether in terms of batteries or some other technique. It's tough to determine what will come in the course of the coming years.
Striving to practise fairness
e-tech: If there is one thing you want people to know about you, what would it be?
McManama: What do I want people to know? I think it's that I'm fair, collaborative and consistent.
2014-04-11: CBTL TUV Rheinland Singapore Pte. Ltd.
2014-04-04: CBTL SGS Inspection Services Ltd
2014-04-01: SPTL LPD Testing Center of Shanghai Lightning Protection Center
2014-03-25: CBTL BWS Tech Inc.
2014-03-18: Member Body Romania
2014-03-17: CBTL Energy Assurance LLC
2014-03-06: CBTL Nanjing CQC - Trusted Testing Technology Co., Ltd.
2014-03-06: ACTL TUV Rheinland (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
2014-03-06: CBTL Laboratorio ANCE Ciudad de Mexico name change
2014-03-06: ACTL Geonggi KTL
2014-03-06: CBTL Zhejiang Joysun Testing Technical Services Co., Ltd. name change
2014-01-16: CBTL National Quality Supervision and Testing Center for Cables and Wires (Jiangsu) name change
2014-02-07: CBTL Intertek Italia S.r.l. name change
2014-01-30: Transfer of CBTL SGS Fimko EMC Oy (former NEMKO Oy)
2014-01-22: IEC Brochure on effective participation
2014-01-22: SPTL Intertek Testing Services, NA Inc (Cortland)
2014-01-20: CBTL TÜV NORD CERT GmbH, EMV Services
2014-01-20: CBTL Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute-CHANGWON (KERI-CHANGWON)
2014-01-16: SATL AET France