IECEE work benefits the environment, workplace and homes

Testing and certification can save energy and make life safer

Every day, whether at home, in the workplace, hospitals, airports or other public places, we come into contact with many devices and their operating systems, which we expect should function safely and reliably.

Human-machine interfaces for industry
Human-machine interfaces, used increasingly in industry and commerce, improve reliability and reduce maintenance costs (Photo:

IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, is an international conformity assessment system based on IEC International Standards.

The different schemes test the safety, quality, efficiency and overall performance of electrical and electronic components, devices and equipment to ensure they comply with IEC International Standards. From batteries, cables and cords, energy efficiency and industrial automation, to office equipment, power tools and electric toys, IECEE covers 23 categories of electrical equipment and testing services.

Limiting risk through functional safety

Functional safety is a vital part of an increasing number of electric and electronic devices and systems found in public spaces, offices or homes. Many of them could cause harm to people, animals or the environment if they didn’t have built-in safety mechanisms that activate exactly when needed to reduce potential risks down to a tolerable level. This is also the case for complex technology used for safety-related systems for all industries.

Based on an expressed need by industry, the IECEE established a Task Force to define market relevant solutions and services related to functional safety in the IECEE CB Scheme. The Task Force members decided to limit the focus of the new proposed Functional Safety (FS) programme to a scope of three Standards: IEC 60947-5-3 and IEC IEC 60947-5-5 (related to discrete hardware only), and IEC 61800-5-2 (safe torque off (STO) function related to discreet hardware only), with the focus on IEC 61508 and other derived functional safety Standards as a future state.

The IECEE Management Committee has approved of the new Programme and certification bodies and laboratories are currently updating their scopes to include the Standards noted above.

Protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats

As the digitization of industries progresses, it is increasingly important to ensure smart systems remain secure, for example, by protecting energy security and critical energy infrastructure from cyber attacks.

Last November, IECEE, Cyber Security Task Force, ran a comprehensive cyber security workshop, based on the IEC 62443 series of Standards for the security for industrial automation and control systems, and more workshops are planned later this year. These Standards have already been adopted by different industries, including power plants and railway networks, and are now used as the basis for IECEE Certificates of Conformity for Industrial Cyber Security Capability.

Ensuring personal competency

The Task Force (TF) for Certification of Personal Competency (CoPC) has received the go ahead from the Certification Management Committee (CMC) to develop a programme for CoPC, related to machinery safety in accordance with IEC and ISO Standards.

With the advent of increased human-machine interfaces (HMI) and the expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) as well as the use of robotics in both the industrial and commercial arenas, the need for risk mitigation is amplified. In this context, competent engineers have to be able to evaluate risks and get access to methodologies that will enable them to test and certify the safety and functionality of such equipment and systems.

Based on this need to have qualified personnel conducting the evaluations of the functional safety of industrial installations and equipment, IECEE is developing a programme for the Certification of Personnel Competency (CoPC) in the areas of cyber security and functional safety, among others.

Working from the successful model of such a CoPC programme first established in the IECEx, IECEE is working with Nippon Electric Control Equipment (NECA) and their very successful CoPC programme which is applied in Asia. Deliverables would include Certificates of Personal Competency based on levels of competency.

Potential IECEE/UN collaboration

In a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, many countries use mandatory regulations to enforce the transition to energy efficient products.

Other organizations also contribute towards this effort. The UN runs United for Efficiency (U4E) programmes directed towards developing countries, to assist in the reduction of greenhouse gases and cost of energy. The UN and participating organizations have expressed an interest in IECEE work regarding energy efficiency. It is exploring possible collaborative efforts to engage developing countries and provide a possible source of approved testing laboratories and certification bodies as a means to enhance the acceptance and use of U4E regulatory models.

In light of this, the IECEE Policy and Strategy Committee (PSC) has decided to establish a Task Force to see how IECEE can work with the UN to provide services for a UN model regulation for lighting. The TF will include UN-nominated participants to represent the UN U4E.