To contribute to the common good, any and all initiatives are welcome. Small deeds may seem negligible, but when one brings together millions of small deeds, it matters. Switching off lights when leaving a room; installing motion sensors for public lighting or in buildings and offices; eliminating hazardous substances from electronic apparatus and devices, recycling them instead of dumping them; designing and manufacturing more efficient and sustainable products to reduce energy and resource consumption; transitioning to more renewable energy sources in the energy mix; and eliminating the least performing products from the market. Those are only a few examples of what can, and needs, to be done at every level of society. From the individual to the collective, from the local to the global.
Many organizations and national or regional bodies are preparing legislation and measures to help reach the objectives of lower resource consumption and less environmental impact.
One such organization, IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, has several tools to help make the world a better place.
IECQ started to target environmental issues many years ago when it launched the IECQ hazardous substance process management (HSPM) scheme, the perfect solution for manufacturers and suppliers who want to produce and distribute hazardous substance-free (HSF) electronic components.
IECQ HSPM is a technically based management systems approach to implementing and maintaining hazardous substance-free products and production processes. IECQ HSPM was developed in response to component manufacturers’ need to give suppliers the means of demonstrating, through third-party assessment, that their electrical and electronic components and assemblies meet specific hazardous substance-free local, national and international requirements.
Many companies today are working to attain IECQ HSPM certification to IECQ QC 080000, IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components (IECQ System) - Hazardous Substance Process Management (HSPM) System Requirements. The fourth edition, published in May 2017, clarifies how organizations can use IECQ QC 080000 to manage their hazardous substances other than through the outright removal of restricted substances and avoiding their use in products.
Recently, IECQ joined forces with IEC Technical Committee 111: Environmental standardization for electrical and electronic products and systems, which develops standards on the environmental aspects of electrotechnology.
The collaboration has focused on an international standard developed by TC 111, IEC 62430, Environmentally conscious design (ECD) - Principles, requirements and guidance, aimed at organizations intending to integrate environmental aspects into design and development in order to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of their products.
Nearly three years of a close relationship between IECQ WG 14 and TC 111 experts, has met with success. IECQ now offers an ecodesign service as part of its approved process (AP) scheme.
IECQ AP certification may be applied to any process which may affect conformity or compliance of electronic components, related assemblies or services. This may cover, but is not limited to product engineering, printed wiring board manufacture, electronic component manufacturing, printed circuit board assembly, electro static discharge (ESD) controls or even supply chain management. Organizations that hold an IECQ AP certification demonstrate that their facilities and production lines comply with the requirements of the IECQ System and the relevant technical standards and specifications.
LEDs are increasingly popular and are used by a considerable number of households, businesses and local authorities. There are many advantages in replacing incandescent or halogen bulbs with LEDs. They are eco-friendly, low energy consumption, robust (meaning reduced cost of maintenance and replacement), they have a long life span and are easy to control. A win-win situation at all levels: cost-saving for consumers and municipalities, reduced energy consumption for utilities, and a wide range of uses.
Again, IECQ has stepped in to provide a solution that ensures high quality and reliability of all LED products. Indeed, the IECQ scheme for LED lighting, under the umbrella of the generic IECQ approved component (AC) scheme, offers a valuable qualification and supply chain management tool that provides for the identification and verification of compliance with component and process specifications.
In line with the approved scope of the IECQ System, the IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting can be applied to certify manufacturers and suppliers of electronic components, modules and assemblies used in the production of LED packages, engines, lamps, luminaires and associated LED ballasts/drivers.
Sensors and sensor systems are a key underpinning technology for a wide range of applications. They can be used to improve quality control and productivity in manufacturing processes by monitoring variables such as temperature, pressure, flow and composition. They help ensure the environment is clean and healthy by monitoring the levels of toxic chemicals and gases emitted in the air, both locally and – via satellites – globally. They monitor area and regional compliance with environmental standards. They enhance health, safety and security in the home and workplace through their use in air-conditioning systems, fire and smoke detection and surveillance equipment. They play a major role in medical devices, transportation, entertainment equipment and everyday consumer products.
With IECQ testing and certification, manufacturers and suppliers of all types of electronic components throughout the world have a powerful tool at their disposal, enabling their products to meet the strictest requirements.
As the worldwide approval and certification system covering the supply of electronic components, assemblies and associated materials and processes, IECQ tests and certifies components using quality assessment specifications based on IEC International Standards.
In addition, there are a multitude of related materials and processes that are covered by the IECQ schemes. IECQ certificates are used worldwide as a tool to monitor and control the manufacturing supply chain, thus helping to reduce costs and time to market, and eliminating the need for multiple re-assessments of suppliers.
IECQ provides manufacturers with independent verification that IEC International Standards and other specifications have been met by suppliers who hold an IECQ certification.
For more information on IECQ: www.iecq.org