Unlocking the power of standards
Technology is becoming more and more complex. Users and consumers are depending increasingly on products whose design and construction they may not understand. Conformity assessment provides the reassurance they need.
Does it work as it should?
Conformity assessment refers to any activity that determines whether a product, system or service corresponds to the requirements contained in a specification. A specification, often a standard, is a technical description of the characteristics a product, service or object is required to match.
Supporting all forms of conformity assessment
The IEC supports all forms of conformity assessment and is unique in that it also administers CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems. These Systems bring together thousands of testing laboratories that issue test reports and certificates of conformity for devices, systems, processes and sometimes personnel. They help establish that a product or process is reliable and meets expectations in terms of performance, safety, efficiency, durability and other criteria, or that a person has the required competence to conduct installations, maintenance or repairs.
The IEC CA (Conformity Assessment) Systems – IECEE, IECEx, IECQ and IECRE – each cover a dedicated segment of electrotechnology. Their ultimate objective is to facilitate global product acceptance, where possible, by means of one test, one certification and, when appropriate, one mark valid in all markets.
IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components
IECEE covers safety and performance for a wide variety of equipment and components used in homes, offices, workshops, and healthcare facilities. It also includes toys, electronic components, lighting, Smart Grid, EVs and more. IECEE Test Certificates are mutually recognized by all members. A product that has been tested in one member market will not have to be retested in another, if the relevant national differences have been taken into account. As a result approval and certification at the national level is greatly facilitated. The System is also the exclusive issuer of the PV Quality Mark for PV components and the PV Quality Seal for PV systems. The World Bank often refers to these Quality Marks in tenders for photovoltaic installations.
IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres
IECEx covers the highly specialized field of explosion protection associated with the use of equipment in areas where flammable gases, liquids and combustible dusts may be present. Explosive environments go well beyond the oil, gas and mining industries. They include paper and textile manufacturing, saw mills, sugar refineries, grain storage and handling, and much more. In all these areas, IEC work helps industry and regulators to better protect populations and workers.
The United Nations through the UNECE, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, recommends IECEx as the world’s best practice model for the verification of conformity to International Standards. With it, the harmonization of Ex regulations across many countries is becoming a reality. This is particularly important, because for the first time it will allow countries with more limited markets or means, to access products that offer the highest safety levels possible.
IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components
IECQ ensures the safety and reliability of electronic components used in the IT industry, avionics, and more. It also monitors and tests the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and provides assessment and certification for facilities that handle unprotected ESD (electrostatic discharge) sensitive devices.
The avionics and now also other industries depend on the IECQ Electronic Component Management Plan to assess suppliers and safely manage their components supply chain, to avoid counterfeit merchandise.
IEC Conformity Assessment Schemes on Renewable Energies
IECRE covers the certification needs of renewable energy sources such as wind, marine and solar. These increasingly require a systems approach that also includes risk management, installation, maintenance and repair, as well as overall system performance.