Directives & Standards

Almost every product needs to conform to a particular standard. Examples include designing to AEC-Q100 for the automotive industry and to IEC 60601 for medical products. Meanwhile, systems often need to conform to a range of European Directives, such as EMC or RoHS.

In this section, we keep designers up to date with developments in European Directives and in the standards to which products must be designed.

How can wearables designers navigate the compliance minefield?

With the global market for wearable devices growing rapidly, manufacturers are having to address the quality, performance and safety of their products without specific standards or regulations. According to market researcher Mintel, one Briton in seven now owns a wearable device, with some 3million wrist worn wearable devices sold in the UK in 2015 – a sales growth of 118%.

Energy regulations in power adaptors

The external power supply has become a staple part of system design for the electronics engineer. It provides a convenient means by which to add an AC front-end to a product which already meets international safety approvals. It also provides a faster time to market, with the option to use a connector which suits the application and reduces the risk of a generic power supply being plugged in and causing damage. By supplying a lower DC voltage to the equipment, it becomes easier to design a compact product that complies with all the necessary safety standards – a key consideration in applications in the consumer, industrial and medical markets

What are your obligations when it comes to labelling?

If you ask a designer of electronic or electrical products about the various pieces of European legislation which apply, they will probably discuss EMC and WEEE. If you’re lucky, they might also talk about RoHS and REACH. ?If you ask Richard Poate, senior compliance manager with TÜV SÜD Product Service, about these various requirements, he’ll say there has been a significant increase in the amount of such legislation and that it will continue to grow.

LTE for the IoT: Not one standard but many

Analysts are falling over themselves predicting just how big the IoT is going to be – and it will be big. What is less certain is what will be connecting all these devices. Some companies, such as Sigfox and those in the LoRa Alliance, are rolling out dedicated networks in cities around the world. However, these have the drawback that a new network does need to be deployed and that in most cases the coverage is somewhat limited.

RF tests are the basis for V2X

Wireless technologies are being used to connect vehicles, but in order to ensure that messages are received accurately, developers need to adhere to minimum standards.

ATEX and how this applies to power supplies

The acronym ATEX, derived from the French phrase "ATmosphere EXplosible”, was initially introduced in the European Union to facilitate the free movement of goods and services of equipment used in hazardous environments.The resulting ATEX Directive removed the need to test and document a product for each EU country by harmonising the way different hazardous explosive environments are classified across all industries.

Understanding the need for protection from lightning induced surges

Without question, the feat of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth, has been one the greatest engineering accomplishments in history. The complexities of escaping gravity, entering orbit, and then travelling on to Earth’s ethereal rock companion still boggle the mind nearly fifty years later. Along with thrust, propulsion, astrophysics, and zero gravity considerations, perhaps the most critical element to be considered in the success of the lunar missions was circuit protection.

Compliance with global battery standards: does it have to be painful?

From a purely technical point of view, it seems reasonable to suggest that a battery which is safe to use in one country is equally safe in any other country. After all, it is not as if the control circuitry in a battery pack or the chemistry of the cells undergoes any magical change as it crosses a national border.

Managing cell edge issues

Heterogeneous networks (HetNets) are now being deployed along with Self-Organising Networks (SON) to address the need for increased network capacity. A HetNet comprises a combination of macrocells or eNodeBs with small cells (microcells, picocells and femtocells) relay eNodeBs and remote radio heads (RRH).

Pre-empting and overcoming obsolescence

New Electronics talks to Debbie Rowland, Sales Manager at Charcroft, an independent, specialist distributor based in the UK, about how obsolescence management has and is changing and how organisations can better prepare and plan for obsolescence.

ARM-processor toolchains accelerate safety-critical compliance

With designers increasingly turning to ARM processors for safety-related applications spanning medical, transportation, avionics and industrial segments, the software that runs upon these processors has come under ever-tighter scrutiny as even the slightest error can have disastrous consequences.

Wireless IoT connectivity: which standards can be used?

Connections to the Internet of Things (IoT) will require an unprecedented level of networking in the future, and wireless networks will be playing a predominant role here. Standardisation is required for interoperability and compatibility reasons. However, a single standard will never be able to cover all use cases due to the enormous variety of applications. Some kind of categorisation is required to keep a clear picture.

IP advice: Is this the end for the patent box?

The patent box was introducted as an incentive for companies to protect their innovations and to profit from them. The opt in scheme would potentially reduce the amount of corporation tax payable on profits earned from patented inventions to as little as 10%, though only a proportion of profits obtained from using patented rights receive the reduced corporation tax level. (For more information, enter 'patent box' in the search engine.

The military CE marking conundrum

Many manufacturers and suppliers of electronic military equipment are confused about CE marking requirements, with many presuming their products are exempt from normal commercial regulations. However, the interpretation of military equipment exemption has changed recently.

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