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Fitting the pieces together

The role of industry in international standardisation jigsaw. By Bob Taylor.

International standardisation is essential to assisting World Trade. By reaching a consensus on the requirements of various countries and catering for all of these in some way, the process paves the way to the worldwide harmonisation for the technical requirements of electronic and electrical products.
International standardisation is achieved by countries becoming members of the International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC), based in Switzerland. Member countries send experts to the various committees which cover the standards in which they are interested. The standards chosen usually represent the industries on which that country depends. These committees write the standards and are usually made up of industry experts, test house experts, consultants and government bodies – in other words, users of the standards.
In writing the standards, each country has the opportunity to put forward their own requirements in the form of National Deviations. When the standard is complete, each country then has the option to adopt it as a National Standard.
There are currently 51 full member countries and 17 associate member countries in the IEC. Of these, 47 countries participate in the IECEE CB Scheme. This essentially worldwide scheme provides for the National Certification Bodies in the member countries to accept each others test results and Test Reports (called Certification Body, or CB, Reports) for the standards for which a member country registers. In other words, it provides a ‘passport’ in the form of a Certification Body Certificate for products to be sold in different countries throughout the world.

Bob Taylor

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