TC News - Archives



Strategic Business Plan to be tested by selected TCs over the coming 12 months August

New IEC strategic business plan to be tested over the following 12 months

During the past year, the IEC has been putting into place a new structure that corresponds better to present day requirements of the market. One of the results has been the institution of a business plan approach to operational work.


In this context, it follows that the SMB (Standardization Management Board) took the decision at its meeting in June to set up a trial period of 12 months during which certain representative technical committees would test out a strategic business plan (SBP). This SBP is aimed at replacing the present strategic policy statement that each technical committee and subcommittee publishes as an integral part of its mission and which is set as a reminder of the global focus of activities each committee aims to undertake.


The text of the SMB decision reads:


SMB Decision 129/11 - SPSs
The SMB thanked ahG 24 for the proposals to improve the SPS of IEC TCs and agreed to:

1. a more market oriented SPS as outlined in document SMB/3481/R
2. focus on strategic issues not available on the website
3. modify the designation to “strategic business plan”
4. trial a few TCs with the new “SBP”, for use as guidance before agreeing to implementation for all TCs

AhG 24 is asked to analyse the results of the trial to ensure that those SBPs correspond to the desired result for use as examples for other TCs and report to SMB by June 2008.


The technical committees selected for the trial come from representative areas of work within the IEC:


TC 3, Information structures, documentation and graphical symbols
TC 9, Electrical equipment and systems for railways
TC 25, Quantities and units, and their letter symbols
TC 31, Equipment for explosive atmospheres
TC 44, Safety of machinery - Electrotechnical aspects
TC 48, Electromechanical components and mechanical structures for electronic equipment
TC 77, Electromagnetic compatibility
TC 86, Fibre optics
TC 89, Fire hazard testing
TC 91, Electronics assembly technology
TC 100 Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment


The convenor of the SMB Ad-hoc Group 24 that was first mentioned in TC News in August 2006, Thomas Wegmann, will be setting up the test. He aims to ensure, through this trial phase, that the guidelines provided for the new SBPs are clear and that, in participating and carrying out the exercise themselves, TCs will provide examples that the remaining majority will be able to use as models in preparing their own SBPs in the future.

In addition to the background and business environment, or ecological and work programme sections of the present strategic policy statement, the future document pays increased attention to market trends and demand in terms of client needs and technological developments, and includes a broadened approach to energy and efficiency throughout the entire life cycle of a product including material procurement.
The SBP not only includes electronic hyperlinks that refer to existing subcommittees and show liaisons with other working groups or IEC pages or individual technical committee websites. In particular, it pays attention to system aspects (referred to in Administrative Circular AC/37/2006) that ensure an approach is far more global. Finally, it lists the objectives and strategies of the technical committee/subcommittee, providing a time-limited, achievable action plan that is relevant to future work.

(August 2007)

TC / SC secretaries' forum to be held in São Paulo, Brazil in November 2008 August

TC / SC secretaries' forum

This year, the General Meeting of the IEC is being held in Paris and because planning constraints for the meetings have spread the venues out over a wide geographical area in Paris, the next TC/SC secretaries' forum will be held during the IEC General Meeting scheduled for November 2008, in São Paulo, Brazil.

(August 2007)

Global relevance toolbox — IEC Standards published are required by WTO's TBT to be globally relevant July

Standards published by IEC are required to be globally relevant by TBT agreement

One of the obligations in adopting the WTO (World Trade Organization) Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement (TBT) is to make developing, adopting and publishing IEC International Standards globally relevant.


This implies that IEC standards are expected to facilitate trade on an international level. Standards are supposed to do away with unnecessary trade barriers by being sufficiently global to have the broadest possible acceptance in all countries. In turn, they need to respond fairly to regulatory and market needs, scientific and technological developments.


It follows that one of the necessary attitudes in adopting this approach is to think globally, as opposed to nationally or locally, so that publications can be used worldwide and adopted by as great a number of stakeholders as possible in all markets around the world.


There are rare exceptions to this policy, for example, differences in infrastructure, such as mains voltages. IEC TCs have adopted a number of techniques to take these differences into account, differences which could not realistically be removed to permit adoption of a single unified standard.

Now, the IEC has developed a global relevance toolbox that contains a broad variety of techniques and examples to help technical committees reach this goal. The toolbox has been published in the form of an administrative circular, AC/22/2007.

(July 2007)

SMB calling for NC participation in new TC on renewable energy — Wave and tidal energy convertersJune

World's technical experts are to help harness wave and tidal energy

In February, 2007, the SMB set up a strategy group to study Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies. In the May edition of TC News we reported that SMB (Standardization Management Board) were to decide on how to deal with renewable energy activities in the IEC.


At the June SMB meeting a presentation was given by Dr. Gouri Bhuyan, Chairman of the International Energy Agency's Ocean Energy Systems Executive Committee, whose present programme focuses on ocean waves and marine currents.


The decision taken by the SMB at that meeting was to set up an entirely new committee, TC 114, Marine Energy – Wave and Tidal Energy Converters, to develop International Standards for wave and tidal energy technology that will help establish this promising source of renewable energy as a competitive form of electrical energy production.


The creation of this new technical committee dealing specifically with the area of renewable energies (RE), follows those already working on water, sun and wind, namely TC 4, Hydraulic turbines, TC 82, Solar photovoltaic energy systems, TC 88, Wind turbines and, as an efficient alternative form of energy to work in parallel with RE, TC 105, Fuel cell technologies.


According to the 2006 Outlook published by the International Energy Agency, world production of electricity is expected to double over the next quarter-century and renewable energy production to increase by 57%. Indeed, to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, mitigate the effects of global warming, and to raise the living standard of people in developed and developing countries it is important be able to adopt a large scale use of renewable energy.


The report issued by the International Energy Agency to the recent G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany stated that: "Accelerated deployment of renewables can significantly reduce CO2 emissions, enhance energy security and further reduce technology costs."


Much of renewable energy is an emerging field of research, technology and manufacturing and a new industry is growing up. The IEC will help to ensure that, as the technologies mature, the International Standards will help to bring down technology costs to make renewable energy increasingly competitive with existing energy alternatives, while ensuring the transfer of expertise from traditional energy systems.


Standards that will be developed by the new grouping of experts will cover the performance of tidal and wave energy converters, how these converters will plug into electricity grid systems, and how they should be tested.


Tidal or ocean energy devices are either floating or fixed and, to generate electrical energy, they tend either to oscillate or to rotate. Research on this technology started in Japan in the 1940s. While there has been limited use since the 1970s, functioning units have been in use in various countries since the 1990s, mostly as prototypes.


National Committees now have until August to let the SMB know that they intend to participate actively as P-members (participating) in the new TC.


As part of the IEC's activities in monitoring work in the area of energy efficiency and renewable energies, technical committee and subcommittee officers will shortly receive a questionnaire designed to allow the IEC to create a full inventory of its activities in these areas. Whilst some the work of some TC and SCs is relatively easy to identify, there are many TC/SCs which may have less obvious work in progress, (for example, the materials used to manufacture cables has a considerable influence on energy efficiency). The results of the questionnaire will be used to identify areas which are not currently being covered by the IEC. All TC and SC officers are strongly encouraged to return the questionnaire.

(June 2007)

Stabilized standards, those that use older technology, will not be put into a separate category May

No additional category of standards to be added

SMB decision — 128/2 – Handling of stabilized standards for TC 100


Towards the end of last year TC 100 asked the SMB (Standardization Management Board) to consider creating a new category of standards in the maintenance cycle of TC documents that they proposed to label as "stabilized standards".


This proposal for a new category was particularly put forward with a view to dealing with house standards where the level of maturity is such that maintenance is no longer deemed to be necessary.


However, the request was also largely influenced by the problem that exists in being able to find experts at a National Committee level who are able to respond to a wide range of technologies that although covered by standards written over the previous decades, are now no longer either taught or applied.


Based on its present policy, the SMB decided not to create the requested category of "stabilized standards" and ruled that a maintenance review should still be undertaken every fifteen years.

(May 2007)

Ocean energy devices — SMB to rule on creating new TC for Marine Energy, i.e. wave & tidal conversionMay

SMB to decide on new technical activity concerning Ocean Energy Devices

In the November edition of TC News we reported that the SMB (Standardization Management Board) had asked TC 88, Wind Turbines, to study the possibility of expanding their scope to include the broader aspects of ocean energy devices.


This was in response to TC 4, Hydraulic Turbine's answer that it was not able to undertake responsibility for the entire area of activity. The SMB has now received a proposal to create a new Technical Committee for Marine Energy which would cover all aspects of “Wave and Tidal Energy Conversion". The matter is up for discussion at the forthcoming June SMB meeting and will be supported by a presentation from the International Energy Agency.


Check out TC News here next month for more on this proposal for the new field of IEC activity.

(May 2007)

Indicative transitional period between old and new versions can be added to foreword of IEC safety standards April

Transitional period between old and new versions of standards to be indicated as guidance in foreword of standards

SMB Decision 128/17 – Transitional period for the adoption by member countries of IEC safety publications


There is an obvious intermediary period between the announcement that a previously existing older version of a standard is being superseded by a revised or new version and its actual adoption. This time lag is one that affects both manufacturers and regulatory authorities, whether in their trading or their compliance activities.


In the first case, manufacturers may find themselves having to comply with several different versions of the same standard in order to gain access to various markets in the world. In the second, regulatory bodies have to define and enforce dates on which standards will take effect. That requires assistance and guidance from experts.


On the basis of a proposal submitted by ACOS and TC 61, the SMB therefore examined the possibility of defining a transitional period that could be used voluntarily by member countries who adopt the IEC safety publications. The SMB particularly underlined this voluntary – as opposed to mandatory – nature of IEC standards.


As a result, the SMB agreed that technical committees and subcommittees developing safety standards should be permitted to indicate a transitional period during which both the old and new editions of standards would be available. This period would be stated in the foreword of the standard, but again, since adopting a standard is never compulsory but something a national committee chooses to do, its aim would only be to provide informative guidance in helping National Committees define their own transition process.

(April 2007)

IEC to have patent policies in common with ISO and ITUMarch

IEC, ISO and ITU agree on common patent policy

SMB Decision 128/24 – ISO/IEC/ITU Common Patent Policies


IEC to present joint agreement at the Standards Edge conference on 17-18 April in Beijing

The IEC ISO ITU patent policy encourages early disclosure and identification of any patents that might be relevant to the development of a standard so long as such intellectual property is made available under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. It also offers common guidelines that provide practical guidance to participants in the three Technical Bodies helping avoid potential patent right problems and develop standards more efficiently.


At its February meeting, the SMB welcomed the draft guidelines for the Implementation of the common patent policy for ITU-T/ITU-R/ISO/IEC and agreed with the ISO/TMB (Technical Management Board) resolution to make every effort to obtain patent information in cases where a patent holder refuses to grant licences free of charge or under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions. The comments the SMB made were forwarded to the three CEOs for further consideration and action.

In the meantime it has now been announced that the guidelines for the common patent policy have been ratified by the three WSC (World Standards Cooperation) member bodies.


For this purpose, patent holders use a patent statement and a licensing declaration form in which they specify one of three different situations, namely:

  • Willing to negotiate licences free-of-charge with other parties;
  • Willing to negotiate licences with other parties based on reasonable terms and conditions;
  • Not willing to negotiate licences, in which case, patent information is not included in the standardization and the objective of ensuring compatibility of technologies and systems on a worldwide basis is not met.

IEC’s Jack Sheldon, Strategic Development Manager, is to present the joint policy on behalf of ISO, ITU and the IEC at the upcoming Conference, The Standards Edge, in Beijing on April 17-18 2007.

(March 2007)

CENELEC delegation visits IEC with a view to creating closer relations and a shared platformFebruary

High-level CENELEC delegation visits IEC

As part of a move to create closer working relations with those regional bodies working in areas directly linked to electrotechnology and the IEC, a delegation from CENELEC, the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization, led by its President, Ulrich Spindler, visited the IEC Central Office on 1 and 2 February 2007.


Since both organizations have many members that are common to both, creating a shared platform in the form of “collaborative tools” which can be used bilaterally and equally by experts, both in the IEC and CENELEC, is seen to be beneficial to all.


This first formal encounter was one of becoming better acquainted. IEC staff, led by General Secretary Aaron Amit, gave presentations covering:

  • Overview of Central Office operations (Aaron Amit)
  • Technical standards development (Michael Casson)
  • IT operations and strategy (Christian Giorla, Alan Maislisch)
  • Standardization Management Board operations (Jack Sheldon)
  • Role of National Committees; IEC Centenary; Marketing and Promotion (Jonathan Buck)

The one-and-a-half day meeting concluded with a presentation by CENELEC staff on the main operations of their Central Secretariat and its structure.

(February 2007)

Subcommittee 17A, High-voltage switchgear and controlgear, issues Good Practice GuideJanuary

Subcommittees 17A & 17C, High-voltage switchgear and controlgear, issue Good Practice Guide

This month, Subcommittees 17A and 17C, announced the publication of their online document Good Working Practice.


This publication follows the report in the September issue of TC News that the Standardization Management Board had not only granted the right to TC 31 (Equipment for explosive atmospheres) to go ahead with publication of their own document, but had requested other TCs to draft similar documents relating to their own activities.


Subcommittees 17A and 17C are the first to produce this type of document since the request was issued by the Standardization Management Board following their January 2006 deliberations.


The document provides online dynamic links to information on and templates for drafting standards, commenting on resolutions, convening and organizing meetings, together with other information that is particularly useful for the Maintenance Team members, Chairman, Secretaries and Convenors.


SC17A and 17C ’s Good Working Practice document is available for consultation online – in the same manner as the strategic policy statement – from the section "General information" that appears on the TC dashboard pages of the IEC website.

(January 2007)

New subcommittees for explosive atmospheres and household appliancesJanuary

New subcommittees for explosive atmospheres and household appliances

A new subcommittee, previously part of ISO activities, is to be integrated in TC 31 (Explosive atmospheres) as TC 59 (Performance of household and similar electrical appliances) takes over the activities of an ISO subcommittee.


TC 31
Following the IEC Standardization Management Board’s proposal, Chief Executive Officers and members of the ISO Technical Management Board and the IEC SMB are to meet together shortly to create the procedure necessary to deal with a subcommittee being held by ISO but reporting to an IEC TC. Procedures that will be up for discussion include subjects such as circulation of documents, nomination of experts and voting.


This type of committee, still in embryonic stages, is the first of its type with a united ISO/IEC front. It has the advantage of avoiding duplication of activities in explosive atmospheres within ISO and IEC.


TC 59
At the request of the SMB, the activities of the ISO Subcommittee for testing and rating of household refrigeration appliances is to be transferred to IEC TC 59 since the subject is clearly part of the IEC’s sphere of activities.


The subject came up during the 2005 plenary meeting of TC 59, with a decision to make the request to transfer the ISO SC to the IEC.

(January 2007)