IEC stands for International Electrotechnical Commission. It is a group that develops standards that are used in countries around the world. These standards are focused specifically on electrical, electronic, and other related topics, which they sum up as ‘electrotechnology.’ The IEC can trace its history back to 1881 when the first International Electrical Congress took place. This was in Paris and an agreement on the International System of Electrical and Magnetic Units was developed. Over time the organization became more formalized, and in 1906 the first president, Lord Kelvin, was elected.
Standards from the IEC?
The IEC has standards in place on a wide range of different technologies. These include power generation, power transmission, power distribution, home appliances, office equipment, semiconductors, fiber optics, batteries, nanotechnology, solar energy, marine energy, and more. In addition to those, they also manage multiple global conformity assessment systems that offer certifications on whether equipment, components, or systems conform to established standards.
Countries around the world are associated with the IEC at various levels. The countries are called national committees and represent a nation’s electrotechnical interests at the IEC. The people who are part of these committees include manufacturers, distributors, vendors, consumers, governmental agencies, professional societies, trade associations, and other interested parties.
Various countries have different levels of membership in the IEC. Most industrialized countries are considered full members. Others are listed as associate members, and then there are affiliates. The associate members have limited voting rights and few managerial rights with the group. Affiliates are typically developing nations that will benefit from the standards and being involved with the process, but they don’t have voting rights or other responsibilities.
Regardless of the level of participation any country, company, or organization has with the IEC, everyone benefits from the existence of the standards they produce. Many other organizations and even governmental regulations are based off of the standards that are published and managed by the IEC.
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