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Saturday, July 28, 2007

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology". IEC standards cover a vast range of technologies from power generation, transmission and distribution to home appliances and office equipment, semiconductors, fibre optics, batteries, solar energy, nanotechnology and marine energy to mention just a few. Wherever you find electricity and electronics, you find the IEC supporting safety and performance, the environment, electrical energy efficiency and renewable energies. The IEC also manages conformity assessment schemes that certify whether equipment, systems or components conform to its International Standards. The IEC publishes standards with the IEEE and develops standards jointly with the ISO as well as the ITU.

The IEC held its inaugural meeting on 26 June 1906, following discussions between the British IEE, the American IEEE (then called IEE), and others, which began at the 1900 Paris International Electrical Congress, and continued with Colonel R. E. B. Crompton playing a key role. It currently counts more than 130 countries. Sixty-seven of these are members, while another 69 participate in the Affiliate Country Programme, which is not a form of membership but is designed to help industrializing countries get involved with the IEC. Originally located in London, the commission moved to its current headquarters in Geneva in 1948. It now has regional centres in Asia-Pacific (Singapore), Latin America (São Paulo, Brazil)and North America (Boston, USA.

The IEC charter embraces all electrotechnologies including energy production and distribution, electronics, magnetics and electromagnetics, electroacoustics, multimedia and telecommunication, as well as associated general disciplines such as terminology and symbols, electromagnetic compatibility (by its Advisory Committee on Electromagnetic Compatibility -ACEC-), measurement and performance, dependability, design and development, safety and the environment.

Today, the IEC is the world's leading international organization in its field, and its standards are adopted as national standards by its members. The work is done by some 10 000 electrical and electronics experts from industry, government, academia, test labs and others with an interest in the subject.

The IEC was instrumental in developing and distributing standards for units of measurement, particularly the gauss, hertz, and weber. They also first proposed a system of standards, the Giorgi System, which ultimately became the SI, or Système International d’unités (in English, the International System of Units).

In 1938, it published a multilingual international vocabulary to unify electrical terminology. This effort continues, and the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary remains an important work in the electrical and electronic industries.

IEC standards have numbers in the range 60000–79999 and their titles take a form such as IEC 60417: Graphical symbols for use on equipment. The numbers of older IEC standards were converted in 1997 by adding 60000, for example IEC 27 became IEC 60027.

Standards developed jointly with ISO such as ISO/IEC 26300, Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 carry the acronym of both organizations. The use of the ISO/IEC prefix is limited to publications from ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 on Information Technology, as well as some ISO/IEC guides.

The CISPR (Comité International Spécial des Perturbations Radioélectriques) – in English, the International Special Committee on Radio Interference – is one of the groups founded by the IEC.


The IEC is made up of members, called national committees, and each NC represents its nation's electrotechnical interests in the IEC. This includes manufacturers, providers, distributors and vendors, consumers and users, all levels of governmental agencies, professional societies and trade associations as well as standards developers from national standards bodies. National committees are constituted in different ways. Some NCs are public sector only, some are a combination of public and private sector, and some are private sector only. About 90% of those who prepare IEC standards work in industry.

Member countries include:

* Argentina - Instituto Argentino de Normalización y Certificación (IRAM)
* Australia- Standards Australia
* Austria - Österreichischer Verband für Elektrotechnik (ÖVE)
* Brazil - Comitê Brasileiro de Eletricidade, Eletrônica, Iluminação e Telecomunicações (Cobei)
* Canada - Standards Council of Canada
* China - Standardization Administration of China (SAC)
* France - Union technique de l'électricité et de la communication (UTE)
* Germany - Deutsche Kommission Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik im DIN & VDE
* India - Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
* Italy - Comitato Elettrotecnico Italiano (CEI)
* Japan - Japanese Industrial Standards Committee
* Russia - Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (Rostekhregulirovaniye)
* South Africa - South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)
* Spain - Asociación Española de Normalización y Certificación (AENOR)
* Switzerland - Swiss Electrotechnical Committee (CES)
* Vietnam - Vietnamese National Committee Directorate for Standards and Quality (STAMEQ)
* United Kingdom - British Standards Institute (BSI)
* United States - American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

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