Electronic components can be damaged if they are exposed to extreme temperatures. They also have to be able to withstand a variety of shocks and vibration stresses.
That is why smartphones and tablets, for example, have to undergo stringent testing to make sure that they work properly in hot, cold and humid climates. The tests also measure different environmental stresses electrical and electronic devices endure during usage as well as storage.
Manufacturers must ensure that their devices will perform efficiently, whether in Singapore, South Africa or Sweden.
IEC International Standards, published by Technical Committee 104, are the main tool suppliers can use to ensure they meet these essential requirements. The TC publishes two key series of standards which are widely used around the world.
“For example, the high humidity levels in Singapore call for specific requirements. Even the packaging of electronic devices must meet certain standards that are not necessary in other parts of the world,” explains Chair of TC 104 Olaf Hübschmann.
“Manufacturers have to make sure that the device is protected against shocks and vibrations during shipping, but because of the high humidity levels, drainage holes must be included in the packaging to ensure humidity does not condense and collect inside.”
They are horizontal documents which apply to any electronic or electrical device. The first series is the IEC 60068set of standards which comprises around 70 publications.
These standards specify every type of test, with the exception of some specific requirements, such as electromagnetic compatibility, which comes under the remit of other IEC TCs, including IEC TC 77, CISPR ( International Special Committee on Radio Interference) and TC 106. For the complete list of specific requirements see TC 104 scope).
In February, the IEC released the whole series of IEC 60068-2 Standards, covering tests for cold which determine the ability of components, equipment or other articles to be used, transported or stored at low temperature (IEC 60068-2-1), dry heat (IEC 60068-2-2), vibration (IEC 60068-2-6) or even mould growth (IEC 60068-2-10). These standards ensure consistent and comparable conformity assessment results from anywhere in the world.
IEC operates four worldwide conformity assessment systems.
IECRE is the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications. IECEx is the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres.