Nailing safety

Products tested to international standards instil confidence

By Antoinette Price

Power tools are lighter, perform better and last longer, thanks to improved cordless battery technology, benefiting professionals in manufacturing, aerospace, automotive and construction, and amateurs alike. This booming global industry is expected to post revenues of more than USD 34 billion by 2020, according to market research by Technavio.

robot lawn mower Robot mowers can be programmed to cut specific lengths at certain times (Photo: Holger Casselmann/Wikimedia Commons)

Doing it yourself

In an age of DIY TV shows and step-by-step explanatory Internet videos, more people are having a go, whether hanging a painting, building a shed, or carrying out basic car maintenance. This is possible thanks to affordable, relatively easy to operate power tools.

There’s a tool for just about every job, ranging from mains-operated, electric-powered and robotic battery-powered lawn mowers, garden blowers, to hand-held motor-operated or magnetically-driven electric tools. These include drills, screwdrivers, impact wrenches, grinders, planers and disk-type sanders, hammers, spray guns for non-flammable liquids, shears and an array of saws.

One tool many parts

Electric tools and gardening appliances are comprised of a wide range of components and parts. A multitude of IEC International Standards prepared by technical committees (TCs) and subcommittees (SCs) are used for their design, manufacturing, as well as to ensure their safe use.

IEC TC 116: Safety of motor-operated electric tools, produces International Standards for the safety of hand-held motor-operated electric tools, transportable motor-operated electric tools, and garden appliances.

Testing the equipment

While users in the home and workplace must follow safety procedures and work sensibly with power tools, manufacturers must do their part to ensure that their products have been designed with built-in safety mechanisms.

IECEE is the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components. It operates the CB Scheme, through its registered National Certification Bodies (NCBs) and Certification Body Testing Laboratories (CBTLs), which can test and certify all electrical hand-held tools manufactured against the IEC 62841 series of International Standards on electric motor-operated hand-held tools, transportable tools and lawn and garden machinery, developed by IEC TC 116.

Tests cover protection against access to live parts, input and current, endurance, abnormal operation, mechanical hazards and strength, switches, internal wiring, supply connection and external flexible cords, provisions for earthings and resistance to heat, fire and rust.

Everyone wins

Everyone stands to benefit from the IECEE CB Scheme, whose members agree to the mutual acceptance of test reports and certificates dealing with the safety of electrical and electronic components, equipment and products.

Manufacturers, suppliers and consumers can be confident that power tools, which have undergone testing and certification, have done so to the highest safety, reliability and performance requirements contained in the IEC International Standards. Additionally, manufacturers can get their products to market faster, saving time and cost, by avoiding the need for multiple tests.

Gallery
Cordless jigsaw Cordless power tools are lighter, perform better and last longer (Photo: Makita)
robot lawn mower Robot mowers can be programmed to cut specific lengths at certain times (Photo: Holger Casselmann/Wikimedia Commons)
power tool The DIY industry is booming thanks to easy to use power tools