Focus on industrial automation

IECEE launches INDAT, a new service for products and installations in the automation field

By Claire Marchand

The development of automation throughout the 20th century brought enormous changes to the industrial world: some jobs disappeared, others underwent major transformations, new ones were created and, most importantly, the interaction between man and machine was altered forever. In the pre-automation era, machinery had been used to assist workers.

Automation combines the use of control systems and information technology applications to provide solutions to different industrial needs

Safety, reliability and quality through automation

The advantages of having automated systems were soon recognized by industry. The systems enabled human operators to be replaced in tasks that involved hard physical or monotonous work, or those being performed in hazardous environments including fires, nuclear facilities or underwater. Automated systems can also undertake jobs that cannot be performed by human beings because of excessive demands in areas such as speed, size, weight or endurance. Automated processes often result in more consistent quality and reliability in the assembly chain.

Automation changed the industrial landscape

The rapid evolution of IT (information technology) in the second part of the 20th century enabled engineers to create increasingly complex control systems that integrated fully with the factory floor.

The automotive industry, for instance, has been transformed radically by the development of automation. Over time, the food industry, pharmaceutical and other manufacturing companies have also relied heavily on automation to produce more and at lower cost. Today, most sectors of industry use at least some element of automation.

IEC standardization plays major role

The IEC has a number of TCs (Technical Committees) that prepare International Standards connected with specific areas of industrial automation. IEC TC 65: Industrial-process measurement, control and automation, provides many of the Standards that are relevant for industry. IEC TC 2: Rotating machinery, IEC TC 17: Switchgear and controlgear, IEC TC 22: Power electronic systems and equipment, IEC TC 44: Safety of machinery - Electrotechnical aspects, and IEC TC 66: Safety of measuring, control and laboratory equipment, all play important roles in this field.

Specific certification for industrial automation

Most of the International Standards developed by these IEC TCs are already integrated within services provided by IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components.

However, the complexity and sophistication of today’s systems and equipment in industrial plants require a specific approach to safety and security. To provide improved response to industry and market needs, IECEE and its WG (Working Group) 2: Business Development, have produced a new service entirely dedicated to industrial automation. One of the first tasks undertaken by WG 2 was to gather into one product category – INDAT – all the existing IEC International Standards that have a direct bearing on products used in this area.

Safety and functional safety

In industrial plants, overall safety extends further than is traditional with safety: it includes functional safety and has to meet very strict requirements.

Safety can be defined as protection from an unacceptable risk of physical injury or from impairment to the health of people, either directly or indirectly, as a result of damage to property or to the environment.

Functional safety is the part of overall safety that depends on the correct operation of a system or equipment in response to its inputs. If a potentially dangerous condition is detected, either a protective or corrective device or mechanism may be activated to prevent hazardous events arising or some mitigating feature may reduce their consequences.

Neither safety nor functional safety can be determined without taking into consideration the system as a whole as well as the environment with which it interacts.

Cyber security

The security of industrial communications systems is also at stake. TC 65 is currently working on a set of IEC International Standards addressing the security of networks and systems.

Benefits of INDAT

The introduction of the INDAT product category has benefits for industry as well as for IECEE CBs (Certification Bodies) and TLs (Test Laboratories):

  •  it provides a platform offering progressive support of global recognition and acceptance of industrial automation products
  •  it allows for the sharing of expertise, knowledge and tools that enable third-party CBs to deliver compliance services pertaining to the functional safety of industrial automation products
  •  it provides easier and faster market access for industry, eliminates the need for multiple testing and ultimately drastically reduces the costs associated with the global roll-out of products

IECEE facilitates access to market…

A CB Test Certificate is a global passport that allows products to be accepted in all IECEE member countries. It is so well known that global acceptance is a reality, even in countries that are not part of the IECEE community. “One test, one international certificate” opens the doors to the global market.

…through the CB Scheme…

The IECEE CB Scheme provides the assurance that tested and certified products meet the strictest levels of safety, reliability and performance in compliance with the relevant IEC International Standards. It helps reduce costs and time to market, eliminates duplicate or multiple testing and provides a high level of confidence for manufacturers, retailers and consumers alike.

…and the CB-FCS

The CB-FCS Scheme for Mutual Recognition of Conformity Assessment Certificates for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components is an extension of the IECEE CB Scheme in that it also includes factory audits and inspections. It goes far beyond mere product testing by including a complete quality system and surveillance methods at the factory that manufactures a certified product. This is interesting for manufacturers who need to provide proof that products manufactured in a given factory offer a consistent level of quality over time.

IEC International Standards in the INDAT product category

The IEC International Standards listed below are currently available in the INDAT product category.  Other Industrial Automation Standards may be proposed and added to the list in the future.

IEC 61010-1, Safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control, and laboratory use - Part 1: General requirements

IEC 61010-2-201, Safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control and laboratory use - Part 2-201: Particular requirements for control equipment

IEC 60034 series on rotating electrical machines

IEC 60439 series on low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies

IEC 60947 series on low-voltage switchgear and controlgear

IEC 61131 series on programmable controllers

IEC 61204 series on low-voltage power supply devices, d.c. output

IEC 61496 series on safety of machinery - Electro-sensitive protective equipment

IEC 61800 series on adjustable speed electrical power drive systems

IEC 62026 series on low-voltage switchgear and controlgear - Controller-device interfaces (CDIs)

IEC/TS 62046, Safety of machinery - Application of protective equipment to detect the presence of persons

Note: This publication is a Technical Specification. The development of IEC 62046 as an IEC International Standard is currently undeway

IEC 62061, Safety of machinery - Functional safety of safety-related electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems

IEC 60204 series on safety of machinery - Electrical equipment of machines

IEC 62477-1, Safety requirements for power electronic converter systems and equipment - Part 1: General

IEC 62477-2, Safety requirements for power semiconductor converter systems - Part 2: Power Electronic Converters from 1000 V a.c. or 1500 V d.c. up to 35 kV a.c. is under development

These IEC International Standards may be available in other IECEE categories as well.

indat Automation combines the use of control systems and information technology applications to provide solutions to different industrial needs
Depositphotos_14324463_original The automotive industry has been transformed radically by the development of automation
Depositphotos_1740884_original The introduction of IT enabled engineers to create increasingly complex control systems fully integrated with the factory floor.