This safety doesn’t come out of nowhere. People work behind the scenes to provide us with safe electric lighting fixtures. Industry, standardization, testing and CBs (Certification Bodies) all collaborate to ensure that the products we buy and use have the required safety levels.
International Standards for the lighting industry
A great number of IEC International Standards address the needs of the lighting industry in terms of requirements, tests, safety and EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) for lamps, lamp systems and all related accessories.
The standards cover product and systems specifications, safety, performance, interoperability, impact on the environment (both during production and until disposal) and everything in between.
Lamps, indicators and luminaires are built, wired and connected based on IEC International Standards for use in households, gardens and pools; public and private transportation; industrial complexes; hospitals, stadiums and urban environments; zoos and aquariums; film, photo and theatre production; and much more.
IEC TCs – A systems approach
To produce an IEC International Standard for the lighting industry, many different IEC TCs (Technical Committees) are called to cooperate.
Lighting covers a vast number of applications and involves many different disciplines. Think power supply, batteries, wires, switches, transformers, converters, starters, enclosures, digital control systems in home networks, the colour rendering in monitors and more.
The leading TC for lighting is IEC TC 34: Lamps and related equipment. TC 34’s work is driven by rapid technological developments and changes in regulatory requirements that have to be continuously incorporated into new and existing International Standards. Areas where changes are especially rapid include the automotive industry, alternative light sources such as LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and new government regulations in the area of EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields).
Application designers, engineers, manufacturers and certification and testing bodies, but also retailers, consumers and government organizations, need International Standards that apply the latest knowledge and technical know-how.
Industry today is very conscious of the need to develop products that have less impact on the environment. A special focus is directed towards the use of less toxic materials, substances and processes during manufacturing.
Several SCs (Subcommittees) of IEC TC 34 deal with special projects in the area of new technologies: LEDs, OLEDs (organic LEDs), electronic operation of metal halide lamps, controlgear design for fluorescent dimming, digital lighting interfaces, specifications for lampholders, automotive lamps, etc.
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Without testing and certification, standards remain theoretical. IECEE, the System of Conformity Testing and Certification for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, has been testing and certifying lighting products for many years. The IECEE CB Scheme ensures compliance with the impressive list of IEC International Standards developed for the lighting industry.
Testing and certification in that area address performance and safety issues for a wide variety of products and their accessories. Lamps and luminaires in general, single- and double-capped fluorescent lamps, floodlights, LED modules for general lighting, cords, lampholders, switches, insulation, temperature control, wiring and earthing are some examples of the products and related equipment that undergo testing.
International Standards on which the IECEE testing and certifying is based is available from the IECEE website.