Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has released a white paper on the new industry standard for audio/video, information technology and communication technology equipment, IEC 62368-1. UL is using the paper to educate manufacturers about the standard's groundbreaking testing methods that accommodate the convergence of technology, where products have become interconnected and interchangeable; those originally designed for business have entered the home; and new users, such as children, have mastered and embraced equipment almost exclusively used by adults.
IEC 62368-1 was developed by the committee IEC TC108 to be technology-neutral and performance-based, rather than based on prescribed constructions like current standards. It employs a new form of safety testing, Hazard Based Safety Engineering (HBSE), which evaluates hazards that can be transferred to end users and how technology products safeguard against these potential dangers. HBSE enables engineers to integrate safety compliance early in the product design cycle, and supports sound engineering principles, research and field data.
Eight years in development, the new standard meets the following objectives, as outlined by IEC TC108:
- A single standard for a broad range of products, leading to design and manufacture of safe products
- Technology-neutral and stable, enabling the introduction of new technology to the marketplace easier
- Clear identification of the hazard being addressed
- Performance-based (rather than prescribed constructions), allowing proven prescriptive construction options, as warranted
- A (Type) test standard, but not a simple merger of legacy standards IEC 60065 and IEC 60950
- Useful to designers, but suitable to assess conformance by suppliers, purchasers, and certifiers
- Allow for minimization of national/regional differences.
The standard does not become mandatory until 2015, but UL encourages designers and manufacturers to start working toward it now. To download a copy of the HBSE white paper or learn more about related testing and certification services, visit the High Tech section of UL.com or www.uluniversity.com/thoughtleadership.