30 years ago, it was pretty easy to discern what was an Audio/Visual (AV) product and what was a computer (IT). Your high school probably had an AV Club and a Computer Club. And your kids probably have no idea what those are (as they’re laughing at your yearbook photos).
International Electrotechnical Commission
The International Electrotechnical Commission, one of the oldest standards-making bodies in the world, convenes Technical Committees (TC), comprised of various experts, academics, and government officials.
TCs are tasked with creating the actual standards that then will be adopted by the IEC and by extension, the rest of the world.
IEC TC 108
IEC TC 108 is responsible for standards regarding the “Safety of electronic equipment within the field of audio/video, information technology and communication technology.” A few years ago, TC 108 developed a new standard that would replace, not just revise IEC 60065 and IEC 60950-1.
Because the line between “traditional” AV devices and IT equipment was becoming blurrier, it was decided a new “hazard-based” standard would cover both electronic equipment and IT/Communications technology. The result wasIEC 62368-1, Audio/video, information and communication technology equipment - Part 1: Safety requirements.
It is crucial to understand that IEC 62368-1 is a new type of standard:
- new options are allowed for product evaluation, and
- some older definitions and requirements have been changed or removed.
From the beginning, the technical committee meant for IEC 62368-1 to strike a balance. It was intended to:
- be more performance oriented, while still allowing for known constructions if they have previously been proven safe (for example, in IEC 60065 and/or IEC 60950-1).
- be technology independent (within reason), and allow for more design freedom.
- be applicable to a wider range of (known) electronic products, yet still allow easier introduction of new technology to the global marketplace.
The end goal is the design and manufacture of safe products. Because it is to be so widely utilized, the new standard needs to be stable, understandable and user friendly. The new standard is hazard- and performance based, which places more emphasis on evaluating a product for safety during the design stage. There are three significant changes from prior types of standards.
Energy Hazard Limits
Previously, a device was evaluated with regards to how likely a person was to get an electrical shock injury, generally by bridging two ‘live’ operating parts. After considerable study by the Technical Committee, the energy hazard requirement has been removed from IEC 62368-1.
Hazardous moving parts can now be more easily defined by three levels of hazard:
- MS1 is a mechanical hazard that does not cause pain or injury.
- MS2 is a mechanical hazard that does not cause injury but may be painful, (think of pinch points or sharp edges) and
- MS3 is a mechanical hazard that can cause injury, e.g. it requires medical attention.
In order to smooth the transition between the new standard and the legacy standards, components and subassemblies that comply with IEC 60950-1 or IEC 60065 are accepted without further investigation. This will apply only during this transition, and will be phased out in the future.
The implementation date for the new safety standard IEC 62368-1: Second Edition is June 20, 2019. The standard UL/CSA 62368-1 has been adopted in North America and the dates have been aligned with the European Union. To learn more about this new type of hybrid standard, and how complying with it as early as possible will impact your supply chain, check out our resources: