This issue covers:
- IEC product safety agreement
- Safety in electrical testing at work
- Electronic product recalls in the spotlight
- Travis Perkins plugs in to Clare for reliable electrical safety testing
- Signs of pick-up in German electronics market...
- ...and a positive global outlook for 2014
- Event looks at energy efficiency and appliances
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) have signed a memorandum of understanding that aims to smooth regional and international trade and increase competitiveness and safety of electrical and electronic products in the region.
The agreement is also intended to eliminate excessive administration regulation in the trade of electrotechnical products. The EEC will provide experts in coordination with the IEC National Committees to participate in IEC work. The goal is to stimulate the exchange of scientific and technology information and simplify the requirements of electrotechnical products and guide relevant technical regulations. More at www.iec.ch
The UK Health and Safety Executive has revised its Safety in Electrical Testing At Work (INDG354) publication.
The leaflet is aimed at people who manage or carry out electrical testing, and gives guidance on controlling risks and preventing or reducing danger arising from these activities. The intended audience is anyone involved in electrical testing that is linked to quality assurance tests on electrical components, as well as diagnostic testing, fault finding on electrical plant and routine safety checks.
The guidance reinforces the need to provide a safe working environment and to establish a safe system of work for all involved in electrical testing, and for those who work on or near all types of electrical equipment. Details at www.hse.gov.uk/
The HSE booklet includes among its sources the EN50191 standard for the installation and operation of electrical test equipment.
A full colour Guide to EN50191, of interest to all those with responsibility for ensuring the safe operation of electrical test equipment in manufacturing, compliance, repair and design organisations, is available here.
Closer links between the UK’s Electrical Safety Council’s (ESC) and Eurosafe, the European Association for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, has again put the spotlight on the issue of improving electronic and electrical product recall processes.
ESC Director General, Phil Buckle, has just been appointed to the Board of Eurosafe. The ESC’s Product Safety Campaign has promoted a range of issues, from designing for foreseeable use to consumer education, but a particular focus is the challenge of product recall and traceability to the consumer. Most recall rates are disturbingly low, usually no higher than 20% and with most achieving just 10% effectiveness.
Eurosafe is a network comprised of health and safety agencies, research bodies, civil society organisations and a range of relevant private sector organisations, dedicated to making Europe a safer place. Its aim is to improve the infrastructure, policy and programmes that provide protection in everyday life.
“I was delighted to join the Eurosafe Board”, said Phil Buckle. “It is a particularly relevant relationship for the ESC, as we have been increasing our engagement with the European Parliament, both as part of our Product Safety Campaign and in response to forthcoming EU regulations on product safety and market surveillance.”
The ESC has been lobbying the EU to ensure any new regulations promote best practice for recalls and traceability, and to consider vulnerable users of electrical products when assessing risk.
“During a recent visit to Strasbourg, one of the things we proposed was developing a method by which consumers would allow their personal details to be stored, purely for traceability purposes”, adds Phil Buckle. “It is just one of the ways we aim to help both UK consumers and industry - because safer products and more efficient recalls also result in better business.”
Travis Perkins, the UK’s largest supplier to the building and construction market, is using advanced electrical safety testing technology as part of its commitment to health and safety.
More than 140 of its branches have been equipped with specialist B255 testers from Clare, part of the Seaward Group. The compact bench top tester enables electrical safety tests to be carried out quickly and effectively, ensuring that power tools and other electrical rental equipment functions correctly with maximum safety.
The B255 enables the full suite of electrical safety tests to be carried out at Travis Perkins’ Tool Hire Centres across the UK and includes earth/ground bond and hipot/flash testing alongside load, run and leakage testing.
The tester, which is used together with a fleet of Clare A255 testers, is used as part of an overall process which ensures that all hire fleet electrical equipment such as power drills, breakers, freezing equipment and commercial carpet cleaners are routinely serviced, tested and recorded before being made available for hire.
Test results are entered into a custom database to provide computerised records and service schedules ensuring that the correct functionality and safe operation of equipment is maintained at all times.
Shaun Farrow, workshop trainer for Travis Perkins, said the B255 is the ideal tool hire electrical safety tester. He added: “The safety of our staff and customers is our top priority. Our training programmes are designed to ensure that workshop staff remain up to speed with best practice and industry requirements.
“We work in partnership with Clare to ensure all our branches comply with the HAE standards for electrical safety testing.” Electrical safety testing with the Clare B255 ensures compliance with European and International standards for Class I and Class II electrical products, such as EN60335, EN61029, EN60065, EN50144 and EN60745.
The latest industry figures indicate a continuing recovery in electronics manufacturing in Germany. According to the figures from industry organisation, the FBDi, the electronic component distribution market in the country is stabilising, with sales in the third quarter of 2013, 3.2% higher than the previous period to €716m.
The semiconductor market still shows a weak growth of 1% to €484m compared to the previous year. But new orders are up 13% in the quarter pointing a good 4th quarter. In the same period the passive components increased by 10% in sales and by 11.1% in terms of order income.
“While the German components distribution seems to make progress, it is in contrast to the overall economic situation not the best for electronics’ specialists. Compared to the rest of Europe, the German market has lost slightly,” said Georg Steinberger, FBDi Chairman of the board.
The book-to-bill ratio (ratio of new orders placed to billed) was 1.01 (0.93 in the same period of the previous year). FBDi expects a slightly positive, low single-digit result for the full year.
Electronics industry consultancy Semiconductor Intelligence, expects global industry growth to accelerate during 2014.
The electronics market data specialist says that after 4% growth in the first three quarters of the year, the semiconductor industry’s outlook for Q4 varies from flat to double-digit declines among the leading chip companies. Overall the forecast for the year is an improvement of 5% or 6%, which is anticipated to continue into 2014.
With the IMF expecting world GDP growth to accelerate from 2.9% in 2013 to 3.6% in 2014, Semiconductor Intelligence says that the associated improvement in the electronics sector should accelerate further during the year. As a result its proprietary forecasting model is now predicting global semiconductor market growth of 15% in 2014.
The UK-based Association for the Manufacture of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) is a partner in a special event for electrical manufacturers, retailers and policy makers that will look at the importance of energy efficiency.
Taking place in London on 5th December, the event is being hosted by Global Action Plan (GAP) to explore how to help people cut energy bills, especially when buying home appliances.
The event will include a number of key note speakers to consider the role for incentivising energy-efficient appliances.
The event will also launch the AMDEA and Global Action Plan's new report, Watt's in the Home?
More at www.globalactionplan.org.uk/.
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