This issue covers:
- New BEAMA technical bulletin
- Sentinel safety testers guard against non compliance
- Product recalls being ignored
- Healthy growth in global semiconductors
New BEAMA technical bulletin
BEAMA has published a new technical bulletin on consumer distribution boards.
The move comes in an attempt to clarify a number of issues raised by the forthcoming Regulation 421.1.201 that is intended to improve fire safety in domestic premises.
The content of the new bulletin is fully supported and endorsed by leading industry bodies, including ECA, Electrical Safety First, IET and SELECT.
Keith Smith, BEAMA’s Deputy Director, said: “The primary root-cause of fires in consumer units has been clearly identified as resulting from loose connections and this new regulation is intended to provide a level of enhanced fire risk protection in this event.
"A further point for clarification is that plastic enclosures manufactured from 960 degree glow-wire rated material would not be classified as 'non-combustible' in the context of this Regulation.
"The new Regulation will be part of the Amendment 3 to BS7671 that will be published in January 2015. Full compliance with this new Regulation will be required for installations designed after 1st January 2016. However, this does not preclude compliance with this Regulation prior to this date."
The new technical bulletin is available from www.beama.org.uk.
Sentinel safety testers guard against non compliance
The new Sentinel series of bench-top hipot/flash testers from Clare delivers significant time and cost saving benefits for electronic product type testing applications.
The Sentinel 200, 500 and 501 electrical safety testers enable manufacturers to check their products in-house to ensure compliance with the relevant international technical conformance standards such as EN 60598, UL 1598, IEC and CSA C22.2 before being sent to third party test/approval houses. This can reduce time-to-market timescales - with associated cost savings.
The fast, safe and accurate testing of high voltages up to 5kV AC and 6kV DC is provided across the range while accurate testing up to 500 VA AC power output - allowing for 100mA tripping currents, a requirement in many standards - is available on the Sentinel 500 and 501 units. The latter also provides earth bond/insulation resistance testing.
The Sentinel series offers fully automatic testing and remote control, enabling up to 100 test conditions to be saved and recalled for single test purposes. For sequential testing requirements, manual test settings can be linked together to create up to 100 automatic test sequences, enabling simple recall for repeat testing.
Full details at www.seaward.co.uk/sentinel
Product recalls being ignored
More than 4 million household appliances have been recalled by manufacturers in the past four years with faults that include a risk of fire or electric shock, and yet the majority may still be in UK homes.
The findings are reported in a study published by Electrical Safety First. Since the start of 2011, 228 different electrical products have been recalled– including seven types of fridge, four washing machines and seven hairdryers – yet typically only 10% to 20% of recalled products are ever returned or repaired.
Underestimating the risks posed by recalled products is a major factor in the low recall success rate. Many people surveyed by Electrical Safety First said they associated recalls with ‘annoying faults’ rather than safety, and 2.6 million UK adults say they have knowingly ignored a recall notice. The Charity wants to raise awareness of the risk of ignoring a recall notice after it found that 77% of people would be more likely to respond if they understood the potential dangers.
Electrical Safety First is also keen to stress that whilst there have been a number of high profile fires involving kitchen ‘white goods’ in the past year, smaller items can also pose a safety risk.
Its research found that a fifth of UK adults would be more likely to respond to a recall of a large product than a small product, yet the Charity found the electrical items most reported as faulty or dangerous are smaller ones such as chargers, hairdryers, toasters and kettles. Full details at www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.
Healthy growth in global semiconductors
A report by semiconductor and electronics industry analysts Semiconductor Intelligence forecasts continuing healthy growth in the sector.
The global semiconductor market was $82.2 billion in the second quarter of 2014 according to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS). This figure was up 4.8% from the first quarter of 2014 and was an increase of 10.1% from 2Q 2013.
The analysis says key semiconductor market drivers are generally expected to show improvement in growth rates in 2015 versus 2014. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects 4.0% GDP growth in 2015, up from 3.4% in 2014. Backed by various industry forecasts of growth in unit shipments of PCs and tablets at 9% and of smartphone units at 13% next year, the semiconductor industry is anticipated to again enjoy double digit growth.
Overall, the forecast models at Semiconductor Intelligence predict 10% semiconductor market growth in 2014 accelerating slightly to 11% in 2015. Details at www.semiconductorintelligence.com
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