Monitoring frenzy

24/7 connections: how to ensure that measurements are accurate

By Claire Marchand

Is there a time of day or night when we do not rely on electrical or electronic devices in one way or another? Home and workplace are obviously full of appliances, devices and equipment that help us in our daily professional tasks and domestic chores. And with the ever growing number of wearables with us at all times, everything’s connected. Our reliance on electronics seems to be a 24/7 affair.

Street full of LED lighting
The new IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting offers a valuable qualification and supply chain management tool

This is not going to be changing soon, if the tech gurus are to be believed. These new developments touch on every aspect of our lives from the trivial to the essential. Some are mere fun gadgets that will last until a better one - offering even more fun - comes along; others may be far more essential, providing relief or data for specific medical conditions.

Whether we really need them or not, we are always on the lookout for new devices that will help us measure our performances, control every move we make and give a minute by minute update on how well we are doing. At any given time we can check our blood pressure, heartbeat, steps, calorie intake, sleep pattern or the quality of the air we breathe.

Electronics inside…

Whatever their role, all these devices have one thing in common: their electronics. Even the most elementary toaster nowadays comes with electronics inside.

Sensors, connectors, resistors, capacitors, semiconductors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), organic LEDs (OLEDs), microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) are just a few of the numerous electronic components that are widely used in devices, appliances and equipment. The quality of the components is of the utmost importance to ensure complete accuracy of the data provided. And while the number of steps or calories ingested in a given day doesn’t need to be 100% accurate, measurements that target specific ailments have to be precise, for the sake of both the patient and the healthcare provider. Approximations cannot be tolerated. This means that the components that are fitted into any of these devices have to be of the highest quality. One faulty component can have dire consequences.

…tested and certified

Electronic component manufacturers and suppliers have a very powerful tool at their disposal to ensure that their products are safe, reliable and meet the strictest requirements: IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, testing and certification.

As a worldwide approval and certification system covering the supply of electronic components, assemblies and associated materials and processes, IECQ tests and certifies components using quality assessment specifications based on IEC International Standards.

The numerous types of electronic component covered by IECQ are used in all kinds of technologies, from the smallest device to the most complex piece of equipment. Components covered by IECQ include:

  • active components, including integrated circuits
  • electromagnetic components
  • electromechanical components
  • electro-optic components
  • hybrid integrated circuits
  • passive components
  • printed boards
  • wires and cables
  • distributors

In addition, there are a multitude of related materials and processes that are covered by the IECQ schemes.

Spotlight on LEDs

Since many devices and wearables rely on LEDs, it is worth mentioning the new IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting, established under the umbrella of the generic IECQ Approved Component (AC) Scheme. Launched in 2015, it offers a valuable qualification and supply chain management tool that provides for the identification and verification of compliance with component and process specifications.

The IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting can be applied to certify manufacturers and suppliers of electronic components, modules and assemblies used in the production of LED packages, engines, lamps, luminaires and associated LED ballasts/drivers. It provides a “standardized way” of evaluating suppliers and is used as a powerful supply-chain management tool when assessing and monitoring the various tier-level suppliers.

This removes the cost burden of monitoring and controlling the supply chain, from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to their suppliers, while also protecting the OEM brand name in the market. This also helps prevent poor-quality LED systems from entering the market.

Widespread recognition

All IECQ certificates are recognized in all IECQ member countries and beyond, thus helping to reduce costs and time to market and eliminating the need for multiple testing.

More information:

ReSound hearing aids and Apple Watch The ReSound LiNX2 enables wearers to control their hearing via an iPhone/iPad/Apple Watch app
4K OLED curved displays LEDs, OLEDs, MEMS and NEMS are just a few of the numerous electronic components widely used in devices, appliances and equipment
Street full of LED lighting The new IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting offers a valuable qualification and supply chain management tool