Battery-operated cordless power tools
With the increasing popularity of battery-operated cordless power tools, the IEC International Standards prepared by IEC SC (Subcommittee) 21A: Secondary cells and batteries containing alkaline or other non-acid electrolytes, have an essential role to play. They provide the technical specifications and testing requirements that are needed to evaluate the safety and operating performance of the batteries used in these devices.
A cordless tool also has the advantage that it doesn’t need to be connected to the mains, except for recharging. This removes the risk of accidentally cutting through or damaging the power cord. However, dust and water can also harm the tool and put the user at risk. That’s why all new power tools are tested against IEC 60529, which rates their dust and water resistance using the IP (Ingress Protection) Rating code. The standard is prepared by TC 70: Degrees of protection provided by enclosures.
Additional safety measures are needed for tools that cut – for example, hedge trimmers. They usually require the user to press two contacts simultaneously, using both hands. If one of the contacts is released, the device stops. RCD (residual current device) sensors react to changes in the flow of electricity and are managed by IEC SC 23E: Circuit-breakers and similar equipment for household use.
Sensor-controlled robotic lawn mowers
Another area that depends strongly on IEC work concerns the electronic components that are part of a growing number of tools and devices. One example is the battery-powered robotic lawn mower. It has sensors that recognize when it is on grass that has to be cut and others that make it change direction when it reaches walkways or patios. Such a lawn mower not only needs high-quality electronic components to enable it to function reliably, its manufacturer also needs to prove that the device complies with hazardous substances requirements – for all of this, manufacturers look to IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components.