Shedding a light on IECQ

How to make electronics smart, safe and reliable

By Claire Marchand

Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), Smart Energy and Smart everything…None of these would be remotely possible without electronics. Sensors in particular are present everywhere and they have a major impact on our home and work environments.

airport entrance LEDs
LEDs are now widely used in domestic, residential, commercial and industrial applications

Micro and nano in the limelight

Technological innovations have brought a new generation of sensors, such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). They are smaller, smarter and can be integrated into fixed and portable devices.

But whatever the size of the sensor, the device has to be accurate and reliable. Whatever it measures, the measurement has to be extremely precise. A defective sensor can have serious consequences, putting human lives in jeopardy.

Sensors and much more

Sensor manufacturers and suppliers all over the world have a powerful tool at their disposal, enabling their products to meet the strictest requirements: IECQ testing and certification. IECQ is the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components.

But IECQ doesn’t limit its scope to sensors. As the 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.

In addition, there are a multitude of related materials and processes that are covered by the IECQ Schemes. IECQ certificates are used worldwide as a tool to monitor and control the manufacturing supply chain, thus helping to reduce costs and time to market, and eliminating the need for multiple re-assessments of suppliers.

IECQ Schemes

IECQ operates industry specific Certification Schemes:

Recently IECQ also put forward the LED initiative, recognizing the fact that LED-based lighting solutions are slowly but surely becoming the norm in shops and malls, in offices, at home, for lighting displays and a great number of industrial uses. Today the initiative is about to become an IECQ Scheme.

LED initiative leading to LED Scheme

The IECQ AC Scheme can be used to certify manufacturers and suppliers of electronic components and assemblies used in the production of LED lamps, luminaires and associated LED ballasts/drivers. This led IECQ to form a special Working Group (WG) to enable a standardized approach for testing and assessing components associated with LED lamps and drivers and to facilitate the application of the IECQ AC Scheme to LEDs.

The Working Group, IECQ WG LED, drafted several documents that have been approved by the IECQ management Committee and published in June 2015:

  • IECQ 03-8: Rules of Procedure for the new Scheme
  • IECQ OD 3801: Operational Document covering the standardized process to be used by all IECQ Certification Bodies
  • IECQ OD 3802: Operational Document covering the quality system requirements applicable to manufacturers of components and assemblies used in LED-lighting systems, that are over and above the base requirements of ISO 9001

These documents are available on the IECQ website.

The first applications from manufacturers and Certification Bodies are now underway.

Benefits for all

To the manufacturer, the IECQ AC and LED Scheme provide a “standardized way” of evaluating suppliers and are powerful tools in assessing and monitoring various tier-level suppliers. They remove the cost burden of monitoring and controlling the supply chain, from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to their suppliers, while also protecting the OEM brand name in the market. They also help prevent poor-quality LED systems from entering the market which can lead to overall slower market expansion due to trust issues.

For component and module suppliers, the benefit is the on-going assessment/evaluation conducted by a single organization – IECQ – as opposed to multiple second-party assessments and various differing criteria by each of their OEM customers.

Targeting the automotive sector

During the past year, the IECQ Automotive Qualification Programme (AQP) issued its first certification. The AQP provides the automotive industry with a cost effective way to ensure that the components they are buying meet expected quality, safety and reliability requirements.

IECQ AQP gives the automotive industry a standardized way of testing the components to ensure their reliability. This way, automotive manufacturers know how the performance of components compares. IECQ AQP will help automotive manufacturers avoid multiple second party assessments and tests and related costs.

Raising awareness

To reach out to industry and raise awareness about the System and its Schemes, IECQ regularly participates in several international trade show and events, such Taitronics and Autotronics in Chinese Taipei, as well as the biennial Electronica in Germany.

In the past 12 months, IECQ also organized training sessions for auditors in China and Chinese Taipei.

More information on IECQ:

airport entrance LEDs LEDs are now widely used in domestic, residential, commercial and industrial applications
LED module LED module (Photo: Samsung)
LED dashboard THE IECQ AQP provides the automotive industry with a cost-effective