Smaller, smarter, safer

IECQ: the best tool for electronic component certification

By Claire Marchand

Smart is the word. Appliances, multimedia equipment, security systems are all becoming more sophisticated, making life much easier and safer. All these devices and systems would not exist without electronic components. To accompany the rapid technological developments of recent years, electronic component manufacturers have been designing products that are smarter, smaller and offer enhanced performance and functionality.

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Electronics inside

Sensors, connectors, resistors, capacitors, semiconductors, diodes, LEDs (light-emitting diodes), OLEDs (organic LEDs) and MEMS (micro electromechanical systems) are just some of the numerous components that are widely used in appliances and multimedia equipment. For them to work smoothly, they have to have high-quality electronics inside. One faulty component can have disastrous effects.

IECQ ensures product safety and reliability

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. At present, there are eight families of components certified by IECQ:

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

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

Hazardous substances: Facilitating proof of compliance

Concern for the environment and the need to eliminate hazardous waste prompted IECQ to devise a new scheme to help electronic component suppliers prove that their products comply with requirements to be free of hazardous substances.

Since the launch of the programme in 2005, the IECQ HSPM (Hazardous Substances Process Management) scheme has grown tremendously. Many countries have passed legislation restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products. The European Union’s RoHS (Restrictions of Hazardous Substances) in electrical and electronic equipment and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directives took effect in July 2006 and are currently being revised.

Through IECQ HSPM certification, electronic component manufacturers and suppliers can demonstrate that their electrical and electronic components and assemblies meet hazardous-substance-free specific local, national and international requirements.

In the same way, manufacturers of home appliances and multimedia equipment who use electronic components that bear IECQ HSPM certification can advertise their products as free of all hazardous materials.

Competitive edge

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.

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Red, green and blue OLEDs with an active surface area of 2x2 millimeters, being tested for performance (Photo: Deutscher Zukunftspreis/Ansgar Pudenz) Red, green and blue OLEDs with an active surface area of 2x2 millimeters, being tested for performance (Photo: Deutscher Zukunftspreis/Ansgar Pudenz)
Smart sensors (Photo: Electromate) Smart sensors (Photo: Electromate)