What would a world without IECQ look like?
Electronic components play an ever increasing role in our lives. At home, at work, on the road, in the air, whatever we do, wherever we are, we rely on electronics to make our lives easier and safer, provide better communication and operate in a world that has become global and interconnected.
Imagine if the components in electrical devices didn’t work consistently? Equipment would fail or operate intermittently, communications would be unreliable and repair shops would grow exponentially. IECQ, the IEC Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components, helps to ensure that electronic components and associated materials, assemblies and processes work dependably.
“If IECQ had not been formed there would be no international certification system for components and no model for other such systems,” said Dave W. Smith, Chairman of the IECQ Management Committee. “It was a first and it was created because nations and their industries wanted IECQ to facilitate trade.”
In the beginning
In the early 1970s, electronic devices were just at the outset of their development. The Atari and the Merlin Handheld Game were marketed and people seemed fascinated by moving lights and little beeping sounds. Electronic calculators went from being heavy, large and boxy items that lived on the desks of the most affluent to smaller and more affordable items. Apple II was launched in 1977 and by the 1990s the personal computer was a standard item for most middle income households.
In a world, in which electronics industries were growing and starting to flourish, there was a need to have a global electronic component certification system. “At the time when IECQ was being developed, there was a European system for electronic components but there was nothing on an international level. IECQ was trail blazing,” said Smith.
In those early years, from 1971 to 1974, the IECQ Provisional Management Committee prepared the Basic Rules and Rules and Procedures of the organization. In September 1974 the IEC Council agreed to form IECQ. By 1976 IECQ had also developed a management committee, known as the CMC (Certification Management Committee), which was open to all IEC National Committees that chose to join the System.
IECQ was officially operational on an international basis as of 1 January 1982.
Merger between CECC and IECQ
To ensure that everyone was on-board and heading in the same direction, the CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) CECC (Electronic Components Committee) began to negotiate a merger with the IEC between CECC and IECQ. These negotiations started in 1998. In April 2003, at the CMC meeting in Guangzhou, China, a formal merger was agreed upon with the creation of IECQ-CECC. The name reflected the fact that it was a merger, not a takeover. In 2005 the Management Committee simplified the name of the System to IECQ.
Creation of Schemes
The work of IECQ is based on its five schemes and their programmes.
- IECQ HSPM
The first scheme was created in 2005. The IECQ HSPM (Hazardous Substances Process Management) Scheme was designed to evaluate equipment manufacturers' and related organizations' processes for compliance with QC 080000, which is an IECQ specification.
IECQ HSPM provides the requirements used to demonstrate to the international market-place that the organization has developed, documented, and implemented processes for managing the production, selection and use of electronic components, assemblies, processes and related materials in accordance with customer, local, national and international hazardous substance- free requirements for its scope of activity.
- IECQ ITL Approval
IECQ ITL (Independent Testing Laboratory) Approval is available to independent testing laboratories required to carry out tests in support of IECQ activities within the IECQ System. The approval covers the type of tests to be carried out, the component ranges to be tested and the facilities available, and exceeds the relevant requirements of ISO/IEC 17025: General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
In order to gain approval, an independent testing laboratory must demonstrate that its organization and facilities comply with IECQ requirements for the competence of staff and adequacy of testing facilities, and for performing their functions under the IECQ System.
- IECQ Avionics Scheme
The Scheme is designed to evaluate commercial, military and aerospace (avionics) equipment manufacturers' and related organizations' processes for compliance with IEC TS 62239: Process management for avionics - Management plan - Part 1: Preparation and maintenance of an electronic components management plan, as well as IEC TS 62647: Process management for avionics - Aerospace and defense electronic systems containing lead-free solder - Part 2: Mitigation of deleterious effects of tin, IEC TS 62668-1: Process management for avionics - Counterfeit prevention - Part 1: Avoiding the use of counterfeit, fraudulent and recycled electronic components, IEC 62396: Process management for avionics - Atmospheric radiation effects - Part 1: Accommodation of atmospheric radiation effects via single event effects within avionics electronic equipment, and IEC TR 62240-1: Process management for avionics - Electronic components capability in operation - Part 1: Temperature uprating.
- IECQ AC Scheme
The AC (Approved Component) Scheme may be applied to electronic components, products, related materials and assemblies for which a technical standard or specification exists or a client specification has been accepted for use in the IECQ system. This may cover, but is not limited to: silicon wafer slabs, integrated and discrete electronic components, connectors, printed wiring boards and components / products / materials that assist in the construction, installation and use of electronic components.
Organizations that hold IECQ Approved Components Certification demonstrate to the international market place that their organization and facilities, through testing and other verification criteria, comply with the requirements of the IECQ System and the relevant declared technical Standards and Specifications for their scope of activity. Components, products, related materials and assemblies produced within the defined scope of activity of the IECQ Approved Components Certification are recognized as IECQ certified, and can be released with a Declaration of Conformity, providing confidence that the components are produced using manufacturing processes that have been successfully assessed and are under the constant scrutiny of an independent, internationally accepted IECQ Certification Body.
- IECQ AP Scheme
The AP (Approved Process) Scheme may be applied to any process which affects the conformity or compliance of electronic components that relate to assemblies or services. This may cover, but is not limited to: product engineering, printed wiring board manufacture, electronic component manufacturing, printed circuit board assembly, electro-static discharge controls or even supply chain management.
Additionally the electronic components industry relies on, as a part of its manufacturing infrastructure, a supporting industry of organizations providing a wide range of specialized services, processing and manufacture of piece parts and material. The IECQ AP Scheme permits such organizations to certify their specialized services or processes under the IECQ Approved Process Scheme.
IECQ future certification opportunities
The IECQ Schemes help facilitate trade, reduce industry costs and eliminate duplication of assessments because certificates are recognized globally in the member countries. This means that once a device is tested under a recognized certification body the certificate is valid everywhere, making it highly valuable. It also provides those components, processes and materials that are certified potential to access international markets.
Today, IECQ is expanding its offerings through CAP (Counterfeit Avoidance Programme), AQP (Automotive Qualification Programme) and anexpansion of the Avionics Scheme. In the future it is possible that IECQ will have an AQP-equivalent for railcars or that other existing Schemes will be allowed to include components that are not used in electronic devices.
“We now have new certification offerings which were never on the horizon when IECQ was born,” said Smith. “Initially, it was purely electronic components and certification testing that was offered but as the System has matured and developed we are considering a broader scope.”
New Chairman and Vice Chairman of IECQ
New Chairman of IECQ
Marie-Elisabeth d’Ornano has been the Deputy Director for Certification at LCIE France Bureau Veritas since March 2013. She joined LCIE France in April 2005 and was responsible for the following markets: transportation, aeronautics and defense. She has a Masters in Engineering from ENSEEIHT, the University for Electronical Engineering, Electronics, Computer Science, Hydraulics and Telecommunications in Paris, France and a Masters in Management of Technology and Innovation from the University Dauphine, Paris, France.
She will be starting as Chairman of IECQ on 1 January 2014.
New Vice Chairman of IECQ
Dr Young-Kwon Chang has been Vice President and Director General of the Planning and Coordination Division of the Korea Testing Laboratory since January 2008. He started with the Korea Testing Laboratory in 1999 and has worked in a number of senior and managerial positions including Manager for the Industrial Facility Safety Analysis Team, and Director of the Reliability Evaluation Team. He has a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Material Science from Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea.
He will be starting as Vice Chairman of IECQ on 1 January 2014.
Dave W. Smith steps down as Chairman of IECQ
Dave W. Smith will be ending his 10 years (three three-year terms + one extra year) as Chairman of the IECQ Management Committee on 31 December 2013. Since 2004, the year Smith began his tenure, IECQ has developed its activities tremendously to become a truly global certification system recognized by the electronic component industry. As Chairman of the Management Committee, Smith represented IECQ at many events, conferences, and trade shows. He also has regular contact with IECQ members, customers and suppliers. He was instrumental in establishing the IECQ CAG (Chairman’s Advisory Group) which was the predecessor of the IECQ Executive Group of which he will remain a member.