Safety inside out

How to ensure safer commercial and office environments through IECQ certification

By Claire Marchand

Electronics are everywhere in commercial and office buildings. Elevators, escalators, automatic sliding doors or lighting all rely heavily on electronics nowadays. The same can be said of most of the smaller devices that equip stores and offices. While safety is an important issue for any electronic device, it is becoming crucial for equipment that is used by hundreds, if not thousands, of people every day.

escalators Escalators can be found in airports, train stations, commercial malls and office buildings among others

Safe ride

Take escalators, for example. They are everywhere: in office buildings, shopping malls, department stores, train and underground stations.

They usually have pictograms warning of the dangers of improper use, especially when small children are involved. But manufacturers don’t just rely on good behaviour to prevent accidents from happening. With the emergence of new technologies in the electronics sector in particular, they have put in place many other safeguards to make their products safer.

Today’s escalators are full of switches, sensors, detectors and more. There are switches that stop the escalator if a foreign object gets caught between the steps and the landing.

There are handrail speed sensors that monitor how fast the handrail moves. If the sensor notices a speed difference between the handrail and the steps, it sounds an alarm, pauses, and then automatically stops the escalator.

In automatic-start/stop escalators there are sensor switches that automatically engage the escalator motion when a rider is detected on the first step of the entrance landing platform and stops the escalator when there are no riders on the unit.

There are step demarcation lights, either fluorescent or more recently LEDs (light-emitting diodes). The illumination between the steps improves the passengers' awareness of the step divisions.

Safety comes first

Reliability, safety and performance are of the utmost importance for escalators and all other devices used extensively by a great number of people. One faulty piece of equipment may have disastrous consequences: the escalator won’t stop when something gets caught between steps and landing, sliding doors will close when someone is passing through, and so forth.

This is why it is essential for manufacturers to use high-quality and reliable electronic components when manufacturing their products and equipment.

IECQ plays leading role

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

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 wide range of electronic components covered by IECQ is used in all kinds of technologies, from the smallest device to the very complex equipment.

IECQ operates industry specific Certification Schemes:

  • IECQ AP (Approved Process)
  •    IECQ AP-CAP (Counterfeit Avoidance Programme)
  • IECQ AC (Approved Component)
  •    IECQ AC-TC (Technology Certification)
  •    IECQ AC-AQP (Automotive Qualification Programme)
  • IECQ Scheme for LED Lighting
  • IECQ Avionics
  • IECQ HSPM (Hazardous Substances Process Management)
  • IECQ ITL (Independent Testing Laboratory)

IECQ’s contribution to a safer and more reliable world can only increase with the development of new technologies and state-of-the-art electronic devices.

More information:

escalators Escalators can be found in airports, train stations, commercial malls and office buildings among others
escalator handrail Close up of an escalator that uses an articulated handrail (Credits: The Squirrel, Wikipedia)
airport walkway Airport walkways use the same technology as escalators