The aim of this article is to update you on some of the work that the international experts from the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), are doing for the IEC and the standards for lighting. Some of these international experts are also members of LIF member companies.
The lighting industry produces many varied products for consumers and professional users in the UK and elsewhere. The industry is highly innovative and continually developing new techniques for production to accommodate the new products. How do we ensure that they meet the essential requirements of the relevant directives?
One way is by the development of the safety and performance standards for the components and the products. The work starts at IEC (global) level and the finished standards are parallel voted down through CENELEC and adopted by the member states. The safety standards are listed in the Official Journal of the EU.
These harmonised safety standards then become the basis for compliance with the relevant directives. Compliance with a harmonised safety standard therefore gives the manufacturer the ability to claim that a component or product is deemed to comply with the relevant directive. The safety and performance standards also allow manufacturers to have their components and products “third party certified” to these standards. The advantage here is that the component or product, and the manufacturer and the manufacturing facility, are scrutinised by an independent professional body to ensure that they comply with the requirements of the relevant standards. This would give the manufacturer a competitive edge over uncertified components or products.
The main luminaire safety standard already consists of 22 parts covering the main generic section BSEN 60598-1 and 21 parts for specific types of luminaires. These include luminaires using LEDs.
In this period of dynamic development of LED- based products, the standards committees have worked long and hard to ensure that these new innovations are covered from their safety, as a first priority, and more recently, their performance aspects.
The conventional development of a standard passes through a number of stages of committee and public consultation that can take up to three years before the final standard is available.
However, with the rapid introduction of newer technologies, e.g. LED products, there is a new streamlined process, which is referred to as an IEC PAS and makes available a pre-standard. There are advantages to this process, mainly speed, where the pre-standard can be produced in half of that time.
So what has the IEC been working on lately? Unsurprisingly, the priority has been LEDs but other subjects have also been progressed. For the current situation with LED lamps and luminaires, see the table below.
As you can see, progress on IEC standards for LEDs is moving rapidly across the board, with priority logically on safety requirements first. The LED Luminaire Performance Standard will come out as a PAS through the fast-track process. It relies, for a great part of its requirements, on the LED Module Performance PAS, which provides the base requirements for the modules used in the final luminaire. For those luminaires that do not use an LED module complying with the LED module standard, the extra requirements will be contained in the LED luminaire performance PAS.
Twice the normal speed
Some might say that these IEC standards and specifications should have been available earlier. However, the normal time to produce a robust standard is around three years, with two years of that following from the issue of the CD. With LEDs, each PAS has taken just 18 months or less from the start of the project to the publication of the PAS. This demonstrates that the experts from the industry have really pulled out the stops on this particular technology.
You will see that the last line of the table opposite covers ‘linear LED lamps’. These are the retrofit replacements for linear fluorescent lamps and the IEC is developing a draft IEC standard covering the safety aspects, which is particularly important in this application where the retrofitting often requires adaptation to the existing luminaire itself.
In making that adaptation it is essential to ensure that the modified product is safe and to also check that the lighting performance is sufficient for the user. Additional information on this aspect can be found in LIF Technical Statement No. 41 at www.lif.co.uk.
I hope this explains how the standards-making process is reacting to market needs. If you want to be more involved in the standards-making process you can do so by membership of the LIF. More information on the standards referred to in this article can be found on the LIF website, www.lif.co.uk.