Over the next couple of weeks I will be providing an Introduction the the IECQ system. Today’s blog is the first part of five.
The IECQ-System is a worldwide voluntary certification system for electronic components. The System’s basic idea began in Europe in 1966 with France and Germany, and the United Kingdom agreeing on a regional plan, the aim and purpose of which was to promote the harmonization of -standards and establish testing and inspection procedures to facilitate the interchange of a wide range of products and materials manufactured and distributed within the member countries. As discussions progressed, the plan was elevated to the international action level through the European Commission on Standardization (CEN) and its electrical/electronics arm, (CENEL). The CENEL Plan envisioned that the program would embrace twenty-three part and equipment categories with electronic components and apparatus being the first category. The CENEL Plan, being regional in character and embracing the European Economic Community and European Free Trade Area countries, is not open to membership or participation from countries outside of this group.
THE SYSTEM’S BASIC OPERATING PHILOSOPHY
The basic objective of the System is to facilitate international trade in quality assessed electronic components through the definition and international standardization of quality assessment procedures in such a manner that electronic components released in one participating country in conformance with the System are equally acceptable in all other participating countries without the need for further testing.
PARTICIPATION IN THE SYSTEM
The System is open to all member countries of the IEC which have established domestic organizations to operate within the System Basic Rules and Rules of Procedure, and which agree to recognize without discrimination the approvals of manufacturers and test laboratories and the qualification approvals of components released in other participating countries. Membership in the plan also entails certain financial obligations in order to enable the System at the international level to be self-financing. Membership in the System is a two-step operation. The country may participate in the System as a non-certifying member through the formation of a National Authorized Institution and a National Standards Organization and the payment of dues. For full membership in the System, in addition to the non-certifying membership mentioned above, the country must additionally have in existence a National Supervising Inspectorate and a Calibration Service. The System is planned to be open to access by manufacturers, distributors, and independent test laboratories in nonparticipating countries
INITIAL FORMATION OF THE SYSTEM
In 1970 the Electronic Industries Association was alerted to the regional character of the CENEL Plan by Dr. Leon Podolsky; and, through the U. S. National Committee of the IEC, we asked that the, IEC consider operating a worldwide Quality Assessment System for Electronic Components. The IEC Council agreed to undertake this effort and organized a Provisional Management Committee made up of delegations from fourteen interested countries, the majority of which were from countries which are also active in the CENEL Plan.
THE SYSTEM’S INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION
The overall responsibility for the functioning of the System is vested in the Certification Management Committee (CMC), which operates under the authority of the IEC Council. The IEC Council needs only to approve the System’s Basic Rules or changes thereto, and the System’s operating budget. The CMC is made up of two delegates appointed by the National Authorized Institution (NAI) of each participating country. Operating under the CMC is an Inspectorate Coordinating Committee (ICC) which is responsible for supervising the uniform application of the System Rules and Procedures. The ICC is made up of two delegates appointed by each country’s National Authorized Institution of whom at least one shall belong to the National Supervising Inspectorate (NSI). Countries which have achieved certifying membership in the System have a right to vote in this Committee. Non-certifying member countries do not have a right to vote.