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national committees, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the leading standards organization in the electrotechnical area. Many countries around the world have their own national versions of the IEC standards.
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In Europe and around the world
Just as the technology is always being refined, the relevant standards and Directives governing control panels are also subject to regular updates: a revised version of IEC 60204-1 (Electrical Equipment of Machines) was published in late 2016. New EU Directives were transposed into national legislation before the end of 2016. We always advise you in real time of important new developments and their impact on your day-to-day activities.
Directives at a glance
IEC standards are applied in about two-thirds of countries world-wide. Designers and builders of control panels who apply the relevant IEC standards and document the fact can be confident they are satisfying market requirements in most countries.
Because of growing uncertainty on the market as to which standard should be considered most important for a machine control panel, the German Commission for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies of DIN and VDE (DKE) has published a statement on this subject.
Various standards have to be observed for the construction of control panels for machinery. IEC 60204-1 is the relevant standard, but it is the manufacturer's responsibility to ensure the best possible electrical safety of the control panel.
This is why we recommend that a risk analysis be carried out. For the European market, this is even stipulated in the relevant directives. If further risks are identified during the risk analysis that, in the opinion of the manufacturer, are not covered by IEC 60204-1, then IEC 61439-1/-2 and, if necessary, other standards may also be consulted as an additional design aid. The DKE (Deutsche Kommission Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik/German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies) has also published a recommendation in this regard.
Basic safety standard IEC 60204-1, “Electrical equipment of machinery – Part 1: General requirements for the electrical equipment of machines” constitutes an important standard for control panels as part of a machine.
Scope of IEC 60204-1
Outlook: Revision of IEC 60204-1
In recent years, the International Electrotechnical Commission worked on a new version of IEC 60204, which was published in late 2016. It is expected that national standards will be derived from this from late 2017 onward. The new standard has not yet been incorporated in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The new version mainly involved the revision or introduction of the following topics: