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Our experts have answered the most frequently asked questions about the new IEC 62368-1 standard below. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hestitate to contact us!

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1. What is the scope of IEC 62368-1?

The new standard replaces IEC 60950 OFF (Office Equipment) and IEC 60065 TRON (Electronics, entertainment) and applies to products covered by these legacy standards. Generally speaking, this includes electrical and electronic equipment in the field of audio/video, information and communication technology, as well as business and office equipment. IEC 62368 is ‘technology agnostic’ in order to accommodate new and future developments in these fields, such as smartphones, tablet computers, wearable computers, electronic kiosks, 3D printers and more.

2. Why was IEC 62368-1 developed?

With the rapid pace of change in the field of electronics and electrical equipment blurring the lines between audio/visual products and information technology devices, technical experts foresaw the need for a new type of standard that went beyond mere revisions of legacy standards. IEC 62368-1 was written with existing products in mind as well as new technology in order to ensure safety and performance while encouraging more design freedom and a streamlined pathway to the global marketplace.

3. How does IEC 62368-1 encompass such a wide range of products?

Hazard Based Safety Engineering (HBSE) is at the heart of the new standard and can be applied to a broad range of products. It requires designers to think about a product’s potential hazards and safeguards and encourages flexibility in how safety is guaranteed. The prescriptive rules for product safety will still be in place, but HBSE has the capacity to extend beyond what is known to keep pace with advances in technology.

4. What are the main advantages of HBSE?

It encourages hazard identification early in product development so that the design can be adjusted to eliminate them. It also allows for more performance options to demonstrate compliance.

5. What does the HBSE methodology entail?

First, manufacturers identify which of the product’s energy sources can cause pain or injury (i.e. electrical, mechanical, or thermal) to users, taking into account whether the users are the general public, people who have received instruction or skilled users. Secondly, they assess the effects (painful, injury-inducing, etc) and combustion potential (not likely/possible/likely) of each source. Third, they identify the necessary safeguards (equipment, instructional or installation, for example), and finally test those safeguards using performance or construction-based criteria.

6. Is a risk analysis required?

No. IEC 62368-1 is a hazard and performance-based standard that does not require risk analyses.

7. Have the energy hazard limits changed in IEC 62368-1?

Yes. The energy hazard limit of 240VA, the longstanding requirement in 60950, has been removed as the reasons behind the limit were unclear. Technical Report IEC 62368-2 provides a detailed rationale for the change.

8. Are there changes to the mechanical hazard limits in IEC 62368-1?

Yes. While specific mechanical hazards such as fans have been carried over to the new standard, there are now 3 classification levels for those not listed: MS1 for mechanical hazards that do not cause pain or injury; MS2 for those that may cause pain (pinching or sharp edges, for example); and MS3 for those that can cause injury, meaning professional medical attention is required.

9. Are there changes in touch temperature limits in IEC 62368-1?

Yes. The touch temperature limit now varies in accordance with the given part’s accessibility and expected duration of contact with a user’s body. In addition, the limits are based on (and tested at) a standardized 25 degrees C ambient temperature.

10. Does IEC 62368-1 apply to components and subassemblies?

Yes, just as the legacy standards did. During the transition period only (until December 20, 2020 in Europe, Canada and the US), components and subassemblies that comply with IEC 60950-1 or IEC 60065 are accepted without further investigation.

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