International Electrotechnical Commission
By promoting international cooperation toward all problems and related issues regarding standardization in the electrical and electronic technology fields, the IEC, a non-governmental organization, was started in October, 1908, for the purpose of realizing mutual understanding on an international level. To this end, the IEC standard was enacted for the purpose of promoting international standardization.
2. North America
UL (Underwiters Laboratories Inc.)
This is a non-profit testing organization formed in 1894 by a coalition of U.S. fire insurance firms, which tests and approves industrial products (finished products). When electrical products are marketed in the U.S., UL approval is mandated in many states, by state law and city ordinances. In order to obtain UL approval, the principal parts contained in industrial products must also be UL approved parts. UL approval is divided into two general types.
One is called "listing" (Figure 1), and applies to industrial products (finished products). Under this type of approval, products must be approved unconditionally.
The other type is called "recognition" (Figure 2), and is a conditional approval which applies to parts and materials.
CSA (Canadian Standards Association)
This was established in 1919 as a non-profit, non-governmental organization aimed at promoting standards. It sets standards for industrial products, parts, and materials, and has the authority to judge electrical products to determine whether they conform to those standards.
The CSA is the ultimate authority in the eyes of both the government and the people in terms of credibility and respect. Almost all states and provinces in Canada require CSA approval by law, in order to sell electrical products. As a result, electrical products exported from Japan to Canada are not approved under Canadian laws unless they have received CSA approval and display the CSA mark.
Approval is called "certification", and products and parts which have been approved are called "certified equipment", and display the mark shown in Figure 3.
The mark shown in Figure 4 is called the "Component Acceptance" mark, and indicates conditional approval which is applicable to parts.
The C-UL mark shown in Figure 5 (finished products) and Figure 6 (parts) indicates that the product has been tested and approved in UL laboratories, based on UL and CSA standards, through mutual approval activities.
European Standards/Norme Europeennee(France)/Europaishe Norm (Germany)
Abbreviation for European Standards. A unified standard enacted by CEN/CENELEC (European Standards Committee/European Electrical Standards Committee). EU and EFTA member nations employ the content of the EN standards into their own national standards and are obligated to abolish those national standards that do not agree with the EN standards.
VDE (Verband Deutscher Elektrotechniker)
The VDE laboratory was established mainly by the German Electric Technology Alliance, which was formed in 1893. It carries out safety experiments and passes approval for electrical devices and parts. Although VDE certification is not enforced under German law, punishment is severe should electrical shock or fire occur; therefore, it is, in fact, like an enforcement.
TÜV (Technischer Überwachungs-Verein)
TÜV is a civilian, non-profit, independent organization that has its roots in the German Boiler Surveillance Association, which was started in 1875 for the purpose of preventing boiler accidents.
A major characteristic of TÜV is that it exists as a combination of 14 independent organizations (TÜV Rheinland, TÜV Bayern, etc.) throughout Germany.
TÜV carries out inspection on a wide variety of industrial devices and equipment, and has been entrusted to handle electrical products, as well, by the government. TÜV inspection and certification is based mainly on the VDE standard.
TÜV certification can be obtained from any of the 14 TÜVs throughout Germany and has the same effectiveness as obtaining VDE certification.
4. Shipping Standards
Lloyd's Register of Shipping
Standards from the Lloyd's Register shipping association based in England. These standards are safety standards for environmental testing of the temperature and vibration tolerances of electrical components used for UMS (unmanned machine rooms in marine vessels) applications.
These standards have become international standards for control equipment in all marine vessel applications. No particular action is taken to display the conformation to these standards on the products.