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The start of the IECEx season

Author : IECEX CHAIRMAN PROF. DR. THORSTEN ARNHOLD

03 October 2017

Every year at the beginning of August, email traffic and telephone calls inside the IECEx community and the number of working group and national committee meetings rises sharply. This is a good indication that the IECEx Management Committee (MC) meeting and other major annual events will be upon us soon. In 2017, the IECEx MC will take place in Washington DC. 

IECEx homepage
IECEx homepage

A look at our annual report card, which is updated before the MC meeting, shows that the IECEx system is in a really good shape:

•  In the equipment scheme there are 55 accepted Certification Bodies (CBs) and 62 accepted Test Laboratories (TLs). As per end of June 2017, we have 28,624 Certificates of Conformity (CoC) and 26,188 Test Reports (TR) in our online database. The share of ‘Issue 0’ certificates, brand new certificates for new products, is more than than 40%, which shows the ongoing attraction of IECEx CoCs. After the first 6 months of certifying non–electric products, we have the first 20 CoCs of this type in the database!

•  The development of the IECEx Certified Service Facilities Scheme can also be considered a success: 227 certificates and 13 accepted ExCBs are the current numbers. During the IECEx MC Meeting in Washington the membership will decide on whether to support the next major project, the certification of service providers for inspection and maintenance. The updated versions of the respective set of Operational Documents (OD) are ready for approval by the member countries.

•  With the IECEx Certificate of Personnel Competence (CoPC) Scheme we could reach the next level over the next 12 months. As per end of August 2017, 1,622 CoPCs have been published. There are 10 accepted CBs and 6 applicants. The Recognised Training Provider (RTP) Program is well established and 17 RTPs are listed on the IECEx homepage.

Apropos the IECEx homepage, this is one of the main benefits for our global customers as through it we provide almost complete transparency. All rules and documents are available free of charge 24/7 and the same with all our certificates. In 2017 we launched an updated version of the homepage, www.iecex.com, which now has a better structure and is much more user friendly.

For all who are interested in the current status of IECEx and in future developments, it is well worth visiting.

What do I expect of the coming MC Meeting? One major topic will be the introduction of new basic documents. The Conformity Assessment Board (CAB) of IEC, which rules the 4 Conformity Assessment (CA) systems, including IECEx, is trying to harmonise the basic rules of the different systems. On the one hand, this is welcome as any effort to increase efficiency within IEC systems will enable new CAs to be established quickly according to the market needs. On the other, however, every CA system has specific requirements from its major stakeholders and therefore needs elements of freedom and flexibility. To accommodate this, the basic document has a general section, the Harmonized Basic Rules (HBR) in the CAB document CA 01, which contain the general specifications, and a supplementary section for individual CA systems. The system stakeholders are responsible for the matters inside their organisations and have the right to make all necessary decisions as long as they are in line with these basic documents.

Another item fast rising up the agenda is cybersecurity. IEC is developing certification procedures covering this critical issue and IECEx is playing an active role in this process. We are well aware of the fact that process plants are safety-critical facilities and therefore need effective protection against cyber attacks. 

After the week in Washington there will be a short break of 3 days at home and after this the IEC General Meeting, which will be held in Vladivostok, Russia. At this event, my current Vice Chair, Dr. Alexander Zalogin from Russia, whose second term will end on December 31, will be honoured with the IEC’s Thomas Alva Edison Award. For me, this will be a good opportunity to thank him for his valuable contribution over the last six years. Last year, our Ex PCC Chair, Ralph Wigg from Australia, won this award in Frankfurt for his outstanding contribution to international standardisation and the development of the IECEx Personal Competence Certification Scheme. The whole IECEx family is proud of these honours and considers the awards an appreciation of the efforts and successes of the whole system and its members.


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