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  • A further pause for thought

    25 October 2019

    Two months ago, I wrote of the potential failure of an old reservoir dam at Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire, and how this caused a reflection on the need for rigorous inspection and maintenance in any safety critical industry....

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  • The peer-to-peer principle at IECEx

    04 September 2019

    One of the most fundamental rules of work for all conformity assessment systems run by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the “peer-to-peer” principle. In our case, it means that the members of our organisations are supervising each other in all important kinds of activities. ...

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  • Ageing assets – a pause for thought

    05 August 2019

    I am writing this at the start of August, just two days after the town of Whaley Bridge, between Buxton and Manchester, has been evacuated because of the sudden partial collapse of a 180-year old reservoir dam.  No trains are running on the line between Buxton and Manchester, and a relief bus service cannot be provided to intermediate stations, because the roads are closed....

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  • Attracting new stakeholders to IECEx

    18 July 2019

    One of my roles as chairman of the IECEx system is to participate in the work of the conformity assessment board (CAB) of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The CAB, which consists of the delegates of 15 countries as well as the relevant IEC officers, governs all activities of the four existing IEC conformity assessment systems....

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  • Developments in the IECEx Service Facility Certification Scheme

    01 July 2019

    IECEx is best known for its worldwide Product Certification Scheme, with the benefits of providing a certificate which is viewable on the internet and directly acceptable in many countries, along with the transportability of its test reports, as a means of securing local certification, at minimum cost, where necessary....

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The pros and cons of digitalisation 03 June 2019

I must confess that I am not totally convinced of all the supposed blessings of digitalisation. During my professional career, I have visited many manufacturers in many different industries all over the world and most of those with the highest levels of automation continue to employ significant numbers of manual workers, whether in production, transport or logistics....

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The TC31 CAG Meetings 01 May 2019

In between the more formal plenary meetings of IEC TC31, the Chairman’s Advisory Group (CAG) meets as an assembly of all the convenors of standard Maintenance Teams (MTs), Project Teams (PTs) and Working Groups (WGs), in order to keep everyone informed about what is happening in the other teams, as well as to make recommendations to the chairman for the future development of the work.  ...

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Brussels in February 01 March 2019

As I am writing this, I am just back from the European ATEX Notified Body meeting in Brussels, held, as usual, in the first week in February.  For the UK Notified Bodies present, there was still the question “Would this be our last meeting, or would there be a sensible Brexit deal?”  All the UK bodies have produced their own “Plan B” in case of “No Deal”, so that they can continue to service their customers, but the lack of certainty does not help.&l...

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Brexit and the future 20 February 2019

At the moment, manufacturers and their clients in the European Union (still including the UK) are very confused about the future validity of ATEX certificates issued by UK Notified Bodies. Despite the fact that all big UK Notified Bodies are in very close communication with their European customers and are trying hard to provide acceptable solutions, there is still uncertainty and nobody knows what problems will have to be faced in the coming months and years....

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Some thoughts on IEC 60079-28 (prevention of ignition from optical radiation) 14 January 2019

After the September IECEx meetings in France, October saw us arrive in Busan, South Korea, for the General Meeting of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Technical Committee TC31 is one of the bigger IEC committees and we held meetings on 11 days over the two week period.  ...

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