With the convergence of information technology equipment (ITE), communication technology equipment (CTE) and audio/video equipment using common technology, cross platform architecture and use in similar environments, a new safety standard has been developed to replace the familiar 60950-1 and 60065 standards.  The new standard is hazard based and in several years time will be mandatory to use in demonstrating conformity to the Low Voltage Directive when the current standards are withdrawn in 2019.

62368-1 has been developed by the international standards organisation IEC and has already been adopted by the US and Canada for several years as CSA/UL62368-1.  The adoption in Europe has been delayed due to changes required by some member states however it now appears in the Official Journal of the European Union as a harmonised standard under the LVD, 2014/35/EU as EN62368-1:2014.  This means that it can optionally be used from now to demonstrate compliance with the Directive but will be mandatory on 20th June, 2019.  At that date, EN60950-1:2006 + A2:2013 and EN60065:2014/AC:2016 will be withdrawn and will no longer be available for use.  It should be noted that Asian countries are still considering the new standard and for the time being it has not been adopted resulting in the need to still use the old standards for approval of equipment destined to Asia or which will require CCC for China, or KT for Korea, PSE of Japan or BSMI for Taiwan approval etc.

62368-1 is a hazard based standard and not a risk based one such as the medical 3rd edition of 60601-1 so will not require risk analysis reports to be prepared.  It allows for ‘prescriptive construction’ in the same manner as 60950-1 but also allows for performance orientated results based on testing to demonstrate compliance which should simplify the certification of new technologies.

The list of products that 62368-1 will cover is aligned to the specific examples given in 60950 and 60065 to avoid unnecessary confusion.  Some examples are computing and networking, consumer electronics including home entertainment system and AV home theatre systems, digital cameras, personal music players, displays, telecommunication products including network infrastructure as well as cordless and mobile phones, office appliances and musical instruments.

IEC states that components and subassemblies that comply with IEC60950-1 or IEC60065 are acceptable as part of equipment covered by 62368-1 without further evaluation other than to give consideration to the appropriate use of the component or subassembly in the end product.  This is important as it allows for a transition period where end use equipment approved to 62368-1 can use power supplies or other subassemblies approved to 60950-1.

62368-1 is hazard based and assumes 3 levels of risk, these being: Energy Source 1 (ES1) which has no painful effect on a body and not enough energy to cause ignition to combustible materials, Energy Source 2 (ES2) which could have a painful effect on a body but not cause injury and possibly cause ignition to combustible materials, and Energy Source 3 (ES3) which injury and ignition of combustible materials is likely.  The types of energy source are similar to those identified in 60950-1 and include electrical, chemical, mechanical, thermal and radiation.

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