The new A/V and ICT devices manufacturing standard should make it easier to get new products into consumers’ hands. But if you’re not ready, you could be shut out of most of the world’s largest markets.
Change Is in the Wind
Major changes are coming to the regulations guiding the manufacture of Information and communications technology (ICT) and Audio/Visual products, and if your supply chain isn’t ready, it could result in in a very unpleasant surprise. On December 20, 2020, compliance with IEC 62368-1 certification will become mandatory for products under its purview to be sold in the United States, Europe, and many other major markets. But fear not, in this post we will explain what IEC 62368 is, how it’s different from the standards that preceded it, what it requires, and how N2Power can make your company’s transition to compliance silky smooth.
The transition to IEC 62368 and all of its national equivalents marks an important step in harmonizing global manufacturing standards. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an international organization that issues standards that can be adopted by any individual company or country that wants to. However, a significant number of countries’ own regulatory bodies have adopted the standard as a requirement for all of the products that fall under its purview. In the United States, Underwriters Laboratories’ UL 62368 is the equivalent standard, while Canada has CSA 62368 and the European Union has EN 62368. All of these standards are compatible with one another, and they all go into effect on the same deadline. This is a positive development for manufacturers, since once they are compliant with one standard, they will have access to all of the other markets that require certification based on IEC 62368-1—with no overlap period for competing standards.
The new standard will also have another harmonizing effect on the industry by sensibly bringing two formally distinct product categories under the same banner. Previously, the IEC standards and those derived from them kept A/V equipment and ICT equipment were guided by the IEC 60065 and IEC 60950-1 standards, respectively. However, as technology has progressed, the lines between these two categories have blurred—think smart TVs and cellphones that can both play audio and video as well as access the internet and perform other telecommunications functions—requiring a single standard to cover these chimeric categories. It all sounds pretty good—giving sellers easier access to more markets using a more comprehensive standard—but if you are not ready for the change, you could find yourself suddenly shut out of those same markets.
What’s Different About the New Standard?
The biggest shift from the old standards to the new is one of underlying philosophy. Essentially, the change is from the risk-based approach to safety used by the outgoing standards to a hazard-based approach. In layman’s terms, this means that instead of outlining the risks associated with a particular product or its components and then implementing prescribed safety measures to mitigate those risks, designers look to identify sources of potential hazards to users (both during normal operations and under fail conditions) and then preemptively create safety systems to obviate these dangers. The most significant effect this has on the system is to open it up to the constant rollout of new technology. A hazard-based approach is much nimbler, allowing new products to be evaluated under existing standards without requiring review from a committee. This provides a nice middle ground between safety and agility—keeping the stream of innovation flowing with minimal impediment while remaining committed to user safety.
How N2Power Can Help
So, what do you need to do to get ready for the looming deadline this December? The first thing to consider is if any of your existing products will need to be updated to conform with the new standard. Even if your product was already certified, you made need to make some adjustments to make sure it complies with the new standards. In most cases, this shouldn’t pose a problem, as most items will just need some adjustments to paperwork to pass. However, if there is an issue with the compliance of the PSUs used in your devices, you need to act now to correct this problem before the hard deadline arrives. Luckily, manufacturers may have a small reprieve, as they can continue use inventory certified under the old standards until they run out.
Fortunately, N2Power offers a full suite of power products that can help OEM manufacturers quickly get up to code. All of our standard power supply series are either already compliant with IEC 62368-1 or are pending approval. This includes our series of PSUs that come pre-certified for various fields, including the medical, casino gaming, ITE, and industrial sectors. Our full lineup of power solutions is always built with power efficiency and density in mind from the original design. All of our power supply offerings—from 40 W to 500 W—are available in a multitude of various output ranges to fit every OEM’s power needs. In addition, we will work with customers to make adjustments to standard units to best fulfill their power needs and offer a full selection of mounting options. N2Power’s FREE sample program allows both our current and prospective OEM customers to obtain up to four fully certified UL62368-1 units to use in certifying their own equipment to the same certification standard.
Brave New World
In all, the switch to IEC 62368-1 should be a net positive, allowing the world’s major markets to share a common standard and implementing hazard-based engineering that will help new technology reach customers more easily. That said, being unprepared for the upcoming switch is simply not an option.
If you take a look at UL’s 62368 compliance site, there is a countdown clock on that ominously ticks away the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the December 20th deadline. But the switch doesn’t need to be a cause for anxiety; let that countdown be a reason to celebrate rather than a ticking time bomb.
If you have questions about compliance or are ready to upgrade your non-compliant power supplies, please contact one of our representatives today.
Welcome to the brand-new N2Power blog! We are an industry-leading manufacturer of compact, ultra-efficient powers supply units (PSUs) based in Camarillo, Calif. And while we’re excited to begin our journey with you into the nitty gritty of various topics and news surrounding the power supply industry, we thought we’d take this first opportunity to do a little boasting. So, without further ado, it is our pleasure to introduce you to the newest members of our ever-expanding family of PSUs!
N2Power has welcomed two new series to our medical offerings: the 40-watt ML40 and 65-watt ML65. Designed for easy integration into medical devices, both series carry the latest UL/EN 60601 medical certifications. They are rated 2xMOPP (means of patient protection)—a safety standard that protects patients from shocks by requiring devices have two redundant means of protection that provide isolation for up to 4,000 VAC. They are also mechanically compatible with each other as well as their 100-watt, 2” × 3” big brother—the ML100.
The speed with which new equipment can be deployed to the field is key in responding to new health-care needs and maintaining the steady advancement of treatments, and N2Power’s medical series makes the process of integrating a power supply into a new medical application as fast and simple as possible. The PSUs comprising the medical line have already gone through the rigors of certification and can be added to a new design without having to be reapproved. This means that projects can be taken from design to reality as quickly as possible while avoiding regulatory hurdles. Some companies require lead times in excess of 20 weeks, but N2Power is able to provide power solutions within eight to 10 weeks after receipt of order. Like the rest of our medical PSUs, the ML40 and ML65 can be customized to the client’s specifications without requiring recertification as long as there are no UL critical safety component changes.
With physical footprints measuring just 6 cubic inches and yielding power densities of over 6 watts and over 10 watts per cubic inch, respectively, the ML40 and ML65 are the perfect size for integration into mobile equipment, where space is at a premium. They are available in a number of chassis configurations—including open-frame, U-frame, enclosed, and DIN rail—further simplifying integration. Both new models offer up to 93.5% power efficiency, which helps prevent heat waste and mitigates the need for cooling fans, making them especially useful for applications like medical ventilators. Their efficiency and low standby power consumption also make them a green choice by minimizing energy usage and therefore your organization’s carbon footprint.
Of course, like all our products, the ML40 and ML60 are covered by N2Power’s best-in-class three-year warranty. But if something should go wrong, don’t worry; Our elite technical support team is available to help you work through any problems. Furthermore, our Optimized Power Systems Manufacturing (OPSM) capability—one we will revisit in greater detail in subsequent blog posts—allows us to provide our customers with a simplified purchasing experience by delivering everything the client needs to implement their power solution, including mounting, brackets, nuts, bolts, and other accessories. This makes the entire process easier by reducing the entire bill of materials to a single entry.
Even throughout this difficult period, we are lucky to say that N2Power has been able to remain operational and is currently manufacturing at capacity. Our shipping capabilities have also remained unaffected, allowing us to get products to our customers without delay. If you are interested in learning more about the ML40 and ML65, and if one of them may be a fit for your unique medical application, please get in touch today!