An Overview of IEC 62368-1 (Edition 3)

The third edition of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62368-1 product safety standard for audio and video systems formalizes several important updates that will improve IoT from the device level to the cloud level. By necessity, however, it's an evolving standard.

Image of three server towers with
Illustration: © IoT For All
As you probably know, the third edition of IEC 62368-1 was published recently. Edition 3 of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 62368 safety standard for audio, video, and information technology gives you additional confidence that your product is future proof. It shores up a range of possible hazards coming from the product. Edition 3 brings various technical changes. Read on to find a short overview of the largest adjustments. Edition 3 of IEC 62368-1 contains adjustments in the details and wording that set it apart from the second edition. It contains some large technical changes as well. Among others, there are new sections for outdoor equipment, fully insulated winding wires, insulating liquids, wireless power transmitters, and work cells.

Insulating Liquids

Insulating liquids are used increasingly in various applications for cooling, e.g. in cloud server rooms at data centers, in which you immerse power components in the liquid (generally water). Electronics in insulating liquids are tested using the IEC 62368-1 standard to ensure that they continue to work safely. For example, it asserts that insulation characteristics shouldn’t deteriorate over time and has you test accordingly. The third edition of the standard paves the way for more innovative cooling solutions.
A cooling solution cools cloud server equipment
Image credit: Pixabay

Prevent Interlocking in Work Cells

Safety requirements for work cells are also new to Edition 3. Think of larger IT installations (robotics) with work cells in which operators access the work cell. Interlocking and requirements for emergency stop systems are now part of the standard.
A grinding machine is used to work on steel
Image credit: Picjumbo
Outdoor equipment has seen some changes as well. Transformers using fully insulated winding wires (FIW) are finding their way into applications with switch mode power supplies. Such requirements are also found in the standard for transformers (IEC 61558-1). Next to the strict requirements for fully insulated winding wires, IEC 62368-1 puts clear restrictions on the application of fully insulated wires (FIW). Finally, wireless power transmitters see a completely new clause that safeguards smartphone users who want to charge their phone wirelessly. This could be important for IoT in that it may affect IoT the way designers approach native UI dashboard applications.
Phones are being charged with cables and plugs in an airport lounge
Image credit: Pixabay

An Evolving Standard

All in all, the IEC 62368 standard continues to evolve. Since the standard has its foundation in the principles of hazard-based safety engineering, and because the standard is about future-proofing, the standard must continue to evolve to stay one step ahead of audio/video innovation. This will be especially important if AT&T’s prediction that ‘video-as-a-sensor’ will become valuable to IoT architecture bears out. The standard and IoT are intimately linked because IoT is about a ‘system of systems’ and the standard supports the safe convergence of existing technologies and new, state-of-the-art technologies—a natural fit. Rest assured that our experts at DEKRA will update you on the changes to come in this standard and many others. Learn more about IEC 62368 in this long-form article.