International commitment to product safety

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                                                                                                                                             2- 03
                                                      N E W S L E T T E R O F V D E T E S T I N G A N D C E RT I F I C AT I O N I N S T I T U T E

                                                      News          Special        International Engineering   Spectrum

V D E   G L O B A L    S E R V I C E S    G M B H

commitment to
product safety
    In order to strengthen our inter-
national services for safe electrical
products, VDE has now established
its main office in Offenbach. Page 2 >>


VDE launches Internet
portal for electrical
engineering and infor-
mation technology
    Engineers from the electrical engineer-
ing and information technology sectors,
companies and members of the public
interested in engineering have a new
homepage on the Internet:
    Special service: online catalogue of
VDE-tested products and database for
product testing.                 Page 2 >>

I N T E R V I E W    W I T H   A N   E X P E R T

Quality assurance
in trade
   Interview with Ingo Schälter, Quelle
Institut für Warenprüfung/IfW (Quelle
quality control institute) Pages 4/5 >>
          2- 03

                  V D E   G L O B A L    S E R V I C E S    G M B H          INFORMATION           AND    COMMUNICATION

                  VDE strengthens                                            VDE launches Internet
                  international                                              portal for electrical
                  commitment to                                              engineering and infor-
                  product safety                                             mation technology
                  Cont. from title page >>                                       Engineers from the electrical engineering and
                                                                             information technology sectors, companies and
                  In order to strengthen our international services for      members of the public interested in engineering
                  safe electrical products, VDE has established VDE          have a new homepage on the Internet.
                  GLOBAL SERVICES GMBH with its main office in               At, VDE offers the further develop-
                  Offenbach. The new company will first set up branch        ment of an online platform with up-to-date tech-
                  offices in the Asia-Pacific region.                        nical knowledge, consumer tips about electrical
                                                                             products and exclusive offers for members.
                  With VDE GLOBAL SERVICES GMBH, manufacturers
                  and retailers are offered fast, customer-oriented pro-     At, users will find news and trends from
                  cessing of the testing and certification services pro-     the fields of electrical engineering and information
                  vided by VDE. The extended spectrum of services            technology as well as studies and professions. With
                  ranges from consultation to assessments of the sys-        studies, reports or the latest news from the field of
                  tems and processes in development and production.          standardisation and product testing, the new portal

                                                                             will be an important source of information for engineers,
                  VDE GLOBAL SERVICES GMBH benefits from the                 scientists and companies. Use the VDE website, for
                  international experience of the association in questions   example, to book conferences and seminars or to
                  of standardisation and product testing. For example,       order standards and literature (VDE VERLAG GMBH).
                  the know-how of the internationally accredited VDE
                  Testing and Certification Institute is in demand by        Online service for companies, the retail trade and
                  companies and government authorities worldwide.            the consumer
                  The main emphasis is placed on electrotechnical and        The new VDE Internet portal offers consumers, manu-
                  electronic appliances and systems, as well as com-         facturers and the electrical retail trade a special serv-
                  ponents that are tested for safety, electromagnetic        ice. At the address, simply click to
                  compatibility and further product properties. Integra-     obtain information about all electrical products tested
                  tion into international certification procedures ensures   by the VDE Institute. The online catalogue gives con-
                  that VDE test reports are recognised worldwide.            sumers important tips on purchasing a product, while
                                                                             the retail trade can gear its product range policy to
                  The VDE Mark, as proof of the safety and quality of        safe and electromagnetically compatible products. In
                  electrical products, enjoys a particularly high repu-      this way, manufacturers can select safe components
                  tation in the retail trade and among consumers. About      for their product development. They can find out
                  200,000 types of electrical products bear VDE Marks        online according to what criteria the VDE Institute
                  worldwide and are subject to constant product super-       tests products, and can integrate this directly into the
                  vision. With its tests, VDE makes an important con-        manufacturing process.
                  tribution to product safety and to the protection of the
                  general public from danger in the handling of elec-        VDE expects the new online service to contribute
                  trical appliances.                                         towards more transparency and safety in electrical
                                                                             appliances. A further highlight is the database for
                  The findings of these tests have a direct effect on the    product testing. Manufacturers of electrical products
                  further development of international electrical stand-     and components will find out everything they need to
                  ards. The newly founded VDE GLOBAL SERVICES                know about product testing and certification. This
                  GMBH is also committed to this safety philosophy.          includes test performances as well as information
                  The Managing Director of the company, which will           about standards, VDE contacts and the current status
                  begin operative business at the beginning of next          of product testing. An appliance successfully certified
                  year, is Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Dreger.                          by VDE is an important marketing instrument for

                                    DR. -ING. GERHARD DREGER
                           Tel.: +49 69 8600 690, Fax: +49 69 8600 6999
                                                                                                     in focus

    I N T E R N AT I O N A L   N E T W O R K

    Switzerland also counts on
    the VDE Mark
       The VDE Institute and its partner organisation Electrosuisse will cooperate
    even more closely in future. This was agreed by both renowned testing institutes             2
    as part of a cooperation agreement.

    The cooperation results in time and cost      high-quality and comprehensive scope of
    benefits for manufacturers and retailers in   services is offered to the above-mentioned
    the electrical engineering and information    target groups.
    technology sectors through synergy effects    With the agreement, the VDE Institute in
    in the certification process.                 Offenbach founded in 1920 expands its
                                                  international network of relationships to
    The high level of international recognition   accredited testing institutes around the
    of the VDE Mark among manufacturers,          globe. The VDE Mark as one of the best-
    retailers and end consumers also facilita-    known safety marks is visible on products
    tes the marketing of Swiss products in the    worldwide. VDE Certification Marks enjoy
    extended European Economic Area and           a high ranking, and they represent an
    other countries. By combining the compe-      important criterion when buying electro-
    tence of VDE and Electrosuisse experts, a     technical products.

    S A F E T Y   A N D   H E A LT H

    German Appliance and
    Product Safety Law
    With the bill for an Appliance and Product    At the same time as the GPSG, the Euro-
    Safety Law (GPSG), the existing German        pean directive on general product safety
    Appliance Safety Law (GSG) and the exist-     2001/95/EG is to be transferred to national
    ing Product Safety Law (ProdSG) are to be     law by 15 January 2004. This law covers all
    brought together to form one law in the       products which are intended for the con-
    course of deregulation and the reduction      sumer or which can be used by consumers.

    of bureaucracy in Germany.                    The objective is to maintain a high level of
                                                  consumer protection.

    P E R S O N N E L

    Dipl. -Ing. Johann Mitrowitsch
    is new Technical Managing

    Dipl.-Ing. Johann Mitrowitsch (49) was appointed Technical
    Managing Director of the VDE Institute with effect from
    1 October 2003. He succeeds Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Dreger, who
    has become Managing Director of the newly established

    After completing his studies at Brunswick Technical Univer-
    sity, Johann Mitrowitsch worked for NOKIA Display Technics
    GmbH, and from 1995 for Matsushita Display Devices as
    Technical Director.
          2- 03

          I N T E R V I E W   W I T H   A N   E X P E R T                   “Quality for us is when the customer comes back and
                                                                            not the product.” The founder of the mail-order com-

          “Quality for us is                                                pany Quelle, Gustav Schickedanz, felt committed to
                                                                            this principle when he launched the Quelle Institut
                                                                            für Warenprüfung/IfW (Quelle quality control institute)

          when the customer                                                 50 years ago, giving the industry a whole new direction,
                                                                            just like he has always done.

          comes back and                                                         VDE infocus talking to Ingo Schälter, IfW

          not the product.”                                                 As the first and meanwhile largest testing institute in
                                                                            German trade and industry, the Quelle quality control
                                                                            institute has been a pioneer and guarantor of network-
                                                                            ed, sustained quality management for fifty years now.
                                                                            This was reason enough for VDE infocus to talk to the
                                                                            head of the IfW, Mr Ingo Schälter, who came to Quelle
                                                                            from AEG-Hausgeräte AG, about the subject of qual-
                                                                            ity and safety for consumer products:

                                                                            How are we to imagine quality assurance at Quelle?
                                                                            As early as in the sixties, Quelle had a quality assurance
                                                                            system covering the whole range of products. Starting
                                                                            in Hong Kong, an international network of testing agen-
                                                                            cies was set up. Today, besides those employed at the
                                                                            headquarters in Nuremberg, a further 200 staff mem-
                                                                            bers are working worldwide in matters related to qual-
                                                                            ity checks.
                                                                            Top quality is our number one priority. To guarantee this,
                                                                            we test according to strict quality guidelines. Before a
                                                                            product is included in our range, our laboratories test its
                                                                            safety, workmanship, material, performance capability,
                                                                            durability and service friendliness. Random checks
                                                                            when the goods are delivered guarantee our high qual-
                                                            Ingo Schälter   ity standards in the long term.

                                                                            In your view, is the handling of electrical appliances
                                                                            absolutely safe?
                                                                            Unfortunately not. Customers are offered unsafe prod-
                                                                            ucts, often brought into the EU by importers and offered
                                                                            at low prices through large trading groups or distribu-
                                                                                                                              in focus

    tive channels not connected with the electrical trade.        petence in the testing of products as well as the devel-
    Through the practical experience of our work at the           opment and independent validation of new test pro-
    Quelle quality control institute, we are very familiar with   cedures.
    the facts. We have also tested articles – with safety
    marks – which did not comply with the harmonised              Your corporate concept is completely geared to
    standards. We are therefore only prepared to recog-           quality. Is this normal in this industry?
    nise test marks of well-known testing institutes, such        The trade has implemented quality assurance systems,
    as those acknowledged by VDE, because safety is               but not all of them use these as thoroughly as Quelle
    above all a matter of trust.                                  does. We want to win customers and convince them of
                                                                  the permanent efficiency of our company. We can only
    Why do you prefer cooperation with the VDE                    do this by means of services that meet the market’s
    Testing Institute?                                            requirements, together with confidence-building quality.
    We are linked to VDE through a partnership that has           Even today, this is still not something that can be taken
    lasted for many years.                                        for granted in the German business environment. In
    For us, VDE-tested products have a verifiably low com-        this sense, we prefer sustained quality assurance and a
    plaint rate.                                                  long-term bond of trust to short-term successes. Quality
    With large quantities, this becomes quite noticeable in       and trust are the two main categories that determine

    financial terms. Early on, Quelle was clearly aware that      our actions, and they will remain so in future as well.
    every Deutschmark spent on quality assurance saves
    nine Deutschmarks in follow-up costs for complaints.          Does Quelle give guidance?
    In order to be able to market the products successfully       We have very deliberately placed quality at the centre
    in the future as well, the retail trade needs reliable        of our message to our customers. Quelle will continue
    safety for its products, and partners who can guarantee       to pursue its traditional objective of raising quality
    this. For Quelle as a supplier of electrical appliances,      standards. Our vision is “Quelle gives guidance”. We
    electronics and hardware with a high market share,            are pleased that the VDE Institute, with its testing and
    product quality and product safety are success factors.       standards competence, has supported and accom-
    That is why our partnership with VDE is so important          panied us on this path.
    for us and for our customers. For us, the VDE Mark is
    the leading mark among the test marks.                        VDE infocus would like to thank Mr Ingo Schälter for
                                                                  this interesting interview.
    What is your cooperation with your suppliers like?
    We know our suppliers very well, and they know us:
    our control system is based on the principle of early
    detection. A set of rules applicable for all suppliers
    worldwide was created with the introduction of the
    Quelle Quality Standard 2000. Quality checks were
    moved to the works of the manufacturers to supple-
    ment the tests carried out here by us. They are sup-
    ported by a team of external testers from the IfW. The
    IfW is accredited according to the EN 17025 and ISO
    9002 standards, acknowledging the institute’s com-
            2- 03

                                              E N E R G Y    L A B E L L I N G                    I N T E R N AT I O N A L      S TA N D A R D S

                                              Switzerland                                         New service
                                              introduces market                                   through
                                              controls                                            “watchlist”
                                              Within the framework of the new cooper-             In order to give companies, experts and
                                              ation with Electrosuisse, the VDE Institute         other interested groups a simple opportun-
                                              will carry out measurements of the energy           ity to obtain information online about new
                                              consumption of electrical appliances from           or modified IEC standards, DKE (German
                                              Swiss market controls.                              Commission for Electrical, Electronic and
                    Photo: Shell Solar GmbH
                                                                                                  Information Technologies of DIN and VDE)
                                              The Swiss Federal Office for Energy, BFE,           has now extended the range of inform-
                                              has jointly instructed Electrosuisse and the        ation it offers. Together with VDE VERLAG,
                                              Swiss Power Inspectorate to carry out the           they are offering the convenient “IEC stand-
                                              market controls for energy labelling electric       ards watch” service on the Internet page
                                              household appliances in Switzerland. All  , with immediate effect.
                                              suppliers of refrigerators and freezers,
                                              dishwashers, washing machines, tumble-              After registration, IEC standards can be
                                              dryers, automatic washer-dryers as well             sorted according to standard numbers or
                                              as lamps are obliged, after the end of the          technical areas (technical committees) and
                                              transitional period in December 2002, to            added to a personal “watchlist”. The user
                                              use labelling in accordance with the regula-        then automatically receives information
                                              tions, and thus to give customers the               about new or modified IEC standards by
                                              information to which they are entitled.             e-mail.
                                              Besides administrative checks, follow-up
                                              measurements of the energy consumption              Information on the “IEC standards watch”:
                                              will be required, and these will be carried
                                              out at the VDE Institute on behalf of
                                                                                                                   VDE VERLAG GMBH
                                                                CHRISTOPH TÜRK                                Bismarckstr. 33, 10625 Berlin
                                                  Tel.: +49 69 8306 425, Fax: +49 69 8306 320        Tel.: +49 30 34800 1220, Fax: +49 30 3417 093
                                                            E-mail:                         E-mail:

                                              AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

                                              Conditions for the export of electro-
                                              technical products
                                                 The VDE Institute also supports its customers in the export of electrical prod-

                                              ucts to Australia and New Zealand. To verify safety and electromagnetic com-
                                              patibility (EMC), the VDE Institute offers complete processing, from the test to
                                              the submission of documents and invoice handling.

                                              For a number of products, a “type exam-             recommended (230 V in New Zealand,
                                              ination certificate” from a recognised              240 V in Australia).
                                              “Australian Approvals Authority” must be            The “C-Tick Mark” certifies compliance
                                              presented. Australia is connected to the            with the Australian EMC requirements.
                                              CB system. If the national Australian stand-        Here too, the VDE Institute supports its
                                              ard is based on an IEC standard, the                customers with reliable test and certifica-
                                              Australian variations can also be tested by         tion quality.
                                              the VDE Institute for relatively little addition-
                                              al expenditure. For products that are to be                        MATTHIAS SLABSCHE
                                              sold in Australia and New Zealand, a                   Tel.: +49 69 8306 557, Fax: +49 69 8306 754
                                              nominal voltage range of 230–240 V is                             E-mail:
                                                                                                                                                 in focus

    E L E C T R O M A G N E T I C    F I E L D S

    Human and machine
    must be compatible
        The increasing popularity of mobile         munity, OJEC, the use of this standard is to     S O L A R    T E C H N O L O G Y
    radio devices and also of electronic            be mandatory. Compliance with EN 50366
    appliances in households has led to an          will thus also be binding for the VDE and        Photovoltaic
    increase in the discussion of possible          the VDE-GS Marks.
    influences on biological organisms by           The EMC laboratory of the VDE Institute          technology
    these fields. In this controversial field,      offers its customers the measurement of
    objective measurement results of field          electromagnetic fields in accordance with        gaining ground
    sources are particularly important.             EN 50366. For this purpose, modern meas-
                                                    uring equipment is available in VDE to prove        In view of rising growth figures,
    This also leads to a new situation for house-   the presence of such fields.                     the solar industry is looking confidently
    hold appliances. In addition to the important   For household appliances, a measurement          into the future again this year. This
    safety and EMC tests, possible influences       of the low-frequency fields generated can        favourable trend was also apparent at
    on the user by electromagnetic fields must      ideally be combined with a test of the           the industry’s Intersolar 2003 exhibition.
    also be taken into consideration in the         “appliance EMC” or the “appliance safety”.
    design of household appliances. Definitions     The measurement of low-frequency fields          The optimistic forecasts are backed up by

    for the limitation of field emissions from      is particularly recommended for appliances       optimistic market figures: the volume of
    household appliances were laid down in          with high power consumption. Further-            applications for solar power systems was
    the European standard EN 50366 (Electro-        more, the VDE Institute can issue a certifi-     10.8 megawatts in January and February
    magnetic Fields – Methods for Evaluation        cate documenting the neutral and inde-           2003, representing an increase of more
    and Measurement). Within the framework          pendent measurement of the products              than 100 per cent compared with the same
    of the Low Voltage Directive, this standard     and compliance with the limits.                  months last year. On account of the increase
    will serve as the basis for compliance                                                           in government grants for solar panels in
    with safety and health requirements in the                     DR STEPHAN KLOSKA                 February, the number of applications was
    European Union. After it has been entered          Tel.: +49 69 8306 747, Fax: +49 69 8306 620   up 15 per cent this month compared with
    in the Official Journal of the European Com-                 E-mail:            February 2002.
                                                                                                     The heavy demand for stand space at the
                                                                                                     Intersolar 2003 exhibition reflects the optimi-
       The frequency range currently by VDE-Institute is:                                            stic mood in the solar industry. The propor-
       5 Hz–400 kHz            1 nT–20 mT                  Magnetic field
                                                                                                     tion of foreign companies went up from 15
       5 Hz–400 kHz            0.1 V/m–100 V/m             Electrical field
                                                                                                     per cent last year to a current figure of 21 per
       100 kHz–30 MHz          0.02–20 A/m                 Magnetic field
                                                                                                     cent. Companies from 20 countries were
       30 MHz–1GHz             0.02–20 A/m                 Magnetic field
                                                                                                     represented at the Intersolar exhibition this
       100 kHz–3 GHz           0.3–300 V/m                 Electrical field
                                                                                                     year, including companies from Europe, the
                                                                                                     US, Brazil, China, Japan, Taiwan and India.
                                                                                                     Preconditions for the successful market-
    S A F E T Y   A N D   Q U A L I T Y                                                              ing of photovoltaic products are safety,
                                                    large installations that do not go into mass     quality, durability and reliability. The Global
    Early detection of                              production, many manufacturers also use          Approval Program for Photovoltaics (PV
                                                    the opportunity to carry out tests during        GAP), which offers numerous advantages
    faults                                          the development process. In these cases          for the industry, allows objective statements
                                                    it is not the finished product that is tested;   to be made on this topic. For the first time,
    The buyer of technical products rightly         on the contrary, the first prototypes are        a reliable quality assessment system for
    expects products that are fault-free from a     examined in an early phase of development.       photovoltaic components and systems is
    safety point of view. For this reason, the      In this way, a manufacturer can often save       now available for customers as well as for
    critical eyes of the VDE experts, who put       himself an expensive development which           the entire industry. Worldwide, the VDE
    components and appliances through their         he might otherwise have to change com-           Testing and Certification Institute is one of
    paces, are all the more important. In the       pletely at a later stage. Not to mention the     currently five approved independent agen-
    often difficult interpretation of standards     delays in market introduction.                   cies in the international quality assessment
    texts within the framework of tests, a          Test marks are thus an important indica-         system of the International Electrotech-
    competent specialist can always be found        tion of freedom from defects and of the          nical Commission (IECQ system) for the
    in the VDE Institute for every field and for    safety of a product. The relevant certific-      qualification of photovoltaic components.
    every critical problem.                         ates and test marks express that the prod-                         AXEL SCHWALM
    Particularly with complex devices, for          uct, the company and its quality capability          Tel.: +49 69 8306 349, Fax: +49 69 8306 582
    example in medical engineering or with          can be adequately trusted.                                     E-mail:
           2- 03                                                                                                                             in focus

          S A F E T Y   I N   T H E   H O U S E H O L D                C O N TA C T S

          Consumer fair                                                Benefit from VDE
          in Kassel                                                    competence
          A dangerous mixture has been tracked down by the             The VDE Testing and Certification Institute is a nationally and
          Market Surveillance in its market controls: water boilers,   internationally accredited institution in the sector of testing and
          irons or lights, all withdrawn from the market, because      certification of electrotechnical appliances, components and
          they have very serious safety defects for the consumer.      systems. Such products are tested for safety, electromagnetic
          They could be viewed within the framework of this            compatibility and other product properties.
          year’s autumn exhibition in the Kassel fair halls, where
          the VDE Institute, the Market Surveillance and the           Our experts are available for you Monday to Friday from 7.00 a.m.
          Consumer Association provided information dealing            to 6.00 p.m. If you are interested in any of the services we pro-
          with all aspects of safety in the household. “Our every-     vide, just ring us, send a fax or contact us by e-mail.
          day lives are being dominated by more and more hi-
          tech, and the potential hazards are increasing at the        You can visit our website on the Internet at Our
          same time,” said Bernd Franke, Head of Strategy and          service area can also provide you with brochures, specialist
          Information at the VDE Institute, adding that the top        contributions and documents for queries concerning offers and
          priority was detecting such hazards and taking pre-          for applications for testing and certifying services.
          cautions against them.
          After all, the heat generated by electricity can have        Lighting, Electronics, Information Technology,
          unpleasant consequences – deep fat fryers can sud-           Industrial and Medical Technology
          denly burst into flames, Christmas lights cause fires,       Tel.: +49 69 83 06-3 49, Fax: -5 82
          the television set implodes or the PC causes a fire in a     E-mail:
          house. A look at the inside of an electrical appliance

          can give an expert an insight into possible sources of       Appliances and Systems for House
          trouble. With VDE-tested appliances, the VDE Mark            and Commercial Use
          thus ensures that the product has been tested for all        Tel.: +49 69 83 06-5 34, Fax: -7 89
          potential hazards according to recognised standards          E-mail:
          and legal requirements. The most important thing is
          therefore to keep your eyes open when buying elec-           Installation Material, Electrical and
          trical products.                                             Electronic Components
                                  BERND FRANKE                         Tel.: +49 69 83 06-2 26, Fax: -4 93
                    Tel.: +49 69 8306 277, Fax: +49 69 8306 754        E-mail:

                                                                       Cables and Cords, Materials, EMC and Special Tests
                                                                       Tel.: +49 69 83 06-3 10, Fax: -7 84
          L I T E R AT U R E     R E S E A R C H                       E-mail:

          New service for VDE
          members                                                      I M P R I N T

                                                                       VDE infocus -
          Over 33,000 engineers, IT experts, companies and stu-        Newsletter of the VDE Testing and Certification Institute
          dents are members of VDE. They now have access to
                                                                       Published by:
          the info pool of FIZ-Technik – free of charge. The heart     VDE Testing and Certification Institute
          of this is the ZDEE database for electrical engineering      VDE Association for Electrical,
                                                                       Electronic & Information Technologies,
          and electronics. It documents essays from technical          Merianstrasse 28, 63069 Offenbach, Germany
          journals and conference reports. The database has an
          outstanding reputation, since renowned experts inspect       Editorial staff:
          the literature.                                              Bernd Franke, Josef Winzig
                                                                       Service telephone: +49 69 8306 600, Fax: +49 69 8306 754,
          The FIZ-Technik ZDEE database is part of the overall         E-mail:
          database “Technology and Management”, with a world-
          wide overview of the technical literature for electrical     Design:
                                                                       Publicis KommunikationsAgentur GmbH,
          engineering, electronics, information and communica-
                                                                       Implerstrasse 11, 81371 Munich, Germany
          tion technology in German and in English.
                                                                       ISSN 1612-2097
          For information on membership, please look up:               This publication is also available in German.

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