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EN62368-1 safety standard – what engineers need to know

EN62368-1 safety standard – what engineers need to know

All electronic equipment put on to the open market needs to be approved to a relevant safety standard. Over the past few decades there have been three standards which are relevant to all electronic products: EN60950-1 deals with the safety of IT and communications equipment; EN60065 covers the safety of audio, video and similar electronic apparatus; and EN60601 covers the safety of medical equipment.

The technology within IT, communications and audio/video equipment has over time started to overlap, so a new standard EN62368-1 is in the process of being introduced. EN62368 (first edition) was originally introduced in 2012 and quickly replaced by EN62368-1 (second edition) in 2014 with a third edition published earlier this month. This will supersede the EN 60950-1 and the EN 60065 standards by June 2019. However, the formal date for withdrawal of EN60950 and EN60065 is not until December 2020.

Components and sub-assemblies that comply with EN60950 or EN60065 are acceptable and can be used as part of equipment covered by EN62368. No further evaluation is necessary other than to consider the appropriate use of the component or sub assembly in the end-product. Be aware however that in the EU after December 2020 EN60065 and EN60950 certified components will no longer be permitted in equipment investigated to EN62368 without further investigation.

EN62368-1 third edition contains a refinement of the requirements for creepage and clearance including a new prescriptive option (Annex X which is based on EN60950 tables).

Hazard-based safety

EN62368 differs from EN60950 and EN60065 in the key element to compliance in identifying hazards that exist within equipment and how the risks associated with these are mitigated in the final equipment. This in fact gives designers more flexibility in bringing their products to market. 

A hazard is defined as an energy source that exceeds the body’s susceptibility limits, and safety is defined as a situation where at least one safeguard is interposed between the body and the hazardous energy source. These sources can come from several areas, including electrical shock energy, electrically caused fire, mechanical energy, thermal energy and radiation energy.

So, what are the practical issues associated with transitioning components certified to EN60065 or EN60950 into products investigated to EN62368-1?  Generally speaking, power supplies certified to EN60950 have outputs which are specified as SELV (Safe extra low voltage). In EN62368-1 this has been replaced with the ES1 energy source classification.  Whilst the two standards do differ in the way they treat energy sources and hazards, an SELV circuit is safe to touch, just as an ES1 source is, by definition, in EN62368-1. Indeed, EN62368-1 does clearly set out in its scope that the legacy component provision should “provide a smooth transition from the latest editions IEC 60950-1 and IEC60065 to this standard.”

One other issue which does need to be addressed is backward compatibility between EN62368-1 and EN60950/EN60065. There are manufacturers that are continuing to certify their products to EN60950/EN60065 (they have not been withdrawn yet) and may have to use components which are now certified to EN62368-1. It is understood that provision will be made with the legacy standards to allow incorporation of components designed, investigated and certified to EN62368-1.

Relec Electronics is working closely with all its suppliers of power supplies to ensure that we are fully aware of what transitions are being made from legacy standards to EN62368-1. Our technical staff are all informed of the issues involved, both with regards new product designs and transitions of older equipment to the new standard. If you require any further assistance our technical team will be more than happy to help. The Excelsys CoolX 600 series is a fanless modular power supply that also has the added benefit of all ready carrying certification to all of the relevant standards:

  • EN60950 2nd edition
  • IEC60601-1 3rd edition
  • IEC60601-1-2 4th edition
  • EN62368-1 2nd edtion

The silent CoolX600 generates no acoustic noise and offers system designers best in class performance in efficiency (>93%) and unrivalled reliability in addition to the most comprehensive feature set and specifications. The series com-prises two base models. The CX06S is certified to IEC60950 2nd edition for indus-trial applic-ations as well as the new IEC62368-1 stan-dard. The CX06M carries IEC60601-1 3rd edition and IEC60601-1-2 4th edition (EMC) for medical applications The CoolX600 can be populated with up to 4 CoolMods, providing up to 4 isolated DC outputs ranging from 2.5V to 58.0V. Outputs can be adjusted to the required set point voltages and can be configured in parallel or series for higher current and/or higher voltages. CoolPacs can be paralleled for higher power and N+1 redundancy applications.

Stand-out features for medical applications include suitability for type BF rated (Body Floating) applications, input dual fusing, 2 x MOPP isolation and <300uA leakage current. The CoolX brings user flexibility to a completely new level allowing system designers to monitor and power supply performance power supply performance using either analogue and digital communications (PMBus). Relec Electronics is pleased to be able to offer sample quantities of the CoolX600 from stock.

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