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Compliance & Precision News Round-Up - September11

This issue covers:

Unsafe mobile phone chargers

Birmingham City Council’s Trading Standards office has recovered a large supply of potentially dangerous mobile phone chargers from a local warehouse.

Thousands of devices were seized after the Council responded to shoppers’ complaints that the phone chargers exploded when they were plugged into electricity sockets.

The i phone chargers are believed to have been manufactured in China and had been made available on the eBay website.

Tests on the substandard and dangerous items revealed a range of problems from unsuitable electrical insulation and inadequately sized pins.

Electrical Product Safety Conference

The Electrical Safety Council’s (ESC) second Electrical Product Safety Conference will be held in London on 26th October.

The event will include a number of presentations and discussion on consumer product safety under the theme of ‘Market Surveillance – overcoming the cut-backs through a combined approach’.

The programme includes industry leaders and experts involved in all aspects of electrical product safety.

Further details at www.esc.org.uk

Low resistance standard proposed

A formal international Standard is proposed for the method of measurement and associated test conditions for low resistance values of less than 1 ohm.

Current sensing application using low resistance resistors is increasingly being used in the testing of all electric equipment. The presence of existing wiring resistance and thermal electromotive errors means that special techniques should be used for the measurement of low resistance.

The proposed standard recommends that the Kelvin (4 point) method ,using connection with separate pairs of current-carrying and voltage-sensing electrodes, should be used for such measurements.

Comments on the proposed standard are required by 7th November.

Further details at http://standardsproposals.bsigroup.com

Report on unsafe consumer products

The Commission of the European Union (EU) has released statistics on notices of unsafe consumer products that have been processed through the EU’s rapid information system (RAPEX) during July 2011. 

According to the report, 136 notifications of products posing a serious risk to health and safety were processed through the RAPEX system during the month. This compares with 145 notifications of unsafe products reported in July 2010, a 3% decrease year over year.

Of the notifications of products presenting a serious risk to consumers received during the month, 55 (40%) were related to clothing, textiles and fashion items, with an additional 25 (18%) related to toys and 12 (9%) related to electrical appliances.

More than half of all notifications (77, or 57%) were once again related to products originating from China, including Hong Kong. Another 19 notifications (14%) of unsafe products originated in EU Member States. Seven notifications (5%) failed to identify any country of origin.

Further details at www.ec.europa.eu

Manufacturing standards under scrutiny in India

India needs to develop better standards to push the domestic manufacturing of electronic products in line with international practices, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has warned.

The CII forecasts that the elimination of import duties on a range of items by the World Trade Organisation will increase opportunities for Indian manufacturers of IT equipment and electronic products. However it is also likely to mean they will also come under increased scrutiny for quality.

‘Already, the number of these regulations and standards has increased significantly in recent years, especially relating to consumer protection, national interest, quality, environment protection, and corporate social responsibility,’ the CII said.

The lobby urged the Indian government to revise regulations and ensure conformity of standards for developing the domestic ICT and electronics manufacturing sector.

In particular the CII highlighted the need to develop and mandate conformance standards for locally manufactured as well as imported ICTE products in harmony with international practices and benchmarks.

First UK national EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing

Following the announcement of £45m from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the creation of nine national Centres for innovative manufacturing, the first of these new initiatives has been officially launched at Cranfield University in the summer.

The new EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Through-life Engineering Services is run as a collaborative initiative between Cranfield and Durham Universities, supported by four core industry partners - BAE Systems, Bombardier, Rolls-Royce and the Ministry of Defence - and 13 additional industry partners.

The new centre will combine innovative technology and engineering knowledge, supported by the partner organisations, to tackle some of the major long-term research challenges in through-life engineering services.

More details at www.cranfield.ac.uk

Seaward Safetest shines at leading lighting manufacturer

One of the UK’s leading manufacturers of commercial lighting is now using the Clare Safetest Manufacturing electrical safety tester from Seaward to improve the testing of its luminaires during production at its Castle Donington factory.

Illuma manufactures advanced lighting products used to brighten the stores of major high street retailers such as Selfridges, Liberty’s and House of Fraser. All products are rigorously tested in accordance with annex Q of the Luminaire Standard (BS EN 60958) as part of the company’s quality assured five year guarantee.

Now, in a move to further secure product quality, performance and reliability, Illuma has installed the Safetest units on several of its manufacturing lines, which produce thousands of luminaires per week.

The Safetest performs 500V insulation tests using a DC test voltage which can be used instead of a flash test when required.

This is enabling Illuma to undertake fast and accurate DC testing to ensure its luminaires are safe to use after leaving the factory and avoid the risk of damaging delicate electronic circuitry in line with Illuma’s quality assured five year guarantee.

The Safetests, which are replacing older analogue equipment at Illuma, are fast and efficient automatic digital products which record test results and ensure accurate testing is carried out in line with relevant product Standards at all times.

Nick Turnbull-Ross, Illuma’s quality and technical manager, said: “Seaward is a market leader and its products are reliable and of a high quality.

“We needed a comprehensive and robust tester which was well supported. The Safetest offers all this and, despite it being early days, is already proving its worth on the production line.”

All Illuma’s test requirements can be pre-programmed into the easy-to-use Safetest using a QWERTY keypad and following the screen user instructions. All tests are individually user selectable and an internal memory has the capacity to store the results of 6,000 tests.

The instrument has been designed to meet the needs of manufacturers that require a range of safety tests to be carried out on a variety of electrical and electronic products. More at www.seaward.co.uk

Cropico microhmmeter digs deep at quarry electrical safety testing house

A high performance Cropico microhmmeter is being used by certification, testing and inspection house Bureau Veritas to test the safety of cables installed in quarries operated by contractors across Britain.

Bureau Veritas has extensive UK coverage, providing safety testing and risk assessment services for national and international manufacturing and industrial clients. The company has been used by organisations since 1828 to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and to manage risk factors on work sites.

Electrical circuits installed within quarries, must be tested in order to ensure no damage during installation and in service. A low resistance microhmmeter, with a 10A test current, is essential for testing such as this, due to the low resistance of the cables, which cannot be accurately tested using a regular ohmmeter.

Bureau Veritas has specified the DO7010 to inspect the safety of these circuits because if left unchecked, they can continue to function but offer a high risk of fire or electric shock - extremely dangerous to those working on site.

Mahendra Mistry, electrical engineering specialist at Bureau Veritas, said: “The accuracy of the DO7010 was a key factor in my decision to use it for testing the quarry installations.

It’s also an extremely reliable instrument while being portable and easy to use. It meets all of our requirements.”

The DO7010 has been developed for a wide range of electronic engineering, design and manufacturing applications requiring accurate low resistance measurement.

With a measuring range of 600µΩ to 60Ω with 0.1 and 10mΩ resolution respectively, the instrument can measure with switchable current levels of 1A or 10A on all except the highest range. Externally recharged NiMh battery packs can be replaced quickly via the front panel to ensure minimum downtime anywhere.

An LCD panel displays full information on measurement configuration and a single start button ensures ease of use while the ability to trigger measurements by lead contact to the test device provides fast single-person operation. A remote hand terminal is also available to fully control the tester at up to 15m distance.

Other features include a robust design, true 4-terminal measurement to eliminate lead resistance errors, auto average of forward/reverse measurement and sequence testing with memory for 1000 readings.

The instrument’s data logging function also permits downloading of test sequences from a spreadsheet and uploading of test results back to the data records. The DO7010 forms part of a comprehensive range of precision measurement instruments available from Cropico, part of the Seaward Group.

Seaward Cooks Up Safety Test Success At Leading Catering Manufacturer

The standard of electrical safety testing at one of the world’s leading producers of commercial catering equipment has been improved thanks to the advanced ClareHAL 104 from Seaward.

Lincat, which designs and produces equipment including ovens, grills and fryers, has introduced two HAL 104s on the production lines at its factory in Lincoln where the Silverlink 600 and Lynx 400 ranges of electric counter-top and free-standing catering units are manufactured.

Upwards of 200 of these units are produced and tested each week for supply to the professional catering sector in the UK and across the world.

The HAL 104s, which are designed for the fast and accurate electrical tests required by modern manufacturing environments, are undertaking pre-programmed single phase testing to ensure compliance with BS EN 60335 and guarantee product quality, performance and reliability.

The instruments have been introduced to provide more uniformed testing - every appliance is now tested for the same length of time and under identical conditions.

This ensures standardisation throughout the test life cycle and with bar-coding provided for improved traceability, any future quality issues can be quickly identified and rectified saving time and costs in the process.

Stephen Kendall, production engineer at Lincat, expects to introduce further HAL 104s in the near future for faster and more accurate safety testing across the entire production process.

He added: “The HAL 104 is an excellent instrument, which works very well providing fast, accurate and reliable testing.

“From a testing perspective, it offers peace-of-mind because it produces standard test results and traceability is an added benefit which contributes to improved after sales support and customer service.”

The HAL 104 combines the performance of a multi-function production line safety tester with load and power factor measurement for product energy consumption and ratings assessments.

The instrument meets the end of line electrical safety compliance tests required by the majority of national and international product safety standards.

As well as load and power functional tests, the new tester incorporates AC/DC Hipot (flash / dielectric strength), insulation, ground/earth bond testing to 40A, load switching to 26A with measurement to 20 milliamps and leakage to 100 microAmps.

The new tester has widespread applications in production situations where high resolution performance measurements are important and can be used as a manual stand alone tester with simple push button test activation.

Alternatively, it can be fully integrated into automated manufacturing systems with selectable sensors and enclosure interlocks, or by ultimate control using remote PCs and PLCs.

A large, clear full graphic display presents information either in a numerical or analogue format and a powerful internal memory allows the storage of up to 6,000 test results and up to 50 configurable test routines. The instrument can also be interfaced with a variety of accessories ranging from bar code scanners to pass/fail label printers.

The HAL 104 meets all of the requirements of the various British and European standards in relation to high voltage testing and incorporates fully isolated high voltage outputs to ensure the highest levels of operator safety.

Read more on the ClareHAL 104 Advanced Multi-function Safety Tester.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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