Hardware and software safety testing to IEC 60730

IEC 60730 – the international standard for automatic electrical controls for household and similar use – was updated in 2010. The scope of the standard covers stand-alone controls such as room thermostats as well as controls incorporated in electrical household applications, including HVAC appliances and, for example, power tools.

Traditionally, equipment has been protected against faults and hazardous conditions by simple and proven electromechanical devices whose safe operation and reliability could easily be verified. However, modern equipment increasingly depends on complex electronics, which contain embedded software for both operational effectiveness and safety.  

IEC 60730 therefore requires manufacturers to design and produce automatic electronic controls which ensure the safe and reliable operation of their products. These controls are also increasingly fulfilling safety functions in power tools, luminaires and other products. Such controls may take the form of electronic motor protection, electronic thermal cut-outs, process controls, electronic door locks and electronic motor speed protection.

Previously, it was relatively straightforward to assess protective devices. However, the complexity of modern electronics and software means that errors in protective systems are less obvious and may only occur in the event of a particular combination of circumstances. Consequently, if only the product incorporating the software is tested it is quite possible that potential failures of the safety functions will be overlooked. Hence, the development process used when writing the software and its underlying hardware design also need to be assessed.

Key classifications
Annex H of the standard, which describes the requirements for software, defines three classifications for electronic controls:

  • Class A: control functions that are not critical to the safety of the appliance (e.g. room thermostats, timers and lighting controls)
  • Class B: control functions designed to protect against unsafe operation (e.g. thermal cut-outs)
  • Class C: control functions designed to protect against special hazards such as explosions (e.g. burner controls)

The standard also defines 15 specific criteria for control hardware and software.

Some requirements of IEC 60730, such as those for software, have been included in IEC 60335. In addition, IEC 60730 applies to controls within the scope of ISO 16484-2 (Building automation and control systems).

We have invested a great deal of time and energy in training our personnel to equip them with the skills needed to assess safety-critical electronics and embedded software. This means that we are now able to offer you a full range of safety testing services, covering both conventional and software safety. Our services can help you gain the certifications you need to serve international markets, optimise your product quality and safety, and minimise your exposure to product liability claims.

For more information about testing to IEC 60730 please contact us at products.global@dekra.com or give us a call on +31 26 356 35 60.

 

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