Why Products For Global Markets Need To Meet Standards

- Advertisement -

Complying to standards calls for a structured approach. In every phase of the product development, impact of standard compliance has to be assessed and actions have to be taken. This is very important. If a list of the items to be checked is prepared, it will run into a book. Here is some guidance on the subject

When products are designed there are three aspects that are critical: The product’s usability, performance, and compliance to standards. All three aspects are focused on the users to ensure they get the best when they buy a product.

For example, let us say the product is a washing machine. The user interface of the product should be easy to use, intuitive, and consistent, so that no training is needed for operating it. Second aspect is performance, where the washing machine has to meet all the product specifications and claims made by the manufacturer. Third is the compliance to standards.

- Advertisement -

Standards are drafted to address three aspects:

  1. Safety of the user (both electrical and mechanical)
  2. Use of environmentally safe manufacturing processes
  3. Safe electrical emission and susceptibility

Complying to the standards is mandatory and exporting to different countries depends on the standards laid. Typically, standards are defined by international agencies like FDA, FAA, IEEE, IEC, etc. In India we have Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) (earlier was known as Indian Standards Institute) which has standards for products made and used in India. Almost all the countries have made compliance to standards mandatory.

For complex products like aircrafts and military systems, most countries tend to follow FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) standards. Similarly, standards like Electrical Radiation Emission and Susceptibility, FCC (Federal Communication Commission) of the USA, or CE (Conformité Européenne) for European Union are used across countries as these standards have been well drafted and have stood the test of time. With the increased integration into global economy, India is also now mandating standards for use in India.

Most designers tend to assume that compliance to standards is a separate step and can be done once the design is complete. However, compliance to standards needs attention from the design phase. In fact, one of the design parameters should be the standards to which the product has to comply. For example, if the product has to meet FCC Class B emission level, it is better to have metallic enclosure rather than a plastic enclosure—if the design allows. So, designers need to understand the standards to which the product should comply and ensure the design goals meet that.

Why this is critical

First and foremost reason for compliance is the impact on business. Products that do not meet the standards cannot be sold in the market. Second, assuming there are markets where the standards compliance is lax and the products can be sold, risk of safety issues and the litigation due to that can far outweigh the compliance to standards. Complying to standards must start from design stage and not after the design is complete. Let us see which activities get impacted due to standards’ non-compliance in the Table.

Some examples

Just to show the importance, two instances of compliance to standards not being met are briefly described below along with the mess they created.

First, we were designing an advanced antenna that could adjust its lobe width by operating a motor mechanism. We completed the testing and certification. However, when this antenna was installed in a European nation known for low temperature, we noticed two things. One, the motor froze, and second, the processor failed to start. In both cases what we found later was that the components we had used for testing and those used for manufacturing (even though the datasheet said they were equivalent) were different, leading to the failure. While we could sort the motor issue, we found that most crystals don’t start at -15°C, so we ended up preheating the component used in the design to ensure there were no issues.

Second was a networking product, which was packed in small wooden crates to be shipped to Europe. When the contents landed in European airport the authorities sent the material back due to pests and decay in the wood used. We had to import the crating wood for packaging! This taught us a lesson that even a small miss can cost lots of money and time.

What need to be factored

There are three critical things that need to be factored in when designing products for compliance to standards:

  1. Know the country the product is supposed to be sold in and get to know the compliance laws and standards well. If the product is being designed in one country and exported to another, the best way to manage is to use global certification agencies like TUV to get the certification as they have the experience and knowledge to address global standards.
  2. Spend time in selecting components and their equivalents. Above all, even if the product has custom parts made by suppliers, the responsibility of those parts meeting the standards is always yours. Never leave it to the suppliers as they invariably don’t appreciate the need for complying to standards. (An entire lot of advanced remote access server we shipped to the US was sent back as the welded portions rusted while they were in US airport for a week.)
  3. It is advisable to have a full-time engineer to address the issues if the products are being targeted for global markets. This helps in keeping the compliances issues to the minimum.

Points to keep in mind

Complying to standards calls for a structured approach. In every phase of the product development, impact of standard compliance has to be assessed and actions have to be taken. This is very important. If a list of the items to be checked is prepared, it will run into a book. For a reliable and very useful book on the subject, check https://emcfastpass.com/cert-ebook. It is a good book for MSMEs and startups to understand global standard compliance and how to deal with it. But remember, it addresses all the electrical standards. Designers have to understand the standards for other certifications as well, especially the environmental ones.

S.A. Srinivasa Moorthy is Director Engineering Design, D4X Technologies Pvt Ltd

- Advertisement -

Related Artcles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Centre Approves $11B Revival Package For BSNL

This is the third revival package for BSNL after the first one was issued in 2019 and another one in 2022. BSNL’s losses...

Quantic Electronics Welcomes New VP and GM of Quantic X-Microwave

Daniel will help to drive the next phase of Quantic's growth in providing modular RF and microwave building blocks Quantic Electronics recently announced the appointment...

IIT-Madras Introduces New Course in Electronics Systems

The date of application for this online course is 25 June In a recent update, IIT Madras is inviting applications for its recently launched bachelor's...


1Q23: Indian PC Shipments Fall 35% YoY, Still Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Tablet shipments in India fell below the million-unit mark for the first time in two years As per the latest report from Canalys for Q1...

US PC Shipments Hit; Declined 28% Y-o-Y in 1Q23

Strong iPad performance led tablets shipments to perform relatively better Canalys forecasts the US PC shipments in 2024 to be 13% higher than...

IoT Analytics Lowers Five-Year IoT Market Outlook

The amount of money invested in global IoT start-ups decreased significantly in the last 12 months. Several major companies that were selling IoT...

Important Sectors

Centre Approves $11B Revival Package For BSNL

This is the third revival package for BSNL after the first one was issued in 2019 and another one in 2022. BSNL’s losses...

Indian EV Startup River Secures $15 Mn Fund

Led by Dubai’s Al Futtaim Group, the all-equity funding round also saw participation from River’s existing investors The EV startup plans to set...

Ørsted Joins Hands With SOLARCYCLE to Recycle Solar Modules

The current deal provides Ørsted with a portfolio-wide recycling solution for crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar modules A leading clean energy company, Ørsted recently announced a...

BattRE Electric Mobility Wecomes New COO

Kumar Abhishek has over two decades of experience in strategic sourcing and supply chain management at firms like Maruti Suzuki and Hero Motocorp Leading Indian...

Tata Power Renewable Energy Sets Up Solar Project in Rajasthan

This 110 MW solar power project will help meet the green energy requirements of the state of Kerala A subsidiary of Tata Power, Tata Power...


Tata Group Subsidiary To Set Up EV Battery Plant in Gujarat

Sources said that the decision to set up the EV battery plant at Sanand was taken around a week ago at a Tata...

Centre Considers Cutting Import Duty On Solar Panels

The renewable energy ministry held talks with the finance ministry to reduce import duty on solar panels by half As per the latest report from...

Modified Semicon India: Govt Invites Applications For Setting Up Semicon & Display Fabs

Under the Modified Programme, a financial incentive of 50% of the project cost will be provided for setting up of semiconductor/ display fabs in...

British Gas Unveils The New Hive EV Charger

British Gas only provides £100 in credit to Hive customers who move to the EV rate and £50 in Hive vouchers with every order...

MeitY Invites Applications For Incentives Under PLI 2.0 For IT Hardware

The ministry notified the scheme on May 29 and plans to open the window of applications from June 01, 2023 With the aim to push...