European standards were developed to ensure good design and engineering practices throughout the European Union, but they often seem to be just extra work. One of the main difficulties is finding out how to conform, and how conformance relates to other safety standards. On 1 January 1997, the Low Voltage Directive became mandatory and requires that electrical equipment manufactured for domestic, professional and industrial products meets a number of designated safety standards.
Seaward Electronic has developed a software knowledge base for the Directive aimed at electrical and electronic designers and manufacturers. The Windows-based package includes details of all the relevant test standards which relate to the Low Voltage Directive. Users are able to access specific standards relevant to their products and confirm whether an item of equipment falls within the scope of LVD or has links with any other European Directives.
The Expert programme also lists standards from the USA, Japan and Australia. The use of paraphrasing, hyper-text (linking to other relevant words) and diagnostic routines, helps the engineer to find the best route to compliance.
Check lists and pro-forma documents can be used for the production of manufacturers’ Technical Files which are used in declarations of conformity for CE marking. This software is also able to produce IEC or European warning signs and has a database covering all constructional issues. LVD Expert runs on any IBM-compatible PC, with a 800 x 600 pixel graphics card and a hard disk drive with a least 10Mbyte to spare.