Graphical symbols for diagrams
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Basic issues

see also TC3/Work programme

The use of internationally standardised graphical symbols contribute to the effective and  efficient preparation of documentation for products and installations, as well as to the enhanced understanding of the documents, thus increasing the success of these products in both regional and global markets.


Main publications

IEC 60617 Graphical symbols for diagrams is since long well established, and implemented in most countries and regions in the world.

To support the management of IEC 60617 it has, as the first IEC standard, been converted into database form, accessible over the Internet. The content of the database is the standard. This allows not only better access, but also improved - quicker - maintenance. See the present entry page. The database requires subscription for access.

The database contains presently approximately 1835 symbols corresponding to the content of the former 13 parts of the printed standard, plus some extensions.

The market for the standards in this area has traditionally been design and engineering companies for electrotechnical equipment, systems and installations. With the use of CAD systems today a new market is possible to explore, and that is the CAD system suppliers. This, however, will require that the symbols are delivered electronically as symbol libraries, with associated functionality, easily adaptable to and processible in different design and engineering systems. Basic rules for the design of graphical symbols for in this context are provided in IEC/ISO 81714 Design of graphical symbols for use in the technical documentation of products: ISO 81714-1 Part 1: Basic rules, IEC 81714-2 Part 2: Specification for graphical symbols in a computer sensible form, including graphical symbols for a reference library, and requirements for their interchange and IEC 81714-3  Part 3: Classification of connect nodes, networks and their encoding.

IEC 61286 Information technology - Coded graphic character set for use in the preparation of documents used in electrotechnology and for information interchange, specifies a character set for use in electrotechnical diagrams. The character set contains qualifying symbols to graphical symbols.

IEC/TR 61352 Mnemonics and symbols for integrated circuits, and IEC/TR 61734 Application of symbols for binary logic and analogue elements, are technical reports that support the use of IEC 60617.

Closely related topics: Preparation of current document kinds, Graphical symbols for use on equipment.


Maintenance work and new projects (2010-01)

The content of the IEC 60617 DB is mainained continuously, by the introduction, change or withdrawal of individual graphical symbols. The evaluation of changes to be made and the validation of the changes is varried out by Validation Team TC3/VT60617.

See report on recently processed change requests and symbols (subscription is required for access).

A project for the introduction of a set of symbols for alarm and signalling systems is carried out by Project Team TC3/PT30.

A new Project Team TC3/PT38 has been set up with the task to prepare clearer rules for the construction of symbols, especially the combination of different elements into one symbol. The team will also look into the critera for the introduction of symbols into the database.

After review by the maintenance team TC3/MT the documents 3/968/MCR and 3/969/MCR have been circulated suggesting reconfirmation of IEC 81714-2 and IEC 81714-3 for review 2014 with a maintenance result date 2016 and 2015 resp.

Document 3/966/MCR has been circulated suggesting withdrawal of IEC 61286, since the specified chaaracter set is now in its entirety contained in ISO/IEC 10646.

At the plenay meeting in Tel Aviv 2009 it was decided to set up a Task Force to study the needs and possibilitis to standardize dynamic symbols, i.e symbols mainly to be used on displays and which can change colour, form, etc dependant on the status of the symbolized object. The Task Force shall report to the plenary meeting of TC3 2010.

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