Graphical symbols for use on equipment
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Basic issues

see also SC3C/Work programme

The use of internationally standardised graphical symbols for use on equipment contribute to the effective, efficient and safe use of products, thus increasing the success of these products in both regional and global markets.

The Sub-Committee 3C of IEC TC3 develops new symbols for manufacturers producing equipment for the key consumer and professional areas, for example household domestic appliances, audio/video multimedia equipment, data processing equipment and medical equipment.


Main publications

Internationally standardised graphical symbols for use on equipment improve the usability and safety of the products, thus contributing to increased sales. IEC 60417 Graphical symbols for use on equipment, address specialists and general public as well.

To support the management of IEC 60417 it has 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 entry page.

While IEC 60417 primarily addresses the need of symbols for electrotechnical equipment ISO 7000 maintained by ISO TC145/SC3 addresses other areas. In order to make a complete set of symbols available to users IEC 60417 and ISO 7000 have therefore been combined in the same database.

The database contains presently approximately 900 symbols belonging to IEC 60417 and 2500 symbols belonging to ISO 7000.

As the number of people using electronic equipment increases, the importance of the work  increases correspondingly. In order to provide an improved basis for the quality and consistency of the work. International Standard 80416 Basic principles for graphical symbols for use on equipment developed jointly by IEC and ISO, has been revised in co-operation with ISO TC145. It contains the following parts: IEC 80416-1  Part 1: Creation of symbol originals, ISO 80416-2  Part 2: Form and use of arrows, IEC 80416-3 Part 3: Guidelines for the application of graphical symbols, and ISO 80416-4 Part 4: Guidelines for the adaptation of graphical symbols for use on screens and displays (icons)

The market for graphical symbols for equipment is quite different from that for graphical symbols for diagrams. The symbols for equipment are copied and put on equipment by manufacturers, and are not, so far, associated with any technical functionality when used. This, however, can change when they are used on screens, where a dynamic behaviour may be required.

Closely related topics: Graphical symbols for diagrams.


Maintenance work and new projects (2009-09)

The content of the IEC 60417 DB is mainained continuously, by the introduction, change or withdrawal of individual graphical symbols for use on equipment. The evaluation of changes to be made and the validation of the changes is carried out by Validation Team SC3/VT60417.

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


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