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TC 56



Basic issues

Business environment

External environment

The world market place is changing dramatically and rapidly, and dependability objectives have become more generally understood and now more important for successful cooperation between organizations.

End-user demand for dependability and quality of service has been, and is still, increasing because customers have higher expectations concerning the dependability of products and they now include dependability criteria in the choice of a service or product.

  • TC 56 uses the best practice developed in different industries as a major input to achieve standards that are generic and not market specific.
  • TC 56 standards and their concepts may also be applicable to non-industrial areas.
  • TC 56 standards are influenced by the emerging environmental standards and legislation, ensuring that dependability does not contravene the requirements.

There are difficulties in obtaining a sufficient number of active experts for some of the project teams due to the worldwide economic climate. Increased support for the project teams that have limited life, i.e. the production of one standard only, would be welcomed.

Internal environment

A major key to the achievement of dependability is the need to ensure that all concerned in the design, development and use of products and services have a common understanding of the terms and definitions of dependability. This is increasingly important as businesses are increasingly using more subcontractors to produce items within a system. Similarly the methodology for achieving dependable products and services needs to be consistent across industry and industries hence

TC 56 produces:

  • Generic dependability standards developed for ease of integration into one overall management system
  • A limited but crucial set of business oriented dependability standards to help emerging business/industry sectors establish a common dependability culture
  • Non-prescriptive guidelines, Technical Reports, Technical Specifications and Publicly Available Specifications to support dependability programmes
  • A fundamental set of dependability principles, terms and definitions that can be easily understood and adapted for industry specific applications

These publications encourage the use of a common dependability terminology through IEC 60050-192.

Market demand

Customers of published and future standards

Customers are those involved directly or indirectly in industry sectors, such as electronics, telecommunications, energy and electrical utilities, transportation, automotive, aerospace, chemical, medical devices, government agencies, educational institutions, customer support, which are concerned with dependability performance in their respective objectives, products and services.

The standards produced by TC 56 are applicable across both large and small companies, which deal with items ranging from components to systems. All future standards will take into account legal, environmental and safety requirements although TC 56 standards do not directly cover these aspects. (Where applicable, TC 56 standards refer to appropriate environmental and safety standards produced by other IEC/ISO committees.)

TC 56 standards should be referenced by both ISO and IEC technical committees, where appropriate. The committee, therefore, recognizes other ISO and IEC TCs as its customers and it is continually looking for more effective ways of making other committees aware of its publications.

Active representation

All of the business areas listed above are actively represented on TC 56. Further representation from other business sectors and from small and medium enterprises is encouraged. There have been difficulties in obtaining sufficient active experts for some of the project teams. Financial support would foster increased participation by experts.

The work load of TC 56 is being carried out effectively, but additional representation from existing P and O members would be welcomed as would membership of TC 56 by other IEC technical committee members, particularly those with whom TC 56 has liaison. New and emerging technology-based organizations are also needed.

Use of TC 56 standards at regional/national level

TC 56 projects are parallel voted in Europe, unless CENELEC/SR 56 makes a recommendation to the contrary. TC 56 standards are generally recognized throughout the world by industries and the dependability community and have been implemented as national standards in many countries. Some standards that are specific to a narrow spectrum may not be so widely applied and TC 56 is continually reassessing its work programme to ensure that it meets the changing needs of industry.

Competing standards

There is no competing set of dependability standards but there are organizations, such as IEEE, developing similar dependability standards for specific industry applications. TC 56 is aiming to minimize the proliferation of standards and duplication of effort through activities, such as collaboration with IEC TC 107 and cross-committee membership with organizations such as IEEE and ASQ. TC 56 also tries to work closely with CEN/TC 319, Maintenance, with the same purpose.

Product committees are responsible for establishing and maintaining the closest possible links with relevant TCs performing a horizontal function, such as TC 56, when preparing or revising their own product publications and when such TCs are preparing or revising relevant basic publications.

Maintenance and development of standards

The committee’s maintenance programme takes into account the anticipated future needs of industry to ensure that TC 56 standards meet these needs. The Maintenance Teams are encouraged to make use of the confirmation and withdrawal options in the current MCR form to save capacity for essential work.

The committee has been reassessing its document structure in order to facilitate use and to cover current and future market needs. As a result, TC 56 standards have been divided into three categories:

  • Core standard
    Standard providing overview on dependability fundamentals, objectives or management
  • Process standard
    Standard giving guidance on a particular dependability issue related to an aspect of management or to a life cycle phase
  • Support standard
    Standard giving technical information of general relevance in various dependability issues

Within these categories, the standards are further grouped according to their content. In addition,
information is given on the phase or phases of the life cycle during which the standard can be

Trends in technology and trade

There is increased demand for dependable, safe and environmentally friendly products and services.

Time to market is critical and so there is extensive use and adaptation of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products to enable rapid design and system integration. Both these requirements are impacting upon TC 56 standards.

TC 56 is monitoring and reacting to the rapid technology evolution and innovation by developing broader-based process-orientated standards, in addition to tool standards.

Business is recognizing the benefit of the integration of dependability into the overall management system.

TC 56 has established guidelines for dependability management including aspects of risk management.

Ecological environment

Dependable products contribute significantly towards protecting the environment.

TC 56 standards address environmental issues where applicable, and TC 56 monitors projects in order to include ways in which they can contribute positively to the environment.