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Award-winning standardisation

We are immensely proud to share the news that R&D engineer Ketil Hornæs at EFD Induction Norway has been awarded the IEC 1906 Award for his work in IEC TC 27 Industrial Electroheating and Electromagnetic Processing.

SETTING STANDARDS: R&D engineer Ketil Hornæs is awarded for his efforts in ensuring electro-heating safety and efficiency.

"When I first got the message, I thought it was one of these e-mail scams", Ketil Hornæs laughs, admitting he had to check several times before believing that he was indeed this year’s winner of the prestigious IEC 1906 Award, joining a select group of only 16 Norwegian committee members who have been presented with the award. He now represents an elite band of experts who have provided important contributions within international electrotechnical standardization.


The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the international standards and conformity assessment body for all fields of electrotechnology. The 1906 Award was created in 2004 to commemorate the founding of the IEC in 1906.


Ketil Hornæs is awarded the 2017 prize "…for his outstanding contribution to global electrotechnical standardization, through his commitment at the international level to the development of standards ensuring electro-heating safety and efficiency. In particular, his involvement in developing IEC IS 62996 and IEC IS 62997 is greatly appreciated."


Needless to say, the EFD Induction management are both proud and pleased by the award.


"On behalf of everybody, I would like to extend our most heartfelt congratulations to Ketil", says CEO Bjørn Eldar Pedersen. "It is very important for EFD Induction to take the lead regarding standards for our special area of expertise. This gives us a number of advantages, like keeping ahead technologically according to standards that will come. It allows us to affect the standards in a way that makes it possible, both technically and cost-wise, to design our induction equipment correspondingly. And of course, we wish to show the world that EFD Induction has the best expertise in the field of induction."

Users feeling unsafe

A veteran at EFD Induction, Ketil started his career in the company already in 1982.


"In 1987, I joined the development department, with electromagnetic compatibility and health effects from exposure to magnetic fields as my special field", he says. "In the years that followed, I have received many questions from users of induction heating about the health effects of being exposed to alternating magnetic fields."


Until Ketil’s ground breaking effort on standardisation, there were no common international standards on this, only some local standards and a few international recommendations. Many users and suppliers of equipment that generate magnetic fields felt unsure about potential health hazards.


"Of course, media hyperbole citing terrifying reports from more or less serious research didn’t exactly help either" Ketil sighs. "This meant a lot of extra work for us, reassuring concerned customers that induction heat is in fact completely safe."

Knowledge and experience

In 2012, Kristian Berggren from EFD Induction Sweden was at a meeting on magnetic fields and health. He recommended Ketil Hornæs as an expert to the lecturer, Per Olov Risman who has been in the IEC since the 1970s and is the main architect of the IEC standard for microwave heating.


"We got in touch with each other and found that we had the same views on several matters. He was in the IEC TC27, which is the Technical Committee that maintains the standards for industrial heat processes, including induction heat, and he invited me to be an observer at the IEC meeting in Warsaw that same autumn", says Ketil. "It turned out that I had the knowledge and experience of induction heating that the committee needed, so I was invited to become a committee member."


A SMALL SELECTION: "This is just a few of the many test results we looked at, says Ketil Hornæs.

A practical approach

At an IEC meeting in Berlin in 2013, the subject of lacking standards for touching voltage-generating parts with frequencies above 300Hz and exposure to magnetic interference fields was broached. Since this was something the manufacturers of industrial heating processes did not have, it was decided to make two technical specifications concerning this. An ad-hoc group was created, where Ketil Hornæs and P.O. Risman became co-convenors.


The group addressed well-known medical phenomena in this area, using a physical approach to field / body connections, as well as touch and flow in the body and tissues. They researched literature, performed trials, and last but not least, used advanced computer simulation to look at the interaction between external influences and currents in the body.


Previous research in this area had mainly been of a medical nature with little or no interdisciplinary collaboration.


"In my opinion, there had been too much theorization and too little practice", says Ketil. "Our research showed that previously recommended limits were far more stringent than necessary."


Ketil thinks recommendations that are too strict are impractical and inefficient. "Basically, they become useless", he says.


During the work there were many exchanges of views with other committees. Finally, after four years, two specifications were voted on and accepted as international documents in IEC and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This means they get incorporated into EU legislation.


Now, the technical specifications can be used to assess health effects. Users can feel safe and manufacturers can more easily assess what measures must be undertaken to prevent any harmful effects.


"Our research has shown that working with and being exposed to magnetic fields is in fact quite safe if you follow the recommended standards", says Ketil Hornæs. "Actually, in most cases, it doesn’t become dangerous until it hurts."

HANDS-ON: Test of sensitivity for high frequency voltage.