IEC Drawings


Thread Starter

Anthony Kerstens

I've been asked to quote a machine for Europe, and include "IEC drawings". I've seen drawings from several European machine vendors, and there are similarities and differences between them. However, the similarities could simply be a result of common convention. What does a drawing need to be "IEC compliant"??? Is it just symbols, or is there more to it? Anthony Kerstens P.Eng.
That sounds about as silly as: ISA drawings, ANSI drawings, NFPA drawings, IEEE drawings, etc. It sounds like the person asking doesn't know what they want. Paul Gruhn, P.E. Houston, TX
We had to go through this a couple years ago. The big differences are the symbols used for various devices. These are generally described in publication IEC-617 of which there are several volumes, thin but expensive. We also changed the layout of our pages so that the power source, say, a 120 VAC source, goes across the top of the page and power to devices flows down, with the common return across the bottom. This was just to make it look like the sample drawings in the book. As far as we could tell the actual layout is not specified anywhere in IEC. It is mostly a matter of the symbols. Lew Derr

Charlie Griswold

Anthony, Europe also has a opposite view system than in the states. The right hand view would be the left hand view in the states. The bottom view would be the top view. Then they have a different system of tolerencing (h7 H7,...G7 fits). Charlie

Francesco Riti

IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) is a worldwide well known organization of standardization. A great part of IEC publication is also adopted as European Normative (EN), in particular the normative about the electrotechnical drawings.. It is also compulsory for a customer in Europe to follow the EN indications. This is the reason why your customer is asking for IEC drawings. The normative is quite flexible so that the drawings could be similar, not identical. In any case the basic normative is the same. Customers can adopte the more "useful" and "clear" way to produce the drawings documentation. The electrical drawings are the same for your "toaster". There are a lot of IEC publications about the electrotechnical documentation. Therefore you can refer to the IEC web site ( to search for all the informations you need. Just few tips to start : IEC1082.1 Preparation of documents used in electrotechnology - Part 1: General requirements . IEC1175: rules for the composition of designations and names which identify signals and connections in electrotechnical and related fields. IEC 60204-1:Applies to the electrical and electronic equipment of industrial machines. Promotes the safety of persons who come into contact with industrial machines, not only from hazards associated with electricity (such as electrical shock and fire), but also resulting from the malfunction of the electrical equipment itself. Addresses hazards associated with the machine and its environment. Replaces the second edition of IEC 60204-1 as well as parts of IEC 60550 and ISO 4336. The IEC publication is adopted as European standard. The European Normative has an identification number similar to the IEC one. Just adding "EN 6" before IEC number. If the IEC enumeration already started with 6 do not add another 6 (e..g the IEC 60204 becomes EN 60204). National standars in Europe could have different numbers, but the EN enumeration is acceptable. I hope this could be usefull Best regards Francesco Riti Automation department Eurosicma spa 20060 Segrate (MI) Italy
As with any standard there has been a certain amount of 'interpretation' of the IEC standards as far as electrical drawings go. You don't say what drawings are required (control cabinet, power distribution, etc.).. There are several standards that are applicable covering symbols, device designation, drawing types etc. If you are quoting a machine then a good starting point is IEC 60204, which deals with the electrical equipment of machinery, one part of this standard used to specify device designations (I have a feeling that this part has been dropped but I may be wrong),. This standard doesn't have any explicit drawing standards but does detail a host of other standards that may be applicable. In any case compliance with this standard should help towards compliance with Europes Machinery Safety legislation (you need a CE mark). Details of specific drawing standards can befound at,, or, The following site contains some graphical symbols to IEC 417. Regards Mark
Paul, It does sound silly, but you are supposed to supply electrical drawings in IEC format for CE compliance. This is the preferred standard Europeans want to see. We typically make our drawings in the US to ISA standards and our electricians complain when they must use a drawing made using IEC standards. It is the same in Europe. The customer can ask for anything they want, But I'm sure this is for CE compliance. Dale

Bruce Durdle

Anthony, You will also find some symbols for things like switch contacts, logic elements... are different. To solve the issue, ask for a list of the specific standards they require you to use, - and then make sure you include the cost of these standards in your bill!. Bruce.

Bouchard, James [CPCCA]

But does anybody have the number of the IEC standard that says how to do the drawings? If you look at the ISA standards they cover instrument loop diagrams but not control schematics, power distribution, lighting and so on James Bouchard
Just a note re IEC standard identifications. A few years ago, IEC decided to change all their standard numbers - they all now start with 6. So the old IEC 417 is now IEC60417: IEC 1131-3 became IEC61131-3. I don't know if they hoped for additional revenue by having some sucker customers pay for the "new" standards! Bruce.
Worst than that; electrical interlock diagrams: Not only relay and contact symbols are totally different, but the way to draw a schematic is also an entirelly different animal. If you never saw the way they do it in Europe, most likely it will take some time for you to get used to grasp the basic rules to even understand those drawings, not to say, to produce them. Vitor Finkel [email protected] P.O. Box 16061 Tel (+55) 21 285-5641 22221.971 Rio de Janeiro Brazil Fax (+55) 21 205-3339