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  5. Benefits of Using IEC 60320 Components

Benefits of Using IEC 60320 Components

Using IEC 60320 components in electrical product designs can be beneficial when exporting to global markets.

“The IEC stands for the International Electrotechnical Commission. It is responsible for writing and distributing standards created through a network of worldwide committees made up of experts from a variety of expertise. In effect, an IEC standard is a treaty signed by many nations to foster international standardization. These standards on electrical products and components include references to safety and performance,” explained Bob Wersen, President of the Interpower Group of Companies.

The IEC 60320 standards are a series of international standards specific to connectors, inlets, plug connectors, and outlets.


There are a number of benefits that may be gained for an equipment designer when following IEC 60320 standards.

“The IEC 60320 is the common connector interface throughout the industrialized world. It simplifies the task of specifying a connector to use on a cord set along with a country-specific plug,” Bob said.

“The IEC 60320 also provides a standard framework to work from for product design and testing. These connectors help prevent improper connections by the design configurations themselves. They provide a uniform connector for similar voltages, thus ensuring a safe connection,” he added.

Another benefit is that the IEC 60320 standards are accepted globally. Some countries may add specific deviations per their national requirements, but the basis of them are from the IEC standards.

Product Design for Global Markets

An IEC 60320 connector and inlet, also known as an appliance coupler, allows manufacturers to make one product that can be used in many different markets, by only having to change the cord set. Appliance couplers are primarily used for incoming power to a system.

One of the most common methods of connecting a detachable cord set to an electrical or electronic piece of equipment is by incorporating a power inlet into the product design. By designing with an inlet, the manufacturer can attach a country-specific cord set (a country-specific plug on one end with an IEC 60320 connector on the other end) just prior to shipment. This allows the equipment manufacturer to create one product for sale worldwide.

If accessory power needs to be supplied from one piece of equipment or appliance to another, then an interconnection appliance coupler, which is a plug connector and an outlet, may be used. These couplers are primarily used for outgoing power from a system.

IEC 60320 Standards

For further information, here is a list of the IEC 60320 standards.

IEC 60320-1
Appliance Couplers for Household and Similar General Purposes – Part 1: General Requirements

IEC 60320-3
Appliance Couplers for Household and Similar General Purposes – Part 3: Standard Sheets and Gauges

Additional Resources

IEC 60320 components are found in various Interpower product lines including accessory power, power cords and cord sets, jumper cords and cord sets, modules, and Accessory Power Strips.

See the complete line of IEC 60320 products available at Interpower, along with a complete list of IEC 60320 connectors, inlets, plug connectors, and outlets found on the IEC 60320 Appliance and Interconnection Couplers chart. View a webcast on the “Overview of the IEC 60320” found on the Interpower website.

Interpower offers free technical support. For further assistance, please see Interpower’s contact information below.

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