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Guide to electrical panel regulations

Electrical switchboard standards: the IEC EN 61439 standard, IEC EN 62208, certifications and degrees of protection: we shed light on a key issue when purchasing an electrical switchboard

When purchasing a switchboard, it is important to make sure that the product meets industry regulations to be certain about safety and compliance. So let’s shed some light on the relevant regulations by delving into what certifications to consider.

CEI EN 6149

CEI EN 61439, which replaced the old CEI EN 60439 standard a few years ago, is the main regulation that establishes how a finished switchboard should be constructed. This legislation updated several measures related to low-voltage switchgear. According to this adjustment, the distinction of switchboards based on full or partial compliance with laboratory tests has been abolished, and instead, it has been established that the product is in compliance if it meets the design checks established in the regulations.

Specifically, an electrical panel complies with this standard if it meets at least one of these procedures:

  • verifications with laboratory tests carried out on prototypes or on parts and components of the framework, which must lead to the results prescribed by the standard;
  • verifications with calculations and processing according to algorithms provided by the standard itself applied to a prototype framework or on parts and components;
  • checks with design rules, using analyses with design data independent of tests and dependent on mathematical computations.

The standard also provides some classifications of switchboards by establishing categories according to several factors: type of construction, type of enclosure, type of installation, intended use.

The IEC EN 62208 standard

Since electrical panels require periodic maintenance work carried out by specialists, additional regulations establish the requirements that the carpentry of such products must have in order for technical operations to be carried out safely and to avoid the entry of foreign elements and liquids.

The reference standard for hollow enclosures for low-voltage switchgear and protection assemblies is IEC EN 62208, which EiQ Industrial’s products also refer to. Applies to empty enclosures, as supplied by the manufacturer, before protective and switchgear is inserted into them. The standard defines terms, classifications, properties and test requirements of enclosures intended for use as parts of electrical panels, in accordance with EN 60439 series standards suitable for general use for both indoor and outdoor applications.

IP degrees of protection, the IK index and the C-UL-US Listing mark.

From IEC EN 62208 derive the IP degrees of protection, IK index and C-UL-US Listing mark that establish the protection, resistance and suitability of electrical panels with respect to certain safety requirements. The IP degree of protection, first of all, determines precisely the protection of the electrical panel from the penetration of solid bodies, dust, casual contact and powerful water jets of the magnitude of sea waves into the electrical and mechanical parts. If the first digit defines protection from solids, the second digit defines protection from liquids.

It should be considered that investing on a higher degree of protection is a guarantee that the mechanical and electronic equipment installed inside the switchboards will be preserved over time.

The IK index of mechanical resistance to impact, on the other hand, is another evaluation index for an electrical panelboard and allows its robustness to be established, considering the risks to which the equipment it contains could be exposed. This mechanical strength is established based on the energy of an external mechanical impact on all sides according to a specific scale.

Finally, the C-UL-US Listing mark indicates that the products meet UL(Underwriters Laboratories) standards for the US and CSA (Canadian Standard Association) standards for the Canadian market.

The switchboards produced by EiQ Industrial, following some tests, were found to be suitable based on specific technical safety requirements set by these bodies. For full details on degrees of protection and certifications regarding our switchboards, see the dedicated page
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