Electrical panel certifications: between degrees of protection, marks and technical regulations, it is not always easy to find your way around. Here is what to consider when choosing a product.
When choosing a switchboard, certifications are a factor that should not be overlooked because the quality of the product can only be guaranteed by an independent body that can attest to its reliability and production according to defined standards.
This month in our blog we discuss precisely the most important certifications for electrical panels, trying to make a summary of the many concepts that are not always easy to understand.
The IP degree of protection
This is the certification that the electrical panel is protected against the penetration of solid bodies, dust and powerful water jets. It is based on the EN 60529 standard and consists of two characteristic digits that uniquely identify the level of protection:
- The first figure starts from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 6 with an increasing degree of protection and covers the protection of the electrical panel from solid objects, dust and people against contact with hazardous parts.
- The second figure, on the other hand, concerns liquid protection and includes a range from 0 to 9k, again in ascending order.
The degree of protection IK
In this case, we refer to the mechanical resistance of the switchboard against impact, which is determined by the energy of an external mechanical impact on all sides. Here, too, there is an identifying figure starting from a minimum of 0 to a maximum of 10 with progressively increasing strength.
For international markets, this certification is critical. 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.
To obtain this certification, switchboards, following certain tests, must be found to be suitable based on specific technical safety requirements established by these bodies.
In the United States of America, the level of protection is defined through the “Type” (type of enclosure) according to the NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) rating: it provides nine types of ratings with the definition of the environments in which the switchboard must be suitable for use.
It stands for “ATmosphère EXplosible” and indicates that the products meet the basic health and safety standards in Europe that regulate all types of equipment, protective systems and components intended for use in hazardous environments. Depending on the risk area in which the product is to be used, the requirements and procedures for conformity testing (conformity assessment procedure) have different validity. This is why groups, categories and zones are defined.
The CE mark
It is perhaps the best known, as it affects not only switchboards but a plethora of products circulating in the European Union.
This mark certifies that the switchboard complies with the essential safety requirements of the applicable EU directives and consequently that the item can be marketed in Europe. The company that makes an electrical panelboard with this mark must also prepare a declaration of conformity, indicating the directive applied and the technical standards used.
If you would like to find out more about EiQ Industrial’s certifications, click here.