(Click here to view article in digital edition)Confusion in respect to UL508A and NFPA standards can be costly, as Tony Hague, Managing Director of PP Control & Automation explains. As an experienced manufacturer of electrical control systems and automation to OEMs, we still see so much confusion over what does and what does not constitute a UL certified product. We have had customers, past and present, who believed that by simply selecting components that are UL listed and integrating them into a control panel carrying a UL (NEMA) rating is the start and end of the exercise. In fact, a number of machinery manufacturers and drives and control specialists have adopted this approach and, depending on which US states they have been exporting to, may have managed to escape any serious issues – until of course they come across a more stringent inspection, whether state specific or just a more detailed and thorough individual. This is where the problems start.The costs can be huge in terms of re-working, consequential losses due to delays in machine installation and a worsening in customer relations to name just a few. All of this could have been easily avoided by taking a more proactive approach to the subject and working with companies that offer a bespoke UL solution for compliance, such as PP Control & Automation.So what is UL508A?UL508A certification is an industrial control panel standard, which is sought by electrical inspectors. The listing mark on the control panel provides evidence of third party certification to the municipal inspection authority and to the purchaser of the panel. In essence it shows compliance with an acceptable safety standard.Who does it apply to?Any company that is providing control panels or building automated machinery for export to the United States or North America.What’s involved?When designing a control panel to fully comply with UL508A, it is not simply about component selection. A number of other factors need to be taken into consideration that include, but are not limited to:• Defining the short circuit current rating (SCCR), voltage ratings and site electrical power network configuration• Wire bending spaces plus the consideration of US NFPA70 NEC and NFPA79 (US National Fire Prevention Association), such as cable “ampacities.”What if I ignore the standard?Do so at your peril. A number of machinery manufacturers have, at times, got away without full compliance – until they don’t! Then the implications can be massive. The authorities can “red tag” the machine and it will not be installed until the inspector is happy that all necessary changes are made. The result is a delayed installation, significant rework costs and potential consequential damages. Or in other words, a really unhappy customer.Is it worth taking the risk?No. By working with a company who has significant experience in this complex and ever-changing area, full compliance can be achieved without risk and the associated high costs. At PP Control & Automation we have an 18-year track record of doing just that. The cost of compliance is not significant to a machine builder – there is simply no reason for not doing the job properly.Find out more by visiting www.ppcanda.com, follow @ppcanda on twitter or ring 01922 419109.
Print this page | E-mail this page
CC-Link IE certification for cable solutions
Download a copy of our digital magazine